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Episode 16 - New Year Special - Your Best Year Yet!

Updated: Sep 20, 2021

As the current year ends, you are likely promising yourself that next year is going to be the best year of your life. Now I don’t want to burst your bubble but the chances are that you will find yourself living the same life as always and according to Business Insider 80% OF NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS WILL GET BROKEN BE FEBRUARY. In this episode though I’m going to discuss HOW TO KEEP YOUR NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS AND PLAN FOR YOUR BEST YEAR YET.

Jinny Ditzler, the author who I will be talking about a little later says, when talking of the year that has passed, that “The principal value of our mistakes and failures is our ability to learn from them”.

And it’s with that idea in mind that I present this episode as it’s in alignment with the higher level of thinking that I encouraged you to adopt in episode 1.

American author of self-help books, Melody Beattie, says that “The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. “ And that “We can help write that story by setting goals.”

In the last episode I talked about setting goals and to some extent this show will expand upon that topic. I’ll add here that although this episode is launching at New Year, I REALISE THAT YOU MAY BE LISTENING TO IT PERHAPS HALFWAY THROUGH THE YEAR and if that’s the case just remember that You don’t need to set new goals at the break of a new year. Let your new year be tomorrow or a week from now if you feel you need a run up to it.

You don’t need to passively sail through your life. You must learn from the mistakes of the past and strategize your journey through the year ahead.

So the next chapter of your life is yet to be written and I need you now to take control and engage your higher level thinking self in helping you to shape it.

This year, on a number of levels, especially professionally, has been my best year yet. I directed fights on 6 or 7 high level UK television shows, which amounted to 65 episodes in all, on a couple of short films and on 3 features and by utilising the Pareto Principle I made more money with less effort than I had put in on previous years. In addition to that, the short film which we’d made in Hong Kong a year or so ago has at latest count I think won 32 or 33 awards and been nominated for a further 20. I also, through the use of a 12 week year (listen to episode 11 for more on that) launched this podcast with its first 15 episodes, 16 including this one which goes out just before New Year and successfully created and launched the associated social media accounts and official website. I topped the year off by co-producing, co-directing and arranging fights on another film in Hong Kong which if the footage is anything to go by, will be quite a spectacular action piece.

With all that said and done I must admit that I veered away - last minute - from the episode which I’d been planning for New Year, which was about dealing with and recovering from burnout – GIVEN MY PREVIOUS LIST THERE I THINK YOU CAN UNDERSTAND WHERE I WAS COMING FROM ON THAT ONE – but I redirected my efforts into what you are listening to now partly because I felt my own burnt out feeling would have dragged this episode down somewhat and partly as, let’s face it, looking forward to a new and even better year is a far more appropriate and positive topic for a special episode.


So all that I achieved last year came about before I’d even heard of a book entitled Your Best Year Yet by Jinny Ditzler, but I’ve discovered that it aligns nicely with my own philosophy and it’s something I am using to plan my own year ahead. Jinny Ditzler presents simple and straightforward strategies based on a structure of self-questioning and if you do her exercises, you will be one step closer to changing your life with a strategic action plan based on the data you collect from your own self-analysis.

BTW I must thank my friend Gillian Dick of the Goto agency who introduced me to Jinny’s book at this point. Gillian takes great pride in telling me that she has fallen asleep listening to this show on occasion so hopefully she’s not nodded off listening to this one yet! Thanks Gillian, just give yourself a shake, it’s halfway through already.

Jinny Ditzler’s now fairly famous book, which I’ll link to in the show notes of course, is titled Your Best Year Yet! But it’s more fully titled as Your Best Year Yet!: Ten Questions for Making the Next Twelve Months Your Most Successful Ever - And it’s these ten questions I’m going to discuss today.

Please buy the book via AMAZON my affiliate links.

The book says that if you take 3 hours out of your life to answer these 10 questions you will DISCOVER THE LIFE YOU COULD BE LIVING.

It goes on to say that answering the 10 key questions about your expectations, accomplishments and dreams for the future, will aid you in creating an effective plan for realizing your most important goals for the next 12 months.

I’m not going to pretend that in this short podcast like this I can cover the depth of detail of the book but I’d like to introduce the questions to you here and encourage you to think about them.

