Spring Cleaning for Your
Got dreams? Spring is a time thatís fairly
crackling with possibilities for forging ahead. But how
can you effectively harness all that energy, and turn it
into actions that really move you forward?
I say have a "Clean Start Planning Retreat." This is a
technique I've been using for several years that really
helps focus and ground your actions. And even though it
may be brown and muddy outside (if youíre in New
England) Ö you can still rise up and harness the
abundant energy in the rebirth of spring.
1. Schedule two full days in which you can do
something just for you.
Begin by scheduling in at least two full days
sometime before spring really kicks in that you can
designate "Clean Start Days." You can schedule them
together, or separately. Saturdays can work well for
this. (If you tend to be a guilty parent, use this as a
chance for someone else who loves your kids to spend the
day with them.)
2. Record your results for the last year or quarter.
Day One is dedicated to assessing what progress youíve
made on your dreams. It may be that youíre just
beginning your dream, and have few or possibly no Ďtangibleí
records of progress yet. Take a look through journals,
and notebooks from classes or programs.
On the other hand, you may be launching a business,
or just starting to sell your work. If so through
ledgers, stat reports on web sites, check book
registers, receipt piles, Quicken files, sent email
files, even phone bills. Compare what you unearth to any
goals you made for the last year. It doesnít matter
how much time you span Ė use your intuition on which
parameters to use.
Wherever you are with your dream, write up a
report that addresses these essential categories.
(Itís okay to write, ĎNone yet,í in many categories
if thatís where you are Ö this gives you room to
- Products/Services produced
- Marketing efforts (be sure to log in their
- People reached (and which target markets they come
from, if you can)
- Support System (include staff, temp help,
consultants, support group)
- Office (assess the effectiveness of your workspace
and its equipment)
- Inspirational Tools (note any sources of stimulation
or ideas that have worked well for you, or what you
might need in this area)
- Mistakes Made
- Lessons Learned
- Ideas Hatched
- Old Projects Retired
- Reviews/Critiques/Feedback (assess overall reaction
on each product or service)
- General Risk Assessment (did you take enough? Wish
you took more?)
3. Pick a really appealing location for Day Two. (You
might even bring a supportive friend.)
Once you've got your report in hand, move on to day
two. It's critically important you not do this work
in your home or office. Instead, go into a
new environment that gives you a blast of inspiration.
Choose a place that naturally nurtures you. It doesn't
have to be an expensive resort. My husband and I
sometimes spend the day sitting in front of the
fireplace of a nearby country inn, where we also eat
lunch. Think of weekend getaways belonging to friends,
your favorite beach, a string of cool coffee bars and
restaurants. You might even consider doing this work
with a friend and splitting the cost of a room at a
hotel or resort for a night or two. Pick places that are
fun to be in, but also provide a spot to get comfortable
and talk quietly.
If you do choose to bring along a friend, make sure
it's a staunch supporter. You want to share your dreams
and visions with someone who won't take too much delight
in 'playing devil's advocate'. Nor do you want to bring
along a mindless yes-person who will ooh and aah over
your worst ideas. You want someone who can help you see
the gaps in last yearís systems, and help you to reach
for your biggest and best, as well. You also want to be
available to support that personís goalís, too. This
way, you can become yearlong support buddies to each
other, which always helps.
Also, if you bring a friend, take turns briefly
sharing last yearís progress reports that you created
in Day One, so he or she has a point of reference.
Of course, many of us prefer to do this sort of
planning alone, and thatís just fine, too!
4. Spend Day Two imagining the year you really want.
It's this simple: bring lots of paper, sit back and
dream. That's why a nice, nurturing environment is so
important -- because it's hard to think big if you're
looking at a kitchen full of dirty dishes.
- Set concrete goals in all the following areas that
speak to you, plus any others you can think of.
- Products Produced/Services Rendered
- People reached (how many and whom)
- Overall Results
- Emotional being/Level of personal satisfaction
- Work environment
- Support Staff
- Sources of Inspiration
Really blue sky this ... (and feel free to add any
other categories you can think of.) And while you're at
it, listen to your gut. That's the beauty of taking the
time to do this -- it finally gives you time to hear
what you're intuition wants to tell you about your
Also, be careful to be specific with your goals.
Don't wish to "make lots of money." Give it a
dollar amount. Donít write down "Iím generally
happy," under the heading, Emotional being -- write
"Iím happy and satisfied with the knowledge that
Iím helping people achieve Ö" or whatever it is
that resonates for you.
Also, don't write down things you think you should
want, but in your heart, you're not so sure about. If
you think being on Oprah would be a good idea, but you
have this vague feeling that it might be overwhelming,
don't write it down. You wonít be able to manifest it
anyway, probably, since manifesting is a gut-based
process. Instead, pick the goal that seems really right
-- maybe appear on a local cable show or do some radio.
Finally, you want to imagine goals that align with
your soul purpose in life Ė that unique gift that you
are meant to give to others. Let this be like a great
guiding umbrella that informs your choices. (For more
information about your soul purpose in life, check out
my Discover Your Soul Purpose CD at http://www.howmuchjoy.com/soulpurpose.html
5. Divide your goal list into business quarters.
To further treat your visions and goals effectively,
break them down by quarters, like businesses do that end
on April 1, June 1, September 1 and January 1. Figure
out what you can reasonably expect to get done by
quarterly dates, (a support buddy can be a great help
with this.) You can even write down a specific list of
actions for the first quarter, and leave the remaining
three rather vague. That's okay. Just tighten them up as
you progress through the year. Then you can have a
little burst of energy at the beginning of each quarter,
as you slice, dice, reassess and rearrange your goals.
Now you're all set to have a magnificent year!
© Copyright 2005
Suzanne Falter-Barns All Rights Reserved.
Suzanne Falter-Barns is the author
of the new book, Living Your Joy: A Practical Guide
to Happiness (Ballantine) and How Much Joy Can You Stand? A Creative Guide To
Facing Your Fears and Making Your Dreams Come True (Ballantine