One of my favorite quotes is, “Energy flows, where the attention goes.” Meaning, what we put our attention and focus on, grows and amplifies. Sounds simple, right? But it’s not and here’s why.

We are a multitasking, striving to DO more, seeking productivity and efficiency to get ahead kind of society. We want to get immediate results to feel accomplished. We “should” ourselves by saying that we should be farther ahead in our careers or more successful in our lives. We compare and measure and judge ourselves every day. That is a harsh reality to endure for any length of time, and it needs to stop.

Believe me, I know, because it happens to me too from time to time. Although now, I can recognize when it’s happening and know what to do about it. It’s when I start to feel stress, a tightness in my shoulders and back, a sense of unease in my gut or chest, and the language rolling around in my head is a dead giveaway of the pattern I’m in. Things like, “You should be farther ahead.” “They’re getting results, what’s wrong with you?”

So what do you do instead?

Ask yourself what you want instead.

What is it that you’d like to accomplish this year? What area of your life do you really want to make an impact on? 

Here’s where to start. Make a “Will Do” list. And, I mean get out a piece of paper or open a new doc and make a physical list. We get into trouble when we try to keep all of this in our heads so writing it out is the only way to think this through. Write out everything you’d like to accomplish this year.

In your career, it might be a promotion, increased revenues in your business, or finding a mentor. It could be that you are ready to make a bigger impact in your leadership and want to support your team to reach new levels personally and professionally.

In health and fitness, it might be donating some weight back to the Universe. I don’t say lose weight, because what you lose, you look for and sometimes find and I don’t think that’s what you want to have happen! Perhaps get your numbers back in control because you’ve been sacrificing your health for your work.

Maybe you are seeking more meaning in your life and are craving a stronger connection to God, Source, or whatever you label that which you believe. Perhaps you’d like to start meditating, practicing yoga, or Chi Gong, all spiritual practices.

Do you want to put some boundaries around family time or with your spouse, or both? It could be that working from home has blurred those boundaries and these relationships have suffered a bit.

So think about these and make your list. Write out WHAT you’d like to accomplish this year and WHY you’d like to do so.

Now, don’t stop there. As highly accomplished women a list like that says “game on!” and that’s a recipe for stress. The “we are responsible for everything and everyone” thinking gets us into trouble, instead, let’s take a deeper dive into what is calling you this year.

Take your list and prioritize it.

Compare one item only to another single item on the list, so that it is only ever a decision between two things. Whatever one wins goes on to compare against the next one until you find #1, and then you start at the beginning to do it all over again to find #2, and so on. So, whatever item is most meaningful to you should be in the #1 slot, next most meaningful in the #2 slot, etc.

Pick no more than 3 to focus on for the year.

Why? First, we can’t focus on everything and make an impact. That’s a lie we’ve been telling ourselves for far too long. Second, to make a significant impact you need an extreme sliver of focus; that’s what gets us into momentum. Also, 3 is doable. It’s a friendly number and not too overwhelming.

Finally, add a little fun to your “Will Do” list.

What would be really cool if you did this year? A trip somewhere, a new skill, a new hobby, a new relationship, a new way of doing something, a new way of being. Think outside the box, but keep it real. Consider this the dollop of whipped cream on your impactful year!