Make 2011 The Year of YOU: 49 Days of Preparation

“You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”~ Buddha

I was working with a coaching client the other day who wants to make some really profound and positive changes– changes that could dramatically improve the quality of her life. We were discussing some specific ideas for implementing those changes, but she kept coming back to the other people in her life. She was throwing roadblocks in her own path as she detailed how these changes might cause problems for those close to her.

Like many people, my client aims to please. She is high-achieving and talented, but she has given her power away because of a nearly life-long self perception that doesn't match her amazing gifts. Her view of herself has crippled growth in some areas of her life. Fortunately, she has awakened to this truth and is doing something about it. She hired me to partner with her through the process.

As she was detailing all of the ways these changes might impact friends and family and her discomfort with that notion, I threw out a challenge — one that resulted in dead silence for nearly a minute.

I suggested, “What if you make 2011 the year of you.”

  • What if you take a sabbatical from pleasing others, worrying about what they might think or how they might react?
  • What if you put your own well-being, health, and happiness first and foremost for the next year?
  • What if you communicated to your dear ones that you need their support and encouragement as you focus on a major period of growth and transition for yourself?

This idea stunned her and triggered a few tears. I could almost hear the wheels turning in her brain. For someone so used to tending to other people's needs and weighing self-worth against their opinions, this was a bold shift in thinking. And believe me, I've been there myself. Just yesterday in fact, when my friend Katie Tallo of Momentum Gathering had to remind me to say no to people I need to please. Katie keeps me straight.

Are you at a point where you need to make some substantial positive change? Do you need more than just a tune-up — maybe some extensive body work and a mental overhaul? If so, I'd like to throw out the challenge to you.

Will you make 2011 the year of you?

Sometimes when you focus on yourself and make changes for the better, you risk offending or inconveniencing others. It requires some finesse, strong boundaries, and a thick skin to cope with the discomfort of upsetting the apple cart.

It might seem daunting, but you have 49 days to prepare if you start today. There are things you can do to set yourself up for success and win the support and understanding of the people you care about.

Here are some ideas:

Week 1

Day 1. Roll this idea around in your brain. How does it feel? Can you put yourself first this year? Get yourself a notebook for brainstorming and planning.

Day 2. Start thinking about the big changes and goals you've been putting off or dismissing. Write them down.

Day 3. Imagine yourself having made those changes and achieved those goals. How does it feel? How is your life different? Write down those feelings and life improvements.

Day 4. Write a 2012 vision for yourself. Assume you have spent 2011 evolving into a new person and achieving great things. Who is this new you? What are you doing? How do you look? How is your health? Where do you live? How are your relationships? What have you accomplished?

Day 5. Read over your goals/changes, your feelings about them, and your vision for 2012. Spend ten minutes visualizing this new person, immersing yourself in the feelings of success and happiness.

Day 6. Call one supportive friend or family member and let them know you are planning to make some big changes for 2011. Don't give to much information. Just plant the seed. Now you have committed yourself publicly to one person.

Day 7. Rest. Read this inspirational article.

Week 2

Day 8. Pick one goal or change from your list. In your notebook, write down every action that you can think of that will be required of you to make it happen.

Day 9. Pick another goal or change and repeat the steps above.

Day 10. Pick one more goal or change and repeat the steps above.

Day 11. Pick your final goal or change and repeat the steps. For now, stop at four goals or major changes. (These could be addressed quarterly during 2011 if you wish.)

Day 12. Review the goals and lists of actions. Refine or add to the lists if you think of more actions.

Day 13. Review your goals/changes, your feelings about them, and your vision for 2012. Spend ten minutes visualizing this new person, immersing yourself in the feelings of success and happiness.

Day 14. Rest. Read this inspirational article.

Week 3

Day 15. Review your first goal and list of actions. How will these actions impact those close to you, both positively and negatively? Write these thoughts down in your notebook.

Day 16. Review your second goal and repeat the steps above.

Day 17. Review your third goal, and repeat the steps above.

