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How to start your year with the PPF analysis

In the beginning of every year, for sure you think about what you should do different this time so you can start your year properly. After all, you want things to be better.

Moreover, you know you need to do things differently because, most time, your new years plan stops after a few days.

Among the most common plans for the beginning of the year are:

  • You think about going to the gym and after a few days (maximum a few weeks) you suddenly realize your life is too busy to keep going to the gym.
  • You think about quitting smoking and the first time something doesn’t work as expected, you get a cigarette and smoke it, so you can calm down.

Maybe you start your year with a fantastic desire of changing your habits. You either want to add new and better ones or remove some old toxic ones. But the required effort is so big that when you have to be disciplined, you realized it was better before. And even if you cough once every minute and your belly is bigger than you wanted, it still feels better compared to the effort that you have to make to become disciplined.

Therefore, how do you properly start your year?

How do you make sure that the things you want to do this year aren’t simple thoughts that you forget after a few days?

How do you end up not wasting your time with activities that don’t make any sense (for example, social media) and invest that time in the things that you want to do?

  • How to start your year with the PPF analysis
  • PPF Analysis: PAST
  • PPF Analysis: PRESENT
  • What do you do?
  • What do you like to do?
  • Your values, what you do, and what you like doing
  • PPF Analysis: FUTURE
  • What strategies do you have?
  • Where do you experiment?
  • Two tools that will help you not waste time when you want to start your year properly
  • A specific list of things to do so you can start your year properly

How to start your year with the PPF analysis

To make things clear and to be sure we are on the same page, PPF means Past – Present – Future. In this article I will show you why it’s important to have a PPF analysis so you can properly start your year.

In short, we’ll talk about where you were this time last year, where you are right now, and where you’ll be this time next year. It will provide you a lot of clarity, and the purpose of having clarity is to fuel your WHY and consolidate it, so you keep doing the things that you want to do, even when they become more complex and difficult than you expected.

Therefore, let’s start.

PPF Analysis: PAST

When you think about your past, your mind can go sideways, which is why I’d like to offer you some guidance.

When it comes to your past, I mean the year that just passed.

If you read this article in January 2024, then I’m referring to January 2023 and the time interval from January 2023 and January 2024.

At the same time, I want you to be conscious that you can’t change the past (you really can’t) and the healthiest thing you can do is to accept it. The acceptance of your past connected to the awareness of the present moment will help you feel grateful in the present moment for the things you have right now, even though the past wasn’t the greatest.

Considering you can’t change the past, the only practical part of the PPF analysis for your past is related to a few questions that you’ll have to answer.

Therefore, take a piece of paper and a pen, and answer the next questions by writing the answers down.

Remember how you were in the last 12 months. Close your eyes for 30 seconds to 3 minutes and think about it. Remember what you did, what you worked, where you were, and with whom. Think about how you felt and try to remember some important events from the last 12 months. Then think about how you behaved.

Questions:

  • What are five things that you’ve found at your past version with which you are still not satisfied?

Example: last year you were without a stable job and the situation is the same.

  • What are five things that you’ve found at your past version with which you are not satisfied and aren’t part of your life anymore?

Example: last year you were in a toxic relationship and meanwhile you had the courage to get out of it.

  • What are five things that you’ve found at your past version with which you are satisfied and aren’t part of your life anymore?

Example: last year you managed to not eat junk food for almost 4 months but recently you started eating junk food again.

  • What are five things that you’ve found at your past version with which you are satisfied and are still part of your life?

Example: last year you managed to expose your paintings in a public restaurant and since then you keep doing it, and next month you plan on doing it again.

I have prepared for you a TEMPLATE to make the analysis easier for you. All you have to do is to click the below button.

These 4 questions have the purpose of helping you create an image of the way your life was last year and compare it with how your life is right now. The comparison of the person you are right now with the person you were yesterday (or last year) is the healthiest comparison* you can make. Therefore, allocate time and effort because it will help you understand yourself.

*it’s the healthiest comparison because most people usually compare themselves with others, not with their past version

Considering that things have changed and we’ve mentioned the two important elements of your transition (PAST and PRESENT), it’s important to be conscious of your transition so you can start your year properly.