1. The first question the book asks is What did I accomplish over the past 12 months? What do you feel good about? Often we are so busy in our lives that we don’t take a moment to congratulate ourselves on our successes – so it asks what have you done that you can be proud of, in life, in work, in learning, in your relationships, or charitable work, or earnings, fitness or whatever? Jinny starts with a leading question about your accomplishments as this leads us in a positive direction AND POINTS OUT THAT WE RARELY THINK ABOUT WHAT WE HAVE ACHIEVED IN A DAY LET ALONE A YEAR. She uses a diagram called the CYCLE OF PRODUCTIVITY, which as a productivity junkie I was immediately attracted to.

In this diagram she points out that missing out the acknowledgement or praise section of the cycle is a dangerous shortcut as without it, IT DEGRADES OUR MOMENTUM IN THE CYCLE OF PRODUCTIVITY AND MAKES IT MORE DIFFICULT TO START AGAIN. To take new action and start future work. Especially after a difficult year it’s really important that you take time to RECOGNIZE OUR SUCCESSES.

2. The second question is What were your biggest disappointments? James Joyce said that “Mistakes are the portals or discovery”, and I believe we have to embrace our mistakes and forgive them so that we can move on. So what dreams did you miss out on in the year past, what expectations weren’t fulfilled? Did you miss out in love? Put on weight, or even just fail to lose any? Whatever your disappointments you must list them here. Again I’ll batter on about the fact that if you put things in writing you are 80% more likely to do them SO DON’T MISS OUT THE WRITING PART IN ALL THIS. By writing these disappointments down you will clear them from your mind. Jinny describes this as pulling the weeds of disappointment and failure from your mind. Again writing them down helps you to recognize and deal with them. Letting them go puts you in a place where your self-assessment, which is the point of these ten questions, is NO LONGER PRIMARILY BASED ON FAILURE. By listing them she wants you to forgive, forget and learn from them. To bin that excess baggage, dissipate resentment and FINALLY JUST LET GO.

3. The third question effectively asks of the previous two questions What did you learn? The book encourages us to ask, what was the secret of my success? What worked? What did I achieve? And, What didn’t work and why? What would have worked better? What’s the lesson? Taking that further Jinny asks What do I need to change in the way I operate? How can I do things differently? What advice can I give myself? Have I been honest? Etc and from that she asks us to turn the answers into personal guidelines. She lists some of her own guidelines as PUT MY FAMILY FIRST, ASK FOR HELP WHEN I NEED IT, RELAX, DO WHAT I KNOW WHAT TO DO, FACE THE MUSIC etc. ---- Even three questions in I’m hoping that you guys have started considering buying the book. This simple approach could change everything for you.

4. With Question 4 Jinny asks How do you limit yourself, and how can you stop? This is a powerful question and it’s not something I think that I’ve ever considered. It’s simple but if you’re honest in answering it then the answer will be very enlightening. She further asks here - What has it cost me to limit myself? In what ways have I benefited from it? And - Am I willing to stop limiting myself? This is quite an involved chapter so I’m not going to say much more here. Getting through these questions and assessing the answers will perhaps be the key to unlocking your special powers in the year ahead. BY NO LONGER LIMITING YOURSELF, or recognizing it when we do, YOU CAN SHAPE YOUR FUTURE FAR MORE PRECISELY AND RE FRAME YOUR MIND INTO A NEWER LESS LIMITED ONE. We must recognize our limiting actions and re-write them with a new paradigm that cancels out the limiting factor and allows us to move on. A simple example of this could be that your limiting paradigm is to believe that only you know what is best and the empowering paradigm may be that you succeed more quickly and achieve more with the support of others.

5. The next of the ten questions is What are my personal values? WHAT IS MOST IMPORTANT TO YOU, WHAT VALUES REPRESENT WHO YOU ARE? What values do you want to demonstrate, and what effect do you want to have on others? Now this is a topic which I’m going to delve into even deeper in another episode as I think that as time goes on and as we have our ups and downs in life our values can become a little lost. If you feel that way too, then hang on in there and I’ll get an episode about that and about how we can utilize affirmations to help reshape out values somewhere down the line. SO MUCH TO DO, SO LITTLE TIME. For now though that was question 5 of the Best Year Yet, but…

6. Question 6 asks What roles do I play in my life? (Father, wife, teacher, student, writer, consultant and so on) This question is asked so as to get an overall view of all the aspects and responsibilities of your life. If you find yourself chasing your tail on your to-do list then re defining your role may help you to gain focus there. KNOWING YOUR ROLES IN LIFE PROVIDES DIRECTION, it places who you are, your values etc – at the center of your life. This self-awareness of role and values puts you in that driving seat that I keep battering on about.