Day 18. Review your fourth goal, and repeat the steps above.

Day 19. Call one more supportive friend or family member and let them know you are planning to make some big changes for 2011.

Day 20. Review your goals/changes, your feelings about them, and your vision for 2012. Spend ten minutes visualizing this new person, immersing yourself in the feelings of success and happiness.

Day 21. Rest. Read this article on creating boundaries.

Week 4

Day 22. Look at your first goal/change and the list of possible negative consequences or reactions with friends or family. How might you handle their reactions and/or possible fallout? Write your ideas in your notebook.

Day 23. Repeat the steps above for your second goal.

Day 24. Repeat the steps above for your third goal.

Day 25. Repeat the steps above for your fourth goal.

Day 26. Review the possible negative reactions and fallout from all four lists. How do these possible reactions from your loved ones feel to you? Are there any possible consequences that you can't live with? How can you prepare yourself mentally and emotionally for these reactions? Write down your thoughts.

Day 27. Review your goals/changes, your feelings about them, and your vision for 2012. Spend ten minutes visualizing this new person, immersing yourself in the feelings of success and happiness.

Day 28. Rest. Read these articles on handling difficult people and dealing with controlling people.

Week 5

Day 29. Begin the planning process for working on your goals for 2011. Download a copy of my 5-Step Goal-Setting Starter Kit. Also check out Daily Plan-it : The Pursuit of Goals; Make Success Measurable!: A Mindbook-Workbook for Setting Goals and Taking Action; and Goal Setting Forms : Tools to Help You Get Ready, Get Set, & Go for Your Goals! Choose an action plan calendar or worksheet to plot your action steps.

Day 30. Select one of your four goals and review the action steps. Begin plotting the action steps on a your calendar or worksheet. Note: You can begin plotting actions for your second goal at the beginning of March, your third goal at the beginning of June; and your fourth goal at the beginning of September.

Day 31. If you wish to work on more than one goal simultaneously, select another goal and repeat the steps above.

Day 32. Review your action steps for the first quarter of 2011. Make sure you start with small, manageable steps so that you don't overwhelm yourself before you get momentum! Adjust them as necessary.

Day 33. Review your goals/changes, your feelings about them, and your vision for 2012. Spend ten minutes visualizing this new person, immersing yourself in the feelings of success and happiness.

Day 34. Rest. Watch the inspirational video on this page.

Week 6

Day 35. Write all of the people with whom you wish to communicate your goals and changes for this Year of You, including the two you informed earlier. Who will be most impacted by your goals and changes?

Day 36. Review the list of possible negative reactions and fallout from your upcoming changes and the ways you could prepare yourself for these. Write down polite responses to the possible reactions, stressing the importance of these changes for your personal happiness.

Day 37. Begin contacting friends and family (in person is best), to discuss your plans for the Year of You. Ask them for their understanding, support, and encouragement. Ask that they not undermine or sabotage your efforts. Respond politely, but firmly to negative reactions.

Day 38. Continue contacting friends and family. Let many people know about the Year of You so that you feel compelled to follow through.

Day 39. Find two people to serve as accountability buddies with whom you share your specific action steps and who are will to help you stay on track. Better yet, find a good coach who can partner with you through this.

Day 40. Review your goals/changes, your feelings about them, and your vision for 2012. Spend ten minutes visualizing this new person, immersing yourself in the feelings of success and happiness.

Day 41. Rest. Read this article about coaching.

Week 7

Day 42. Review your action steps for the first week of 2011. Make any preparations necessary for accomplishing those tasks.

Day 43. Contact your accountability partners or coach to remind them of the kick-off of The Year of You.

Day 44. Plan a celebration of some kind for the night before you begin the Year of You. Have loved ones with you who are supportive and excited for you.

Day 45. Review your goals/changes, your feelings about them, and your vision for 2012. Spend ten minutes visualizing this new person, immersing yourself in the feelings of success and happiness.

Day 46. Rest.

Day 47. Rest.

