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Updated: Nov 4, 2021


Drop the last year into the silent limbo of the past. Let it go, for it was imperfect, and thank God that it can go. Brooks Atkinson

OK so here we are with part 2 of this New Year Special and the astute amongst you may have noted that Your Best Year Yet smells a little like a new year resolution strategy. Well, it is to an extent and really it isn’t. Studies have shown that approximately 80% of New Year’s resolutions FAIL and I don’t engage in making New Year’s “resolutions” because in my experience they really don’t work very well. This BEST YEAR YET strategy is much more and the odds of success are very greatly improved, even if you have to pivot a little along the way.

As I mentioned last time Your Best Year Yet as the perfect guide to help you realise goals and overcome last year's limitations and the proven methods laid out within the book will make this New Year into your most successful ever. Today I delve again into this incredibly powerful system with the final 5 questions that need to be answered to enable you to plan out a strategy to correct the failures and missed opportunities that have come before, and bring you a new year filled with success and happiness

“The knowledge is there within us. We have only to think about the advice we have for others and then have the humility to see if we’re following it ourselves.” Jinny Ditzler

The full title of the book is Your Best Year Yet!: Ten Questions for Making the Next Twelve Months Your Most Successful Ever and Jinny Ditzler asks 10 tough questions for us to answer to have our best year. The first 5 questions, which I dealt with in the last episode 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?

Today will be tackling the next 5.

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?

The answers to these questions can be condensed into a 1 page plan for the year ahead. And remember that this is not just a brain exercise. This takes time to sort out, Jinny suggests a single 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. And after we have answered all 10 questions I’ll let you in on the secret of how you can actively make moves to achieve the things you set out.

After I go through these next 5 questions I’ll be going into detail about how we can put our plan into action but for now let’s get into this.

I never fit in. I am a true alternative. And I love being the outcast. That's my role in life, to be an outcast. Meat Loaf

Question number 6 is this WHAT ROLES DO I PLAY IN MY LIFE? Answering this question gives you an overall view of all the aspects and responsibilities of your life as we all play various roles– for example you could be mother, wife, daughter, friend, manager, potter, shoulder-to-cry-on, director, editor, artist, dog owner or as Meat Loaf said there even an Outcast, or you could be a rebel, a spiritual leader or teacher etc. Anything at all.

Write out the full list of all the roles you currently play. I find that answering this question can go hand in hand with the values that you have set out in the previous question. The answers will help to provide direction in the year ahead and place who you are right now. In spiritual philosophy AWARENESS, FREE AND INDEPENDENT, IS THE CAUSE OF THE ATTAINMENT OF EVERYTHING. And highlighting your roles helps refine that awareness as making decisions about your life and work can sometimes be confusing. Knowing your roles will also help with motivation and bring balance to your life as they help you understand your why.

In the words of Eric Thomas When you find your why, you find a way to make it happen.

When you answer the question WHAT ROLES DO I PLAY IN LIFE add in any new role you would like to take on in the next year of your life – ie writer, student, mother, partner, actor, filmmaker then consolidate your list of roles so that you have no more than eight, fewer is fine. You will likely find that you can integrate several roles under one title. We will come back to this but when that is done you can move on to…


Now you know your personal values and how you want them to influence your various roles, think about each role in turn and rate your performance in that role on a scale of one to ten. For example, if you’re completely satisfied with your performance, rate yourself a 10. If you’re 50 percent satisfied, give yourself a 5. If you’re not doing anything much in that role or your performance is abysmal, you’d probably give yourself a 1.

Like most of us, I'm used to juggling about 52 roles in life. Wife. Mother. Sister. Friend. Author. Sometimes I feel a bit 'multiple-personality'. Sophie Kinsella

Look at your results, then ask yourself the following questions:

  • If I could put one problem behind me, once and for all, what would it be?

  • In which role do I want to have a breakthrough?

  • If I were able to put a big tick beside one of my roles at the end of the year, signifying that I felt a sense of mastery in that role, which would it be?

  • What’s the biggest impediment to my success and happiness right now?

When you have gathered this information, you should be able to decide on your Major Focus, the one role you want to really change or expand this coming year. Jinny writes: Give yourself a chance to win the game you’re creating for yourself. When there is one role on which you are focused, you find new levels of persistence and determination. Your true self prevails. This chapter focuses really on how to choose which role to move forward with and gives guidance to help you do so.