Keep in mind the two elements (PAST and PRESENT) and think about the road that you walked on for the last 12 months in order to reach the present moment. Close your eyes for 30-60 seconds (maximum 3 mins) and think about it. Remember the decisions you take and how those decisions influenced your life. Think about the quality of your decisions and if your decisions were influenced. Try to remember how you ended up taking those decisions and ask yourself what would have happened if you didn’t make them.

Questions:

  • Considering every month of the past year, what are the decisions (think about 1 to 3 decisions for each month) that were important?

Example: in January I started running again, in February I started reading about bitcoin, in March I started learning more about finances and invested in some stocks, and so on.

  • For all these decisions, write down the expectations that you had.

Example: in January I started running and set myself to finish a half-marathon.

  • For each decision and expectation previously mentioned, write the results that you actually had. In case you had no results, mention why.

Example: in January I started running and set myself to finish a half-marathon, and did it after 5 months of training.

Example: in March I started investing in some stocks, did it three times in three different months, and then (in the fourth month) I stopped because I lost my focus, but I don’t know what caused that.

  • Have a look at the decisions that you made and the way these decisions affected the past 12 months of your life. If you could adjust one simple thing, what would that be?

IMPORTANT: Try not to think of a single decision, but about the big picture and identify the decision that influenced (directly or not) the rest of your decisions. Start from there and identify one thing that you’d like to adjust.

PPF Analysis: PRESENT

When it comes to the present moment, I want you to have in mind that this moment is about you and only you. The present moment I’m talking about is related only to you and is directly connected to the way you start your year.

Therefore, I want you to look at this present moment as a present moment of yours. A present moment when you focus only on yourself and remove anything else from the big picture. Try not to think about you and your family or you and your friends. In this part of the PPF analysis, we only talk about you.

The present moment is all about who you are. It’s not about who you were or who you will become, but about who you are. This is why we will start with those things that are part of you and are important to you: your values.

Below you’ll find a list with over 80 values. Take a few minutes and read it. Don’t rush.

1. Family2. Honesty3. Courage
4. Freedom5. Adventure6. Balance
7. Security8. Kindness9. Compassion
10. Loyalty11. Teamwork12. Fitness
13. Intelligence14. Career15. Professionalism
16. Connection17. Communication18. Relationships
19. Creativity20. Learning21. Knowledge
22. Humanity23. Excellence24. Patience
25. Success26. Innovation27. Change
28. Respect29. Quality30. Prosperity
31. Invention32. Commonality33. Welfare
34. Diversity35. Contribution36. Finance
37. Generosity38. Entertainment39. Endurance
40. Love41. Wealth42. Facilitation
43. Openness44. Speed45. Efficiency
46. Religion47. Power48. Fun
49. Order50. Affection51. Fame
52. Progress53. Cooperation54. Justice
55. Respect56. Love for career57. Appreciation
58. Joy59. Friendship60. Goodwill
61. Forgiveness62. Encouragement63. Intuition
64. Enthusiasm65. Clarity66. Second chance
67. Change68. Involvement69. Charisma
70. Self-respect71. Inspiration72. Humor
73. Abundance74. Faith75. Leadership
76. Reciprocity77. Wisdom78. Beauty
78. Home80. Entrepreneurship81. Care
82. Happiness83. Personal development84. Thanksgiving
85. Harmony86. Peace87. Optimism

From the entire list, pick 10 values that you have in your life. From those 10, mention the most important three.

Here’s my example. I’ve bolded and underlined the most important ones.

  1. Freedom
  2. Intelligence
  3. Professionalism
  4. Connection
  5. Communication
  6. Creativity
  7. Learning
  8. Optimism
  9. Change
  10. Personal development

It’s important to know your values.

Once you have the list ready, you can move on. We’ll speak about the things that you do and the things that you like to do so we make sure you start your year properly.

Fun Fact: 0 More Years

Did you know that on average, optimists live about 7.5 years longer than pessimists?

What do you do?

Professionally speaking, at your job and beyond it, what do you do? What are the things that you are getting paid to do? What are the things that you look at with a business mindset?