Day 48. Review your action steps for the first day of The Year of You. Make any final adjustments or changes.

Day 49. Celebrate the kick-off of The Year of You with family and friends. Get a good night's sleep to begin the first day of your new life tomorrow morning.

In a few weeks, I will launch a course called Discover Your Passion: A Step-by-Step Course for Living the Life of Your Dreams. This extensive, 7-module course can propel you on a journey toward a bold and fearless new life. Please contact me at if you would like to be on the waiting list for the course.

Download a copy of my FREE guide, The Bold Living Guide: 7 Key Ingredients for a Meaningful Life, and receive regular email updates to Live Bold and Bloom.

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Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 36 comments

OMG. I need this but I also need to be positive in my relations with other people, particularly my co-workers. I am so much better with animals. For years, I have been trying to make the next year “the year of the house,” claiming and transforming my home and myself but have never really managed it. Thank you, thank you! Oh, I need to copy this post and keep it available to work on before Jan. 1.
.-= Roberta´s last blog ..Find Lady Bug a Home =-.

    Barrie Davenport

    Hi Roberta,
    I’m so glad you found it useful! Sometimes it is just impossible for everyone to be happy with you when you take care of yourself. It’s hard to live with that ambiguity, but I believe it is necessary for living a complete and healthy life. Please let me know how the process goes for you before Jan. 1.


This is FANTASTIC. So actionable by anyone, at any stage of life or level of need for change or realization of goals and dreams. I’d like to know a lot more about “Discover Your Passion.” I’m there!

    Barrie Davenport

    Hi Nancy,
    I am so glad you found it useful! Thank you for your kind comments. I will put you on the list for the course.

Alex Blackwell

Wow, what an amazing and incredibly powerful blueprint to follow. Thanks for inspiring me Barrie to make 2011 a truly remarkable year – I can’t wait to get started.


    Barrie Davenport

    Thank you Alex! I have a feeling you already have plans to make 2011 remarkable. 🙂

Joe Wilner


Thanks for sharing this amazing knowledge. Following this 50 day plan would certainly lead to serious change and life improvement. I would have to say that there is a tough balance between always begin a giver to others, and being autonomous and doing what we need to do for ourselves. Though, all in all, we must accept we can’t please everyone, and not everyone even wants us to succeed. So, I would have to agree that sometimes we have to set goals and plans to revolve around our personal needs and desires if want to see true impact and substantial change. Thanks!
.-= Joe Wilner´s last blog ..Set Yourself Up For Success in 4 Simple Steps =-.

    Barrie Davenport

    You are right Joe — it is a tough balance. And you certainly don’t want to undertake anything that is going to seriously undermine and important relationship. But if you find yourself holding back something important because you fear what others will think, that’s the time to reassess and be willing to take a little heat.


Barrie, I love the quote you begin this post with about loving yourself. It does really begin there. The boundaries, the desire for change, the ability to say no, and then the commitment to loving yourself for an entire year. Terrific insights and very doable steps for anyone to undertake and sustain. Your blog is so full of valuable resources for bold life change. Wonderful.
.-= Katie´s last blog ..How to Carry Yourself Gently Through Life =-.

Barrie Davenport

Thank you Katie. Now I’ve got to follow my own advice. Glad I have you around to remind me! 🙂

Tess The Bold Life

I love this post. I’m printing it off and putting answers in my journal. Between you Katie and her ebook I’m looking forward to an extraordinary 2011!

I’m not sure how I got so off track but I have. This came at a very good time for me.
.-= Tess The Bold Life´s last blog ..Courage Is A Beautiful Thing =-.

    Barrie Davenport

    Hi Tess,
    I’m so glad it appeared when you needed it! I’d love to hear how it goes for you.


This. is. perfect. Absolutely perfect, and you have no idea how much I needed it!!! Thank you!! I’m starting on it today!
.-= Devon´s last blog ..Well =-.