7. Following on from this question 7 asks Which of your roles is going to be your major focus for the next 12 months? Ahhhh you were wondering the point of question 6 perhaps? Well, here it is. You are being asked to narrow down those roles and that’s not perhaps as easy as you thought. This chapter however presents you with various means of narrowing down the options and focusing on the one that matters. Intuition is perhaps the strongest part of this but if you have trouble deciding the book will help you out. It poses questions such as - IN WHICH ROLE DO I WANT TO HAVE A BREAKTHROUGH? If I could put one problem behind me, once and for all, what would it be? And the answers to these questions, among others listed there, can inform your decision process. DECIDING WHAT TO FOCUS ON INSTEAD OF TRYING TO BE ALL THINGS WILL ALLOW THAT AREA OF YOUR LIFE TO FLOURISH.

8. Question 7 is very much tied to Question 8 which asks, What are your goals for each role? Now my last episode was all about setting and achieving goals so you should be all over this one, but I’ll talk a little bit about Jinny’s angle here. She starts by pointing out that which we have discussed already –that PEOPLE WHO HAVE GOALS, ACHIEVE MORE RESULTS IN THEIR LIVES. Jinny’s system of goal setting however is quite rightly tied together with the values she asked about earlier. She points out that “People whose goals are aligned with their values achieve more satisfaction and fulfillment.” And that lesson is of great value here.

I’ll say it again - “People whose goals are aligned with their values achieve more satisfaction and fulfillment.”

That’s something that can certainly be lost as we drive our way through life or through a career. She goes on to say that “When you change from wishing and whinging to setting powerful value driven goals, you move to a more positive and productive life” and goes on to talk about being specific in your goal setting as I suggested last week. She further pins these goals down to a time specific deadline with not just annual goal deadlines, but monthly, bi monthly & quarterly ones too. Jinny splits these time specific power goals into Result goals and Process goals. Something which I’m going to try and do myself. An example might be Result Goal: Make a feature film by this time next year. Process goal: Write a page a day for the next 90 days to get a first draft by three months from today. Check out my episode on creating Habits (I think its episode 13) to find out about more about that one. This chapter is huge so I have to move on but as I’ve said before this is a book I encourage you to buy to find out more – So without further ado the book next asks…

9. Number 9 - What are my top 10 goals for the next year? You probably have a ton of goals and sub goals on your todo list and Chapter 9 helps you to further narrow them down and to limit them to a top ten. A shortlist of ten you see gives you a map with which to plan your year. You can begin to reduce these goals by reviewing again the first 7 questions and reminding yourself of your new paradigm, your re-written plan to circumvent the limitations you have previously placed upon yourself. With your values and primary role or roles in mind you will, THROUGH A PROCESS OF PRIORITIZING AND ELIMINATION, form your list and its with that top ten that you can start to plan YOUR BEST YEAR YET! This plan will take the form of a simple page which includes guidelines derived from your earlier answers, a new paradigm to re write an existing limiting one, a major focus or breakthrough you are going for and your top ten goals for the year.

10. Finally question 10 asks How can I make sure that I achieve those goals? Well you’ve written it all down and that’s a great place to start but the book offers what it calls THE FOOLPROOF SOLUTION, and presents 3 questions to ask yourself at any time you are uncertain. Firstly you must ask yourself What’s the next step? And simply identify what actions are required and just take those steps – and the advice on moving forward once this is done is to JUST DO IT. It next asks Who can give you the support you need to achieve your goals and shift to your new empowering paradigm? There may well be someone you know that can advise you. And lastly Does the way I see the problem limit my achieving it? Removing the internal limiting factors and focusing on your new paradigm, should receive as much attention as the goals themselves. This chapter also covers pitfalls such as negative thoughts which disempower us and the negativity of others, and urges us to be aware of end goal thinking – something I’ve suffered from myself and instead reminds us to try and enjoy the process. It goes on to cover prioritizing and other topics which if you are a regular listener to the show you will already have some awareness of.

The book ends with a workshop chapter which lists the ten questions in a format in which you can easily follow and answer in the blank spaces provided. In short, this is a simple guide with powerful results and for the sake of a few quid and a few hours of your time, you will find that it can pay back quite considerably.

Jinny’s ten questions are ones that I encourage you to answer and even if you think you are doing well and don’t need the help.

She says that “The coming year is just your best year so far - they can get better and better as the years go by.”