Tony Robbins says: One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power. Most people dabble their way through life, never deciding to master anything in particular.

So take the time over the next 12 months to focus on just one role and you will see yourself build momentum in that area very quickly. When you look at it again in 12 moths time, you will be amazed at the progress you have made.

Question 8 and each of these questions has a whole chapter to themselves in the book btw, but question 8 is WHAT ARE MY GOALS FOR EACH ROLE? No matter how you define your success, achievement is simply greater for those with clearly defined goals. That’s a fact and I’ve delved into this topic several times before on the show. Jinny Ditzler points out in this chapter that...

People whose goals aligned with their values achieve more satisfaction and fulfillment. When we’ve achieved a goal which has been driven by our values, by what we believe in and what’s really important to us, we experience an uplift in our lives and a sense of fulfillment in our hearts and minds.

All of this makes finding the drive to accomplish our goals all the easier to muster.

This chapter forces you to stop wishing and whinging about goals by getting get specific about them because with strong value driven goals you move to a more positive and productive life. Effectively what you do here is to fill out a “form” for each of your roles: you write the name of the role at the top of the page and underneath set out your goals to achieve in each role.

If you want a full episode on this go to episode 72 WHAT ARE SMART GOALS. Keep in mind for now though that powerful goals must be smart:

  • specific

  • measurable

  • attainable or I kinda prefer” action oriented”

  • relevant (some say realistic)

  • and time bound

Your goals should also start with a verb. So, for example “Spend more time with my children” should be re-phrased so something like: “Read to my children for at least thirty minutes three times a week.” While “Reduce my stress levels” could become, “Meditate for at least fifteen minutes each morning.” Or “edit more stuff” could be come “Edit for 3 hours every Thursday morning”.

Goals can be set to be annual, or quarterly or monthly, I’ll go into this in more detail later, but goals can be split again into two categories. Result goals and process goals. A result goal might be write a 1st draft of a new feature film by the last day of March, with process goals being write at least 8 pages of my new feature film a week for 12 weeks.

Write your goals out under the heading of the roles you play in life and work then match match your personal values to your goals. You should also avoid should goals as well as want or will goals by crossing them off or rephrasing, connect to your real wants, and finally take responsibility for them as if you are not willing to do whatever you need to achieve a goal you are really never going to achieve it. If you aren’t motivated to achieve it, scratch it. There are probably plenty of goals on your list. Get rid of the ones that you’re not going to take responsibility for.

The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want and if they can't find them, make them. George Bernard Shaw

Question number 9 - WHAT ARE MY TOP TEN GOALS FOR NEXT YEAR? I wouldn’t be surprised if you had 20 or 30 or maybe as many as 100 goals written out by now. Question 9 will forces you to make some tough decisions here but the process of illumination is an important one. Before you select your ten most important goals, review your responses to the first seven questions to remind yourself what really matters to you, and why. Then review all the goals you have set for each of your roles and select the ten which mean the most to you and which will, once achieved, make the most difference to you.

Once you have made these choices, check to make sure you are happy with the balance of roles and values. Anything left out? Anything getting too much or too little attention? Now prioritize your list of 10, putting your goals in descending order of priority. If you fail to limit yourself to the ten and move ahead with 11, 12 or more you will find that you will give up on many of them along the way as there are simply too many to achieve in one year and you will weaken your ability to achieve the ones that really matter. I’m personally going to try this year to list only 8 as my goals are pretty huge and I want to increase my odds of achieving them.

Once you have decided on your 10 you will find that you are now in a position to make your plan for the year ahead. I’ll make a downloadable file available to you in the show notes to make this simple for you, but you will have to write out on a single a4 sheet,

  • · 3 guidelines for yourself based on questions 1-3,

  • · the new paradigm which you created for yourself in question 4,

  • · your major focus for a particular role from question 6,

  • · and your top ten goals from question 9.

  • · I also like to write my core values in their too as a reminder.

This written document is important and you can’t skip it. The final chapter of the book is dedicated to helping you write out this 1 page document so take it seriously.

GUIDELINES best year yet blank download
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GUIDELINES best year yet blank download
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It gives advice on tackling the questions such as:

  • · Get in the right frame of mind and think of it as Time Out for yourself. This time you gave up will change your life, so enjoy it.

