Book: 2013 Create Your Incredible Year: Life Edition by Leonie Dawson
Genre: Self help
Publisher: Published by the author: 2013 Create Your Incredible Year
Publication date: 2013
Pages: 72 + planning calendar
Source: pdf file from author’s website: 2013 Create Your Incredible Year
Summary: 2013 Create Your Incredible Year is a brightly-colored e-book combining art and words, many hand-lettered, that encourage the reader to create a vision for 2013. The process begins with a Closing Ceremony for 2012 that helps ground everything in current reality while opening up possibilities for the future. The Closing Ceremony pages are decorated in calming blues to set a tone for beginning the deep thinking that a vision for a whole year requires. The Closing Ceremony ended with a Completion Circle page that made me feel a little silly (but I did it anyway and it didn’t cause any harm to my dignity as far as I can tell).
The 2013 section begins with a question Are You Ready? When I was ready to check next to the big Yes rather than the little no, I was greeted with a couple of different ways of thinking about 2013: a series of open-ended questions and an invitation to write a 100 things I want to do.
Then came tools of various kinds — my favorite was the list I made of ways to de-suckify when things go wrong. It reminded me of a technique that I just read about in The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg (it’s not too late to join our group read: The Power of Habit — A New Year Group Read) — it’s one thing to keep a new habit when things are going well but you need a real plan to keep at it when they aren’t.
All of that felt like a good warm-up for the main event — setting goals in several categories for 2013. After setting goals, the book presented methods for increasing the staying power of the vision — a To Do List book which is a kind of journal and log with actionable items popping out when the time is right, a dream board, a list of habits that it would be helpful to develop in order to achieve the vision, a pie chart comparing how I currently spend my time with how I want to spend my time, a word for the year, and much more. A separate, but included, calendar provides colorful pages for mapping the vision into real time.
A note near the beginning encourages the reader to engage with exercises that look interesting and meaningful, ignore ones that don’t. I did nearly everything but felt good about the things I chose to skip for now. A dream board felt messy and tangential when I got to that section, so I didn’t do it. Maybe I’ll come back to that later.
Thoughts: Working with 2013 Create Your Incredible Year turned into a complex and intense process for me that went on for several days. As my vision became more clear I wanted to revamp my processes for time and task management to handle it. I’ve been using some web-based software called GoalsOnTrack that is useful for getting me to put time into my tasks and not get distracted, but moving from messy, colorful, glorious pages of vision to organized goals and task lists took some doing.
I kept Leonie Dawson’s concept of the To Do List book because that was something I had been missing with GoalsOnTrack — a place to think in a free-flowing format. I initially implemented my To Do List book in an old composition book I found in my abundantly-supplied office closet, but I later decided that I preferred loose-leaf pages so now it’s in the same 3-ring binder as the pages that I printed from 2013 Create Your Incredible Year.
I bought the Business Edition of Create Your Incredible Year as well (there’s a discount for buying both together) but didn’t find that as useful right now. My business is more dream than reality, but if I carry through with all the plans I made in the last week, by next year the 2014 version of the Business Edition Create Your Incredible Year may be just what I need.
Appeal: If you’re easily annoyed by sparkling sequins, gushing enthusiasm, and references to women as goddesses, especially during an important process like planning a year, then this won’t be the book for you. But I encourage an open mind. Planning for the future is helpful and one of my favorite things to do, but it’s foolhardy to believe that a solemn process will lead to a steady and well-ordered year. A card by one of my other favorite word-and-picture artists, Mary Engelbreit, says “Life’s too Mysterious…Don’t Take it Serious!”
I learned about 2013 Create Your Incredible Year from Kim of I’m Not the Nanny: 2012 Rocked! Now Let’s Make 2013 Incredible! As I mentioned in my sign up post for the New Year’s Resolution Reading Challenge, I’ve been curious about Leonie Dawson’s annual workbooks since Kim mentioned she used it last January. Kim is convinced that the workbook helped her have a good 2012, so I wanted that experience for 2013. Kim has an affiliate link — I encourage you to buy 2013 Create Your Incredible Year from her post.
Challenges: 2013 Create Your Incredible Year is the first of four books I intend to read this month as part of my New Year’s Resolution Reading Challenge. There’s still time to join!
Do you go through a process to plan the new year? What tools do you use?