Her point of course is that EVERY YEAR THAT COMES CAN STILL BE YOUR BEST YEAR YET. You thought last year was good? WELL WAIT TILL YOU SEE WHAT’S COMING!


Get yourself a copy of the book via the links on the show notes for this episode on and I’ll get a bump back from the sale, which in turn will help to support the podcast. Well I say that but to be honest it’s not happened yet – but I live in hope. Jinny is also active on some social networks so I’ll add links to those too. The book is a real keeper and you will find yourself using it again and again and if you are anything like me, buying copies of it for others too.

– Michael Josephson said “Approach the New Year with the resolve to find the opportunities hidden in each new day. ”

and I hope that the lessons of Your Best Year Yet will enable you to find that resolve. Everything is easier with a plan, and Jinny Ditzler’s book is one of the quickest ways of creating one.

H Jackson Brown said “DON’T LET WEEDS GROW ABOUT YOUR DREAMS” so keep that in mind as you move forward into the new year.


I didn’t recap on episode 15 today as this topic wasn’t far off from that one, but I will do when I launch season 2.

As you may be aware, the previous 15 episodes were batch recorded, and I did that to ensure that when I said in episode 1 that 15 episodes would make up the pre season and season 1 that what I promised to release would absolutely happen. I like to think that I have a reputation for reliability and so if I say I am going to do something I really try to guarantee that it happens. Batching btw is an excellent tool for any similar tasks that you may want to do yourself. But what it meant though is that this is the first episode where I’ve had the opportunity to respond to the feedback of the first 15 episodes and I have to say that the response to the show has been outstanding. This is still only a fledgling podcast but I’ve got a good strong core group of subscribers and have had in the region of 30-40 messages of support since launch. From experienced screenwriters and filmmakers to just people who love the content, the response has been excellent, which is good because if it wasn’t I probably would have thrown in the towel. Creating these shows is a hell of an undertaking as it’s expensive to maintain in both cash and time terms.

I’ve been especially pleased to hear that the show has pushed several filmmakers on to shoot and complete their own films too with 3 films completed from what I hear due to inspiration drawn from Film Pro Productivity. That’s not something I ever thought would happen so I’m really pleased to hear about that sort of thing. Please continue to interact with me on the social networking pages or through the official website as hearing from you really does, as Clint Eastwood is fond of saying, make my day.

On that note I have a plan for the next season with topics such as Dealing with Stress, why you shouldn’t collaborate, manipulators and other toxic people and drive but if you have a particular subject that you’d like me to cover, if you are struggling again and again with the same problem and don’t know how to solve it please do get in touch and tell me all about it. I will do my best to cover the topic in a future episode. I’ve only had two speak pipe messages since launch but why not give it a try and leave me an up to 90 second audio message on Film Pro Productivity dot com’s Contact page.

Finally I want to plug the podcast of fellow filmmaker Ian O’Neill which is called How They Did It Filmmaking. In his show Ian interviews awesome filmmaker guests in a casual and engaging format which I just love. Ian launched his show perhaps two or three weeks before I did and I see him as a kindred spirit in this creative podcasting world. He even interviews me along the way so obviously that’s a particularly gripping episode! You can subscribe to his show on all the usual podcasting apps or catch him on twitter @Hfilmmaking or @ianwrites and you can also track him down on Facebook @howtheydiditpodcast and Instagram @howtheydiditfilmmaking if you prefer those platforms.

You may have noticed that I’m letting episodes sit now at round about the 20 minute mark. That’s a deliberate change which I’ve made to the original format. I found ten minutes just too tight to get the lessons across, and unlike in film where we so often tighten up the edit, I have come to the conclusion that when editing a podcast, just a few beats more silence after points have been made ALLOWS THE LISTENER TO FULLY UNDERSTAND AND PROCESS THE INFORMATION. So I speak a little slower, ramble a little more and pause on occasion, but it all adds to a more engaging format and that’s what really matters in the end.

I’ll finish today’s special episode with a quote from the great poet Alfred Tennyson who said “Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering ‘it will be happier’…”

Thanks once again for giving me your time and Please - Take control of your own destiny, Enjoy planning your own BEST YEAR YET, keep on shootin’ and join me once again for season two, sometime in late February, on Film Pro Productivity.

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Thanks: A Himitsu

Image: Main Photographs taken on the Giordano UK shoot by Bryan Larkin.

Music: Adventures by A Himitsu Creative Commons — Attribution 3.0 Unported— CC BY 3.0 Music released by Argofox Music provided by Audio Library ––– • Contact the artist:



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