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Episode 81 | PLANNING YOUR BEST YEAR YET (Part 1)

Updated: Dec 20, 2020


If you don't design your own life plan, chances are you'll fall into someone else's plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much. Jim Rohn

Howdy folks. How’s it going? You having a good December so far? How time flies when you are having fun in Covid land eh? This was going to be the last episode of the season, but it’s become a lot more than that, as it’s the first full episode I’ve recorded since becoming part of the fabulous Indie film Hustle Podcast Network and it’s also part 1 of a my new year special.


For new listeners who’ve come on board via the network, let me tell you a little bit about it first. In this show I take the best of the productivity and efficiency techniques tips and tricks from the business and lifestyle worlds, as well as the experiences, mistakes, lessons and solutions that I have found myself in a 25 year career as a professional fight arranger working in TV and film and bring them to those working in the creative industries. The show is primarily aimed at filmmakers and those working professionally in film and TV and I’d include actors and videographers in that but the topics I tackle are usually broad enough to help anyone who wants to listen. I do the show because I’ve had my own ups and downs along the way in life and work and I want to help you to avoid the same mistakes I have made. To some extent I also cover mental health issues but the focus is very much on productivity and success, whatever that means to you. If you like what you hear, then look back over the 80 or so episodes that are already available for a topic that appeals to you and get listening. And if you can’t find what you are looking for and are struggling with something in particular then please feel free to drop me a line and suggest one.


2020 was very much a year of overcoming challenges and disruption and of making the best of what we had. What I can say now though, is that it wasn’t all bad, in fact I found opportunities in the midst of it and used the forced downtime, some 6 months or so with no work, to better myself and gain a little ground in areas where I had been struggling - the opportunity to slow down and take stock was something that, along the way, I regarded as a gift.

“Pivoting is not the end of the disruption process, but the beginning of the next leg of your journey.” Jay Sammit

The buzz word for this year for me was PIVOT and that meant, about halfway through the year, the abandonment of many of my previously set goals and objectives which had been planned out as part of my BEST YEAR YET PLAN for 2020. I just listened in fact to episode 52 where I set out some of the stuff I had planned on doing with the show and listed 5 shows I was going to release, none of which actually happened. I also gave the assurance that 2020 was going to be your best year yet but well… I take that back. I really do. I didn’t achieve everything I set out in my best year yet plan but I still achieved an awful lot of it, even in a terrible year like 2020.


Let me now offer up now the prediction that if you listen up and get going on what I will be setting out today 2021 will be your best year yet. This episode and the next are about planning a strategy to achieve your goals in the year ahead. I’m not saying you won’t have to pivot along the way, but if you start with a strategy created using this system, and the blueprint it will create for what you are seeking to achieve, then your likelihood of achieving it will be greatly improved.


I plan out my year ahead using a system called Your Best Year Yet, which was created by Jinny Ditzler in her book of the same name. That won’t be new information to anyone who has been listening to the show though, as I’ve been using that system every year for the past 3 years. It was suggested to me as a must read by my good friend Gillian Dick who I interviewed in the last season – great shows go check them out, she is a genius. And at the end of this episode I’ll be telling you how you can win one of 5 copies of the book, so stay tuned.


Amazon describes Your Best Year Yet as the perfect guide to help you realise goals and overcome last year's limitations. The proven methods laid out within it will make this new year into your most successful ever. Simply put, Your Best Year Yet is a handbook to help people realise their goals over the next 12 months. I’ve talked about it on two previous shows, I think episode 17 or 18 or thereabouts and again this year in episode 52. Today I delve once more into this incredibly powerful system that will enable you to plan out a strategy to correct the failures and missed opportunities that have come before and help you to plan and navigate through a new year of success and happiness.

Awareness brings its own reward. Shifting your attention to what you have accomplished in the past year awakens your “can do! Attitude” and gets you back in touch with your ability to make things happen. Jinny Ditzler

I’m shortening a 200 page book here so I’m going to cut to the chase on a lot of this stuff but in the end what we are aiming to do over these two episodes is create a single page document which will detail your goals and few other key elements you will need to make those goals became a reality. Once we’ve created that document I will talk about how you can make them happen.


The full title of the book is Your Best Year Yet!: Ten Questions for Making the Next Twelve Months Your Most Successful Ever as Jinny Ditzler asks 10 tough questions for us to answer to have our best year. 2021 is just almost with us so take your time to answer the 10 questions and develop a plan of what you’d like to achieve in the upcoming 12 months. If you are listening to this show in the middle of the year, don’t worry. Your best year can start at any time you choose. If you want it to start tomorrow or next week and it’s June or October, that’s fine, just set the date and begin. The questions set out by Jinny are as follows:


1. What did I accomplish over the past 12 months?

2. What were my biggest disappointments?

3. What did I learn?

4. How do I limit myself, and how can I stop?

5. What are my personal values?

6. What roles do I play in my life? (Father, wife, teacher, student, writer, consultant and so on)

7. Which role is my major focus for the next 12 months?

8. What are my goals for the next year?

9. What are my top 10 goals for the next year?

10. How can I make sure that I achieve them?


Your answers to these questions will be condensed into a 1 page plan for the year ahead. It won’t be easy but it will be enlightening and motivational for you to take this on. In the words of Diamond Dallas Page though, don’t just think it, INK IT. This is not a brain exercise, so if you don’t write this stuff down, then I promise you now – it won’t happen. You may have to listen to the shows a couple of times to get the best out of them, but to help you though I’ll make a downloadable best year yet planning sheet available at filmproproductivity.com – go to the show notes and you will find it in word and pdf format. Also, this exercise takes time to sort out, Jinny suggests a single uninterrupted sitting of 3 hours but I prefer to tackle it in several sittings over a few days to allow me to consider what I am writing and to help me clarify my thoughts.