    Barrie Davenport

    I am so glad Devon! You are so welcome. Please let us know how it goes. 🙂

Ande Waggener

This is a powerful plan, Barrie, and very inspiring. I will admit, though, that for me, it takes a little of the flow out of the process to be this organized about it. But then, in keeping with your theme, being true to me, I need to find a structure/fluidity balance.

About twenty years ago, I painstakingly wrote out a 5 page goal/change plan and I proudly took it to my therapist. She looked at it and said, “Do you know what I think you should do with this?” I said, “What?” And she dropped it in the trash. It was harsh, but I got her point. To an extent, I’d over-planned it. When that happens, and something goes amiss, we tend to get derailed.

Sometimes, taking a few steps and then seeing what they lead to can serve us better.

I’m in no way meaning to diminish your powerful and very well-conceived plan and strategy. I just thought I’d toss out the idea that if it doesn’t fit, we need to be “me” enough to recognize that and act accordingly. That could be one of the goals. 🙂
.-= Ande Waggener´s last blog ..How To Change Your Happiness Programming =-.

    Barrie Davenport

    Hi Ande,
    I agree that staying flexible and open to possibilities should be a part of developing goals and making life changes. Doing some pre-planning, soliciting support, and thinking about potential roadblocks can help prevent some of the things that derail us. I think you are right about a balance between structure and fluidity. Thank you Ande for adding even more to these ideas!

Marley Holbrook

I haven’t read this post yet but I already know that it will be inspirational and keep me motivated on my path of change. I really just wanted to thank you for providing us the information, ideas, and tools for this. I look forward to every email and I appreciate the practical advice that you offer. If I wasn’t a broke single mom I would be emailing you for coaching….soon! Thanks for keeping me thinking about the important things instead of the minutiae.

    Barrie Davenport

    Hi Marley,
    Thank you so much for your kind comments. It makes me feel great to know that I can provide people inspiration to make their lives even incrementally better. What would you want to be coached about? Broke, single or all of the above?!

    Marley Holbrook

    Thanks for the reply, Barrie! My dream is to make money writing and generate income from home, but I feel as if I am stuck working 45 hours a week and don’t have a lot of time after I am done taking care of my daughter and my mom and ME. I want to figure out a way to continue living here (Ketchikan, Alaska) without struggling all of the time financially and how to live a fulfilling, active life. To tell you the truth, I am proud of myself for the things I have accomplished, but I feel as if there is so much that I am missing…and at 36 I feel as if I *should* have accomplished more. I really appreciated this post…it got me thinking about focusing on one goal at a time instead of hitting the wall when I try to change everything overnight.
    .-= Marley Holbrook´s last blog ..The Carpal Tunnel of Love =-.

    Barrie Davenport

    One small goal at a time Marley. Just keep focused on very small, manageable goals. Yes, it will take time, but you have plenty of time to accomplish a whole lot. I started my career over completely at 50! Enjoy the process — it’s usually more fun that the achievement anyway.

John Sherry

What a clarion call Barrie! 49 is going to be the new lucky number. That and 2011 – the year of personal heaven on earth. Our year, every single one of us. Thnak you for lighting the landing strip and showing us how to get there.
.-= John Sherry´s last blog ..Why I Want Love =-.

    Barrie Davenport

    Hi John,
    I am happy to be the light on the landing strip. Just don’t plow me over with your 747! Clarion call — that would make a great blog name!

Christopher Foster

Thanks Barrie. Just a small add-on to your many very interesting ideas and suggestions, and it’s that we ought not forget the enormous potential of this moment we are in right now to let a huge opening occur in our life.

I find more and more that if I’m willing to slow down a bit and be still for a moment, and open my heart to what is REALLY present with me in this moment, there’s all the profundity of happiness and freedom and peace I could wish for.

For me, it simplifies life immensely.
.-= Christopher Foster´s last blog ..A buoyant heart is a happy heart =-.

    Barrie Davenport

    You are so right Christopher. I was re-reading Eckart Tolle’s book, The Power of Now, just last night. He was talking about “living on the razor’s edge of NOW.” I love that — when we are perched on that razor’s edge, everything else falls away past and future. He makes the distinction between one’s life and one’s life situation. We can plan and work toward changing and bettering our life situation. But our lives are perfect right now!


