Do You Have the Guts to Tear Up Your Priority List?

If you’re already falling behind on your strategic goals for 2013 four weeks into the year, I’m going to make a radical suggestion. Toss out the list now—and pick just one key priority for this year. Then clear your calendar and commit a scheduled amount of time to it every single week.

Make no mistake. It’s hard enough to choose four or five goals for the year. It’s even tougher, and bolder, to pick just one. If you’re not sure what it should be, ask yourself: What is the number one meaningful thing you could do that would trump the next 5 or 75 things on your list? Also ask yourself what you regret not doing. Regrets can be an excellent guide to what you need to do to move forward and build the life you want.

Last year, I realized it had been a decade since I wrote my bestselling book, Mastering the Rockefeller Habits. When I looked back at all of the decisions I’d made in my professional life, writing it had been the smartest one. It helped me to get my message to a much broader audience and became a cornerstone of my current business. It is currently the number two book on “Strategy & Competition” on Amazon, after all these years.

Like you, I’m very busy. I run a company with 110 coaching partners on six continents and travel frequently. Nonetheless, it hit me while completing my own One-Page Strategic Plan that the most important thing I could do for 2012 was to write another book—and it was essential to make it happen. Teaming up with a group of journalists from Fortune magazine, where I write a monthly column, I wrote The Greatest Business Decisions of All Time. It hit the #1 position on Amazon for all business books shortly after it was released in October.

I also became a convert to setting a single priority when my family and I tried it on a personal level last year, modeling our approach on the one John Assaraf describes in The Complete Vision Board Kit.

Previously, we’d set many ambitious resolutions—only to find that we abandoned them midstream. So last year, my wife Julie and I and our four children each chose one individual pursuit for the year that would be truly meaningful. For instance,my eldest son Cameron, who is in eleventh grade, decided to focus on learning Mandarin—something that will really set him up for the future – and my 9-year-old daughter enjoyed learning to ride a horse

Setting one priority doesn’t mean we don’t do other things. However, we give each of our biggest goals top priority in our busy schedules and look for ways to tie our other activities to that priority. It makes us go around the table to ask ourselves: What do we need to do this week to move this goal forward?

My top personal priority for 2013? To get more music into my life. I’ve gotten back to playing the piano, something I love, and we’re also putting our family band back together. Music has always been what gets me inspired—and staying that way is important to everything else I do.

(Photo: ©[Liliia Rudchenko])

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