Have you begun you planning for 2014? If you lead an organization, I’m guessing you started months ago. How about your personal plan for a better 2014 – have you begun creating that yet? If you haven’t, now is a great time to start!


I’ve been a fan of individual development plans for many years. I feel the process has helped me grow in all areas of my life. I’ve written before about some of the tips and techniques that have served me over the years if you’re interested. Here are links to a few posts that may be helpful…

Start with the End in Mind

Big Rocks First

Time Management is Not the Issue

I Love it When a Plan Falls Apart

Today, I want to be even more specific than I have in the past. Let’s address the issue of how to make 2014 better than 2013. What does better mean? I’ll answer this question with another one…

What do you want to be different in 2014?

To answer that question, I want to suggest you begin with an audit. What were you pleased with in 2013? Think both process and outcomes. As an example, you may be pleased with the fact you ran 3 days a week this year (process). You may also be excited you completed your first marathon (outcome). Make a list – as many items as you’d like.

Second question – what were you not pleased with this year. Again, think process and outcomes. Here’s an example from my life, I was not pleased with my exercise routine. I have a lot of reasons and excuses, including a knee injury and a hyper busy schedule. However, excuses notwithstanding, the outcome is the same – I did not reach my fitness goals for year. This is two years in a row I’ve fallen short in this arena – ugh!

Where did you miss the mark this year? Write it down. Actually make a list.

Now, with a thorough, and perhaps painful, assessment completed, I would suggest you decide what you’ll do differently in 2014.

I talked with the guys in my leadership development group a couple of weeks ago about what they were going to do differently next year regarding their plans. Here  are some ideas that surfaced. Maybe this list will stimulate your thinking as much as the conversation did mine.

  • Fewer activities in the plan
  • Better linkage to my life plan
  • Permission to call an audible during the year
  • More frequent review of the plan – some are considering a daily review
  • Different accountability mechanisms

Here’s an idea I’m going to try for 2014 – I’m going to shorten my year. The idea came from Brian Moran who wrote a book entitled, The 12 Week Year. It’s a very intriguing idea. Brian promises more focus, more urgency, more fulfillment, a more dynamic process and better results. I’m going to give it a try. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Here’s the bottom line…

Your capacity to grow determines your capacity to lead.

A personal plan is a tool to help us grow. It doesn’t have to meet anyone else’s standards or fit anyone else’s template.

The final exam on 2014 will be 13 months from now, and it will have very few questions. One of them will be: How did you grow in 2014?[GLS_Shield]

Author: Mark Miller

Mark is a business leader, author, communicator, photographer, husband, and father. He spends his time helping leaders grow.