Take 30 seconds to 3 minutes before writing things down and think about the things you did in the last 3 to 14 days.

Why such a period? Because we assume that the things you do in such a short period and provide money are repetitive things, that are also happening beyond the suggested time frame.

In my case, in this period I do the following:

  • Have coaching sessions;
  • Develop marketing strategies and implement them;
  • Check the stock market and invest in the directions that I consider to be beneficial for my future self.

What do you like to do?

Besides your professional life, what are the things that you enjoy doing? What interests and passions do you have? What are the things that relax you and make you feel great?

We’ll continue with the path previously suggested, therefore take 30 seconds to 3 minutes before you start writing and think about the things that you liked to do in the last 3 to 14 days.

In my case, in this period I like doing the following:

  • Help people improve their lifestyle;
  • Travel and reach new places or travel to places I’ve been before;
  • Spend time with people I care about;
  • Write and read;
  • Listen to music and dance.

As you notice, I’ve kept it simple.

Considering that your values, the things that you do, and the things that you like doing will be interconnected, you don’t have to go into details. But, if you want, you can describe more the things that you do and the things that you like doing.

Since you’re still reading, why don’t you download the template for the PPF Analysis? It will make your job easier!

Click here to get the template 💥 It’s free!

Your values, what you do, and what you like doing

For a second, think about your past and the decisions you made in your past. Remember (or read again) what you wrote at the PAST part of your analysis. Then read again what you wrote at the PRESENT part of your analysis.

Take notice of your values and become conscious of the things that you do and those that you like doing.

After you do all these things, reflect on how you can start your year with more clarity.

If you look at your PRESENT, do you notice any connection between the three elements (your values, what you do, what you like doing) of your present moment?

In my case, I work remotely and that has a lot to do with my freedom (which is an important value of mine). If I want to travel, I can still do my tasks. More than that, my work is about people, so both the coaching sessions and the marketing strategies are connected to another important value of mine: connection. And last, the innovation part has to do with how I am developing my own products and services and the way I don’t let myself influenced by trends.

In your case, do the three elements have things in common? If yes, congrats! If not, don’t worry. Eventually, it will happen. I’ve worked for years to connect the three elements and keep working on making sure they stay the same.

Before moving on to the last part of our analysis, I have one more question to help you start your year properly.

Now that you understood how well the three elements of your present are connected, think about your past and the decisions you made in the last 12 months and ask yourself: How much of these decisions helped you connect the three elements?

PPF Analysis: FUTURE

Just like thinking about the past, when you think about the future, your mind can go sideways. Therefore, I’d like to guide you a bit.

By talking about the future, I’m referring to the next 12 months of your life. Therefore, if you read this article in January 2024, then by future I mean the time interval between January 2024 and January 2025.

In short, the future is about the person you want to become and it’s about these two directions: strategies and experiments.

What strategies do you have?

Think about your goals and the things that you want in the next 12 months. But more than that, think about your relationships, career, and passions.

For all these things, do you have a strategy?

How do you make sure that your goals are reached? What are the efforts that you have to do to keep your relationships healthy? What are the actions that will help you advance in your career? How do you use your passions to enjoy your life?

Where do you experiment?

Maybe things are clear to you. Maybe when you read all the previous questions (those from strategies) it was clear to you what you have to do.

Having experiments is great, no matter if you have clarity or not.

  • In case you have clarity, experimenting helps you discover things beyond your limits.
  • In case you don’t have clarity, experimenting helps you generate clarity and choose a direction.

When it comes to strategy and experiments, please understand that these are personal. For this reason, I won’t tell you how your strategies and experiments should look like. Instead, I’ll give you an example about writing.

I started writing in 2009 and until now I wrote all kinds of things. For me, the clarity that I have while I’m writing is more profound compared to other activities. When it comes to writing, my limits and frameworks are really clear to me. Therefore, these limits and frameworks help me generate strategies. For example, for writing the article that you’re reading right now, which is longer than 3000 words, I started with an idea (what I’d like to share with you) and I developed a structure (the way my idea could be communicated to you). And then, I started writing.

