3 Ways to Plan for a Successful 2017

It’s here! It’s here! Turning the page on a new year is one of my most favorite times. No matter what type of year you had in 2016, I hope you are entering the new year with optimism and good intentions. If you had a great 2016, you should be motivated and carry the momentum that you are riding through an even better 2017. If 2016 wasn’t the best year for you, I hope you are looking at the new year as an opportunity to close the door on the past and open the door to new opportunities and happiness.

Great years don’t happen accidentally, though — it needs to be created through intention. Here are a few tips to get you there:

1. Be thankful

pet photos nicole begley (1)I know some years are hard. Bad things happen to good people. There may be health issues or financial struggles for yourself or someone in your family. Is it possible that there are people in your life that enjoy pulling people down into the pits of unhappiness with them? Even in the most dire situations there is always something to be thankful for.

That is the key to happiness, in my opinion, to focus on gratitude.

The first step in achieving your goals and bringing more abundance into your life is to be thankful for what you already have. This must be your default mindset throughout your day-to-day. One way to help train your mind to rest in a more positive place is to keep a gratitude journal. Every night before bed list 3-5 things positive things that you are thankful for from the day.

You can list big things such as ‘my family is healthy’, ‘I have a warm home with running water and food in my fridge’, ‘my relationship with my spouse is stronger than ever’, down to the little things like, ‘I had a Starbuck’s hot chocolate with cinnamon dolce syrup on a cold winter morning’, ‘I took an extra long shower today’, or ‘I cleaned off my desk’.

The key is to train your mind to recognize these little (and big!) victories so you immediately smile, reflect, and feel thankful.

2. Plan for the long-term

dog photography nicole begley (1)For those of us devoting our time and craft to the animal welfare cause, life and business become one — there is very little separation — making it even more important to plan! We want out work to provide for our life, not to live to provide for our work.

Take the opportunity to dream your best possible life, every piece of it. What does your business look like? What does your home look like? Do you have a vacation home? What do you do on the weekends? Are you eating well? Are you fit and in shape? What does your typical day look like? How much money are you earning? Don’t forget gross and net revenue are important to project and plan for! Is your retirement well funded? Where do you want to travel to? What do you want to accomplish in your life?

Write it down! No detail is too small. This should be a master life list, and it should be fun! Don’t let any part of your brain shut down a desire with a negative thought. No goal is out of reach here. This list can be edited and reworked every year or so, and I think that you will be amazed at how many things eventually come true if you keep your head in a positive place!

3. Plan for the short-term

Let’s get to work, shall we? What are your goals for 2017? They need to be specific. Instead of, ‘pay myself a salary in 2017’, how about, ‘pay myself a pre-tax salary of $3,500 a month’. How many sessions do you want to shoot this year? At what average? What are the different revenue streams in your business? What can you do to grow them? What do you hate that is sucking your motivation and attention? Can you cut it out or outsource it?

Do not wait for the right time. Do not wait to have the full plan. Just start. Do not wait to start because it needs to be perfect. It will never be perfect. Just go. 

“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible to the visible.”  – Tony Robbins

If you would like to dive a little deeper into the process of setting your intentions and goals for 2017, I would like to invite you to a FREE Hair of the Dog mini-course held the week of January 2nd, 2017. Details can be found here.

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Nicole Begley

Nicole Begley

Nicole runs the popular Hair of the Dog blog and Facebook community. She loves to help pet photographers create a business and life of abundance. Nicole also owns Nicole Begley Photography, a pet photography business based in Pittsburgh, PA. She is obsessed with traveling and chocolate martinis and shares her home with her husband, two tiny humans, Emma the cat, and Zoey the Puerto Rican wonder dog.