GUIDELINES best year yet blank download
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GUIDELINES best year yet blank download
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Today we will be looking only at the first 5 questions as there’s a lot to consider. In the next episode I’ll cover the final 5 and how to put the plan into action and actually make things happen.


Question number 1 is WHAT DID I ACCOMPLISH LAST YEAR? This chapter starts with a quote from John Roger who says

“Increasing your self-esteem is easy. Simply do good things and remember that you did them”.

The author urges us to write down absolutely everything when we do this section, even the small things You will find that even though you felt that you have achieved nothing that when consider more specifically have no doubt achieved far more than you believed. This is why I spread this exercise over days. It’s not unusual for me to forget I’ve achieved some massive thing but in the moment I forgot about it. Some examples from the book are as follows READ FROM BOOK. We start with the positives because the human condition these days is very much focused on the negative. Remember the quote I gave earlier here - Awareness brings its own reward. Shifting your attention to what you have accomplished in the past year awakens your “can do! attitude” and gets you back in touch with your ability to make things happen. I often talk about the cycle of productivity on this show and how it is short circuited if we miss the acknowledgement part out. I learned that from this book which describes missing out the praise section of the cycle as a dangerous shortcut. The full cycle of productivity for reference is 1/ create / decide/ start 2/ Take Action 3/ Complete and 4/ acknowledge and give praise. Jinny writes:

Praise and appreciation for the good news make all the difference. We feel stronger and more naturally motivated and there’s less of that needy part of us, always trying to prove ourselves and hoping someone will notice.

So take a bit of time to write down what you have achieved in the last 12 months before you move on.


2. The second question Jinny asks is WHAT WERE MY BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENTS? And she illustrates this with a quote from James Joyce – Mistakes are the portals of discovery. I’ve covered the topic of self-analysis quite thoroughly this last season and it’s hammered home again here. If you keep making the same mistakes then you are never going to get anywhere fast. Questions you might ask yourself are SEE SECTION IN CHAPTER. Did you feel you let yourself down? Did events transpire against you? What went wrong? Discovering the truth through this analysis and accepting it will provide you with a great release and doing it inside the best year yet context will show you a clearer way ahead. In an upcoming episode about stoicism STOICISM you will learn that What happens, happens. The only thing we can control is how we respond to what happens to us, so accept your failures so that you can make plans to avoid them happening in future. The successes are great and we can enjoy them but the failures should be looked upon as great character builders and lessons to be learned from. Fail your way forward to success and try not to get burned out by the smack downs you have taken along the way.


3. And that leads us on to Question 3 is WHAT DID I LEARN? Think about what you’ve learned over the past year. These can be life lessons you’ve actually learned and put into practice or lessons you could learn, given what happened. The opening paragraph to this chapter reads

“Look back over the answers to the first two best year yet questions to see what you’ve learned. In reviewing what you have accomplished, what possible lessons do you see?”

Can you now see what the secret of your success was in those answers? What worked or why you were able to achieve what you did? When you look at the answers to your second question can you see now what didn’t work and why? What would have worked better? What the lesson is from each disappointment? Have you actually learned that lesson yet? Is there evidence that proves have learned your lesson? What is that evidence? Consider it all very thoroughly, and remember you should be taking hours to do this exercise. These are not questions you need to answer right now during this podcast. Unless that is you are hitting pause that is.


· Once you have answered the question – WHAT DID I LEARN - you can now rewrite your responses in the form of clear, straight advice. For example “Accept fair criticism and act on it.” “Don’t give up too easily.” Don’t rely on others who will let me down.””Do the difficult tasks first” “Don’t waste money on equipment I don’t need” – that’s a good one for filmmakers - Keep going with this sort of analysis until you feel you’ve mined all the gold available from your experience of the past year. Turning these lessons into formal guidelines is an important part of the best year yet strategy. This chapter eventually asks you to choose which three lessons would make the most difference to you if you followed them in the next year of your life? Select your top three lessons and write them again. These will be your personal guidelines for next year. Start each with a verb (do, make, write etc) and make them as short and memorable as possible.


Question 4 is principally HOW DO I LIMIT MYSELF? But it also asks IN WHICH AREAS OF MY LIFE AM I NOT ACHIEVING WHAT I WANT? WHAT HAS THAT NEGATIVE INFLUENCE COST ME? WHAT DO I SAY ABOUT MYSELF TO EXPLAIN THESE FAILURES?