When the strategies are clear, experimenting means doing those things that have nothing to do with the strategies. For example, I have moments when I start writing without having any idea about what I want to write. Or I start from a very clear idea and, when I reach its half, I force myself to start the next sentence with specific words.

As I’ve mentioned, strategies and experiments are personal and I’m not going to suggest anything. Instead, in time, I noticed that the main obstacle most people have when it comes to experimenting or becoming practical about their strategies is procrastination. Therefore, I’m going to give you two tools that will help you not waste time when you want to start your year properly.

Two tools that will help you not waste time when you want to start your year properly

These two tools are really simple and I promise I’ll keep things short. For the second one, I’ll leave you with two articles I wrote, in case you want to read more about it.

The first one. Start your day with three tasks that you don’t like

We all have tasks that we don’t like to do. There’s no exception. You’re not an exception – I’m not an exception.

In 2017, when I was searching for habits to add to my lifestyle, I discovered this: start your day with three things that you don’t like.

The reason behind it is that when you start your day, compared to the moment you end your day, you have a lot of energy and you’ll feel like doing your tasks. Therefore, you’ll have higher chances to do the things you don’t like.

It worked for me and it worked so when that, in time, I learned to look different at the tasks that I don’t like. Even though there are things that I have to do and I don’t like, I learned how to be enthusiastic about them.

The second one. Use the Seinfeld Calendar

In the same period I was looking for new habits, I found the Seinfeld Calendar.

In sort, Jerry Seinfeld (the notorious comedian) developed this calendar to make sure he writes every day. It requires you to have in front of you a calendar with a square for every day and to set yourself an activity for every day. The activity can be repeated for a week, a month, or a year.

For example, starting on the 15th of December 2021, I set myself to stop drinking Coca-Cola and to do it every day. Then, at the end of every day, I put a big fat X in the square of that day.

The purpose of the Seinfeld Calendar is to have a chain of Xs, without breaking the chain.

Read more about the Seinfeld Calendar:

A specific list of things to do so you can start your year properly

We talked about PAST, PRESENT, and FUTURE and, in case you answered by writing the previously provided questions, then you should have more clarity regarding the new year. Without that clarity, it will be hard for you to start your year properly.

Because I found clarity really important, I made a list of things to help you have a great year. You’ll find the main categories with a few recommendations. But you’ll have to create the specific elements in your list by yourself.

  • Education

Considering that the things you want (success, money, fame, etc) are just the results of what you are, investing in your education is more than important.

What are the things that you want to learn this year?
1. ___________
2. ___________
3. ___________
4. ___________
5. ___________

My recommendations: learn about neuroscience, history, psychology, learn about yourself and discover yourself.

  • Behavior and habits

Your behaviors are helping you develop your habits, and with the help of discipline, your habits will determine the quality of the life that you live.

What are the behaviors and habits that you’ll integrate into your lifestyle this year?
1. ___________
2. ___________
3. ___________
4. ___________
5. ___________

My recommendations: learn to say ‘thank you’ and smile when you say it, to make small compliments to those around you, to detach yourself from negative emotions.

  • Finances

The way you manage your money and save money are two vital aspects of the life you live.

What are the things that you’ll learn this year that will help you better manage and save money?
1. ___________
2. ___________
3. ___________
4. ___________
5. ___________

My recommendations: learn about bitcoin and cryptocurrency, and about the stock market.

  • Relationships and people

We are social animals and, whether you agree or not, our well-being depends on the interactions we constantly have with those around us.

What are the things that you’ll do this year to have better relationships in your life?
1. ___________
2. ___________
3. ___________
4. ___________
5. ___________

My recommendations: learn to appreciate those around you, to be patient, and to communicate.

  • Career

No matter whether you are an employee, a freelancer, or an entrepreneur, you are in a situation where your actions generate money.

What are the things that you’ll learn this year to make sure you keep growing professionally or to change the trajectory of your career?
1. ___________
2. ___________
3. ___________
4. ___________
5. ___________

My recommendations: learn a new skill, learn to negotiate your salary or contracts, learn how to find a better job.

How are you going to start your year to make sure you don’t give up on your plans after a few days or weeks?

With love and optimism,
David

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