  • · Prepare your workspace. I find if my desk or my house is a mess, then my mind usually is too.

  • · Gather your materials. I work with a whiteboard and a computer but you may choose to do all this by hand.

  • · Decide whether to do your best year yet plan on your own. Personally I feel you have to do this but you may want to help. Just be certain you are planning your year and not someone else’s that may be influencing you.

  • · I’d add that you should take your time and spend a couple of days working through it if you can. These are difficult questions to answer so take your time.

The problem in my life and other people's lives is not the absence of knowing what to do but the absence of doing it. Peter Drucker Unquote

Finally question 10 asks HOW CAN I MAKE SURE I ACHIEVE MY TOP TEN GOALS? This question is designed to remind you of what you know to do, just as that Peter Drucker quote says, and this chapter is full of ideas on how to do that.

The first thing it says is that you must Keep your Best Year Yet plan in sightpin it up on a wall and keep those goals in mind all the time. I print several copies and have them either fixed to or right next to my white boards which I use every day. If they go below eye-level I can find myself not looking at them for a few weeks before I catch myself again so beware of that.

It also suggests that you read through your plan every day – just ten seconds a day will do to keep you in touch with your goals and allow your mind to focus on solutions. This will help you to take action, every day, every week, every month (whatever it takes) to move these goals forward.

You can ally this with positive thoughts about your success – which will check those self-limiting beliefs aren’t strangling your potential. If they are then you must work doubly hard to impose new, self-empowering beliefs. You may even find that putting what I’d call a visualisation of the success of that goal alongside it may help. If you are saving for a car or a camera or something - Put a picture of it next to the goal.

“When you put both in focus – external action and internal focus – the earth moves,” says Jinny Ditzler.

This chapter gives many examples of what to do to ensure you move towards your goals including what it calls the fool proof solution which I’ll cover in another episode perhaps, and GOLD TIME MANAGEMENT. Gold time is determined using the Eisenhower matrix which I have already covered on this show. That’s where you split your activities into important and unimportant, urgent and non-urgent with the aid of a box split 4 ways – I’ll post an image in the full show notes on to demonstrate this as it’s relatively simple.

With that matrix you can have activities that are important but not urgent and important and urgent. You can also have tasks that are unimportant that can be urgent or not urgent. Some tasks naturally move about in this matrix as time moves on, for example doing your tax or preparing a call sheet may not be relevant 3 months before the deadline but will become urgent as that deadline approaches.

The golden time Jinny Ditzler talks of is your important but non urgent time. This would be things like working on that screenplay you’ve been talking about writing. Time spent on these activities pays off at least tenfold over the time you invest in other types of activity. That is why the time you spend on them is golden. Gold time is not really about time though – it’s really about creating balance in your life as it ensures that your personal values and goals are not sacrificed in the pursuit of urgent short term ”must do’s”. That’s the point here so don’t miss it.

For creative people like ourselves the important non urgent stuff is the stuff you should never put off. If you do you will reach the end of the year and find that the activities that matter most to you, in achieving your goals at least, were things you never got round to because you prioritized everything else over them. Prioritize these activities every day to ensure they don’t fall by the wayside. I’ll return to this a little later.

Jinny explains that the last part of the jigsaw is to ensure you have good support around you. If you are intending to get fit, can you find a friend to join you at the gym? This would be what is known as an accountability partner. If you want to write a novel, will your family be supportive and give you the time and space? If not, could you join a group so you have positive feedback?

David Lloyd George said that Anything can be achieved in small, deliberate steps. But there are times you need the courage to take a great leap; you can't cross a chasm in two small jumps.

To really make your goals happen, you must subdivide them into smaller, bite-size chunks. This takes a small amount of planning on a regular basis.

The way best year yet suggests you do this is very powerful and it works as follows.

You have a MONTHLY GOAL-CHECK: Take your top ten goals and divide them up into monthly goals. Each month you need to identify the step that has to be taken to move you closer to your goal. For example, if your goal is “Get fit and healthy” your January goal might be “Join a gym and work out three times a week.” Do this for each of your major goals. At the end of each month, you then review what has happened and figure out what percentage of your goals you have achieved. Then think about what you need to do next month to progress your goal. Bear in mind too that you may want to focus on one or two goals only from your list and not all ten at once if they are particularly complex. At the same time you could perhaps achieve a few small parts of all ten goals each month, with a major focus being on just one of them.