  • In order to have your Best Year Yet, you need to make sure the way you’re thinking about yourself and your goals empowers you to succeed. This isn’t as difficult as it sounds though and the book actually makes it quite simple.

  • Your answers to the last part of this question WHAT DO I SAY ABOUT MYSELF TO EXPLAIN MY FAILURES? constitute what it calls your limiting self-beliefs or limiting paradigm. What results do you achieve by holding these points of view? Where do they lead you? Remember that your thoughts and beliefs can easily become self-fulfilling prophecies. Remember too, the words of Brian Tracy - YOU BECOME WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT MOST OFTEN. If you keep telling yourself excuses you will come to believe them and you will never change. If you constantly think I’m not good enough, your confidence will falter and you won’t even try for example.

  • So when you’ve answered the question – How do I limit myself?, and I’d imagine here you could come up with a few things, you must then ask yourself which of these answers is the strongest negative influence on you at this point in your life? Which one really hits the nail on the head? This is the one you need to work on because what you focus on is what you get.

  • This is quite a big chapter in the book and it explores in depth how you limit yourself and your goals, but it then has you exchange these limiting beliefs for empowering ones. In the end it has you write a new self-belief that knocks this old one on the head. For example you might have written “I’m scared of making changes.” This could change to, “I’m able to go beyond my limitations” or “Whatever I put my mind to, I achieve.” Make sure your new self-belief is personal and positive, powerfully stated and pointing to an exciting new possibility. It should also be in the present tense. This is a vital part of the exercise and will be referred to as your new empowering paradigm which acts as a kind of tailor made affirmation to refer to throughout the upcoming year.

It is not enough to possess virtue as if it was an art; It should be practiced. Marcus Tullius Cicero

Question 5 is WHAT ARE MY PERSONAL VALUES? This chapter asks What drives you? What is your life pursuit? What values represent who you are? What values do you demonstrate? What do you want to happen as a result of my interaction with others? What effect do you want to have on others? Think about what’s most important to you in your life. Personal values are values such as integrity, honesty, compassion for others, keeping promises, taking care of yourself, respect. These values provide the strongest motivation for change. Put some thought to it and make a list of yours. I have to say that this short chapter had a profound influence on me when I realized hadn’t considered it for a long long time. By answering this question, in fact by even just considering it, I was able to rediscover the radar or perhaps better put the compass of my life and make decisions more easily. One of the decisions I took with this in mind was to remove the people from my life that actively worked against my values. One individual in particular worked in a way which was so at odds with my values about respect and the treatment of others that the act of cutting him away immediately made my life happier and more productive. I’ve talked in previous shows about removing toxic people from your life. Knowing what your values are makes that process, and the process of deciding what projects to go forward with and how you are going to run them and makes your day to day life and decisions much easier.


So think about your values and start writing them down. This exercise alone will change your life.


So today I have covered, and your call to action this week is to start considering the answers to, these questions. Get a head start on the exercise too, by writing them down.


1. What did I accomplish over the past 12 months?

2. What were my biggest disappointments?

3. What did I learn?

4. How do I limit myself, and how can I stop?

5. What are my personal values?


In the next show which comes out in two weeks time I will cover the final five:


1. What roles do I play in my life? (Father, wife, teacher, student, writer, consultant and so on)

2. Which role is my major focus for the next 12 months?

3. What are my goals for the next year?

4. What are my top 10 goals for the next year?

5. How can I make sure that I achieve them?

Every time we choose action over ease or labor over rest, we develop an increasing level of self-worth, self-respect and self-confidence. In the final analysis, it is how we feel about ourselves that provides the greatest reward from any activity. It is not what we get that makes us valuable, it is what we become in the process of doing that brings value into our lives. It is activity that converts human dreams into human reality, and that conversion from idea into actuality gives us a personal value that can come from no other source. Jim Rohn

I’m running a competition to win one of 5 copies of Your Best Year Yet, between now and the next show and you can enter right now. All you have to do is firstly go to filmproproductivity.com and hit subscribe, which allows me to send you very occasional updates that you can unsubscribe from at any time and the other is to subscribe to the show on the app of your choice, screen grab it and post it to social media with a link to where your friends can listen to the show. Do me a favor and copy me into the post though or I’ll miss it. The hash tag to use for this is #filmprocompetition. I’ll pull the winners out of a virtual hat in two weeks’ time and send prizes out via Amazon to arrive hopefully before the end of the year. So that’s 5 copies up for grabs and only minimal effort required on your part to enter. The benefits to the show however will be considerable and if this goes well I’ll be giving out more prizes in future shows. If you are already subscribed to the website by the way I’ll know so don’t panic.


I’ll end today with some more words from Napoleon Hill

Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Are you satisfied with where you are and the direction you are going? If not, take control of your life and change whatever needs to be changed. You and only you have the power to do this. You can change your world!

So have a great Christmas when it comes, take control of your own destiny, keep on shootin’ and join me next time for part 2 of PLANNING YOUR BEST YEAR YET on FILM PRO PRODUCTIVITY AND SUCCESS!


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You can view the show notes for this episode on the official website filmproproductivity.com

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References: https://www.exmoorjane.com/your-best-year-yet/


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