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The ‘epic year’ approach

Design your year by planning at least four life-changing leaps.

What do you remember from a specific year in your life?

When it comes down to what we remember from past years of our lives, we tend to remember things that were out of the ordinary. If I ask you to remember a specific year, say 2010, and then I ask you to list some of the good things you remember, what would you recall?

Most of us will remember things like:

  • Having children or marrying someone.
  • Quitting a job or starting a new one.
  • Moving from somewhere to somewhere else.
  • Reaching an important personal milestone, like finishing a marathon.
  • Starting a new company.
  • Being awarded or rewarded for a specific accomplishment.
  • Taking an amazing trip somewhere.
  • Finishing an education or earning a diploma.
  • Meeting someone or doing something for the first time.

And so on.

Besides from being positive and memorable, what these types of events often have in common is that they seem to propel our lives forward in leaps. Now, how many such leaps must one take to feel that your life is moving forward? Well, the magic number for me seemed to be four; if I in one year had experienced four leap events, that year felt monumental afterwards. In 2010, I married wifey on a Caribbean beach, I made the decision to focus 100% on digital strategy, I moved to New York, and I got a studio apartment in the Financial District on Manhattan. In my life, those were four major leaps — and a life-changing year.

In 2013, by contrast, I can remember quitting my job and starting a freelance business. That’s two big leaps for sure, but honestly, I can’t really remember anything else but hard work from that year. In retrospect, 2013 doesn’t stand out in my memory as an epic year.

Now, I’m sure that marrying someone new each year would be very memorable, or having a new kid every year, or closing your old business and starting anew on a yearly basis. But there are plenty of such leaps that won’t require divorce, procreation, or jumping ship prematurely. Like losing a lot of weight and hitting your target weight. Or, crushing a major professional milestone. Or, doing something that you’ve been afraid of doing your entire life. Or, experiencing something extraordinary for the very first time.

It could also be epic events for family and friends where you have made significant contributions. Like, teaching your kid to code or ride a bike.

Doing or experiencing something that you will remember for the rest of your life four times a year, once every quarter on average, is quite a tall order.

I like to call such years “epic years”. Achieving four major leaps each year isn’t easy (nor should it be), but I’ve found such a yardstick to be useful and fun. Maybe you’ll try and go for your own epic year, too?

Photo by Johannes Hohls on Unsplash.

Avatar of Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwer aka Doctor Spin is an awarded senior adviser specialising in public relations and digital strategy. Based in Stockholm, Sweden.

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