To help this to happen you also need to do a WEEKLY GOAL-CHECK a week (most people choose late Friday afternoon, Sunday evening or early Monday morning) sit down with your Monthly Goals and identify steps to take over the next week to further those goals. Some weeks of course there may be nothing to do as you are working on something else. Also take this time to consider your roles. In your mind stand in each role, one at a time, and ask yourself: “What is the most important thing I want to accomplish in this role this week?” “What can I do, that will make the most difference in this role?” Some people refer to this as their weekly gold time session: Manage yourself to complete your weekly gold time tasks above all others.

Epictetus said Progress is not achieved by luck or accident, but by working on yourself daily and by creating a day by day to-do list which you write out the night before you will allow yourself to further break down your weekly goals. This act will give you both drive and focus on the smaller more easily achievable building blocks that make up the larger yearly goals. Carry anything not achieved the day before onto the next day or reschedule it if you have taken on too much, which can all too easily occur, on to another week.

I’d add too, that many important tasks don’t necessarily take a lot of time. If one of your roles is as a son or daughter and one of your 10 goals this year is to spend more time engaging with family then putting call my mum on a daily to do list will only take a few minutes but will make a significant difference to your success in that endeavor.

The future belongs to those who prepare for it. Jim Moran

So that’s it. The 10 questions asked by Jinny Ditzler and she recommended that you set aside three hours of undisturbed time to answer the questions. If you cannot block off that much time, do the best you can. My preference as I said before is to do this over 2 or 3 sessions split over several days. This could be because I’ve a crazy life or because I found it very difficult to make certain difficult decisions. Just take whatever time you need.

We’ve had five winners already each of which has a copy of the book winging its way towards them but I’m extending the competition and offering another two copies to listeners this week - but you will have to move fast to meet the deadline for it which is midnight on new year’s eve. To enter you have to do two things. Go to the website and hit subscribe, which allows me to send you very occasional updates which 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 and the hashtag #filmprocompetition. I’ll randomly pull the winners out of a (virtual) hat on New Year ’s Day and send prizes out via Amazon at that time – physical copies or kindle copies whatever you want. If this goes well I’ll be giving out more prizes in future shows. If you are already subscribed to the show on the website I’ll know so don’t panic.

Stephen Covey says To achieve goals you've never achieved before, you need to start doing things you've never done before

and so I present this system to you as a gift. If you want to do it seriously I’d suggest you buy the book, or at least try and win a copy. The difference that completing this task will make to your plans and goals and drive to achieve those things cannot be understated. So take these questions and run with them. These two new year specials will help you to answer the questions, so listen again to these shows to help you along and you will succeed. Have a great 2021 folks. I won’t promise it’ll be your best year yet, but if you use this system your odds will be greatly improved. Remember too folks, that every year can be your best year yet, so you can go through this process time and again. This isn’t your best year ever, it’s your best year yet.

As we close now on this episode, and on the dawning of a new year I want to say a word about Jinny Ditzler. I had hoped that the new year episode would be an interview with Jinny and that it would be amazing. I’d been planning it in fact since the start of the year, but sadly Jinny passed away peacefully in hospice at home on May 15, 2020 in Denver Colorado at the age of 80 years and 3 months from a rare neuromuscular disease. She wrote Your Best Year Yet while living in London in 1994. It has been translated into 12 languages and as we know, it is still in print 26 years later. Based on her book, she and her husband Tim created the Best Year Yet business which involved executive coaches leading the program she designed for both individual and leadership teams. The Best Year Yet programs are now provided by the InteraWorks business ( which I’ll link to in the show notes. To date, over 1 million people have been impacted by Jinny’s book and her ideas for generating a personal transformation. Her personal legacy lives brightly in her four granddaughters and the many thousands of people whose lives have been forever changed by her personal coaching and her book. She loved traveling, reading, and being with family and friends. If you want to know more about Jinny then go to the show notes and follow the links.

Now take control of your own destiny, keep on shootin’ and join me NEXT YEAR on FILM PRO PRODUCTIVITY AND SUCCESS!

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