Hi Barrie, have been reading and enjoying your blog for a while and now you’ve really goaded me into action! I love the step-by-step plan and gave you a shout-out to add to the ones you’ve already gotten. I’m going to get going this evening. Love breaking out a new Moleskine and a pen, and thinking about what’s possible…
Hope lots of readers use this to make next year MORE of what they really want!

    Barrie Davenport

    I am so glad you enjoy the blog — thank you so much for your kind words. I would love to hear back from you as you go through the process. I hope you use this time to prepare for an extraordinary 2011!


Barrie I’m new in Your Blog How i Can’t see Your Blog , it’s very Good and Your Post very important for any person so I’m will Take the 49 Day step by step for the new Year 2011

    Barrie Davenport

    Welcome to Live Bold and Bloom. Thank you so much for your kind comments. I’m glad you are going to try the 49 Steps. Please visit again and tell us how you are doing with it.


I found your site while reading another blog.
This is just the sort of information that I need to keep reading. I know that I am a procrastinator and I am trying to alter my mindset so that I can achieve my goals, one of which is to go traveling next year.
Breaking down one’s goals is an excellent way of creating bite size chunks that feel much more achievable.

    Barrie Davenport

    Hi MDC — welcome!
    Yes, bite-sized chunks is the way to go. Don’t make it overwhelming. Just do something small every day and every week. Even the smallest accomplishment moves you forward.


Hi Barrie, Just a few quick thots… I have been reading your Free ebook “Meaningful Life” and it’s really been Amazing! Such great stuff, you really should charge a little something for it, I would have definitely paid for it myself!

Anyways, back to the year 2011, it’s funny, because I love the number “11” and had already told myself a few weeks ago that the year “2011” is going to be the year of ME, not in a selfish way, but in an Empowered way, that will overflow into the lives of those I care for, live with and share my life with. So this was right up my alley! Thx for all the thot you put into it and all the juicy suggestions.
Also, I am a living example of the power of developing a Gratitude Attitude! I moved to my current home about four years ago and to make a long story short, have been miserable ever since. I am in the middle of nowhere, left my family, friends, and everything that I knew and loved. I realize now that I was in pretty deep, although functioning depression.

But at the beginning of this year I knew things had to change! I was in such a deep pit I decided to start REALLY simply began by focusing on what i DID have and NOT what I didn’t have. As I progressed through the days and weeks, I could almost feel my brain changing and I was feeling better and better.

Being more thankful was not the only i did, but it was where I started! Start Simply ~ Find something you are really thankful for and focus on it for the day and then it tomorrow and the next day, it adds up fast.

It really works! I’m proof, and if I can drag myself out of a four-year funk with Thankfulness, SO CAN YOU! Thanks Barrie, for your wise words and encouraging posts. You are making a difference! Kindest Regards, Kristi

    Barrie Davenport

    Hi Kristi,
    Wow — thank you so much for your gracious and kind comments. I am so glad you liked the free guide. Thank you also for sharing your story. Practicing gratitude is a powerful tool for changing your feelings. There is real science behind it. In fact, I just wrote to my readers this morning about a book called The How of Happiness in which the author reveals research supporting the validity of gratitude boosting your happiness. You are living proof of that!


This is so enlightening for me. At first the idea of having a whole year for ME sounds a bit selfish but as I read through I could ‘get’ where you’re coming from. I shall print it off and follow some of the ideas. Can I really have a whole year?

Thanks so much, and to Arvind for pointing me over to your site in his Thanksgiving post.
.-= Linda´s last blog ..How To Be Brutally Honest With Yourself and Still Remain Positive =-.

    Barrie Davenport

    Yes, you can! It is OK to be selfish in a positive way. When you take this time to work on yourself, you will be a better person for all of those around you. I am so glad you came by. I will have to thank Arvind too!


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