A Simple Way To Keep Your New Year Priorities In Focus

The Power Of Setting New Year Priorities by business consultant and former CEO, Denyse Whillier | Built To Succeed

It’s no secret that I love working. I spend a lot of time working on my business, talking about business and reading about business. If I'm not careful, my business can become all-consuming, leading to exhaustion, feeling uninspired and even burnout. If I'm to achieve everything I'd like with my business, it's essential for me to keep my priorities in balance.

There's great power in setting your goals and priorities for the New Year. I believe that by setting clear priorities, you’re directing your focus toward making them a reality. In return, this focus starts a movement of energy which, if you give it the attention it deserves, will grow and reward you with results. 

I find the best way of keeping my priorities for the year in sharp focus is to have 3-4 keywords that encapsulate my intentions for the year. Anything too long or complicated I'm likely to forget! 

Let me explain what I mean. In 2019, the four keywords around which I intend to measure all my activities are:

  1. Margin

  2. Money

  3. Memories

  4. Muses.

Here's what I mean by each of these.

1. Margin

I wound up 2018 exhausted, partly due to low iron levels and partly because I didn't rest enough (a perennial problem). That's why this year I've made creating margin my number one priority so that I give myself the time and space I need to rest, relax and recuperate.

Margin, which in my mind equates to space, is an essential component of inspired work. With insufficient space, you can end up careening madly from one thing to the next, with no time to reflect, to assess, to evaluate or innovate. I believe that by prioritising margin in the form of phsical, mental and emotional space, not only will I revitalise my depleted energy levels, but I'll also be more creative and productive.

Here are some ways I'm intending to increase the amount of margin in my life:

  • Take a minimum of 30 days holiday a year, in addition to bank holidays. I have holiday dates planned out for 2019 and recorded in my diary. After all, what sort of boss doesn't reward their employees with good terms and conditions.

  • Work on my monthly reviews at home because I feel like I have more thinking space here, rather than in the office. Each month, I spend a day review my results and planning in detail my activities for the quarter ahead.

  • Make "Writing Mondays" to work from home on content for my website a regular fortnightly event in my calendar. You'll see there's a theme here: I love working from home.

2. Money

While maintaining a healthy cash flow and running a profitable business is a high priority when I'm working with my business consulting clients, I'm not particularly money orientated myself. I've noticed that I've become less so since I started running my own business and no longer work to live.

One of my business aims is to help more businesses to scale up. (Scale-ups are those companies which have increased their turnover and/or employee numbers annually by more than 20%) over a three-year period). I turned around and scaled a business as a CEO so I understand exactly what it takes (One of the reasons I've made margin such a high priority this year). To scale, you also need a safe level of capital reserves. My aim this year is to build up up the reserves I will need to scale my own business safely and responsibly. Hence making money a high priority this year.

3. Memories

As I said above, I love working, and left to my own devices could easily over-do it. The downside of over-working is you end up not setting aside the time to plan and create memories. 

In 2018, I loved planning days out to visit market towns in Sussex, and the occasional day trip further afield. Visiting Highclere, where Downton Abbey was filmed was a major highlight. But I also enjoyed simpler pleasures like seeing all the hellebores and snowdrops at Highdown Gardens. This year, my aim is to be far more intentional about creating memories, whether that's spending the day at the Chelsea Flower Show, a day trip to Winchester or a picnic on the beach with friends.

A Lady In London is my go-to resource when planning day trips.

4. Muses

Knowing your audience intimately is key to running a thriving business.  I've spent a lot of time thinking about who I want to serve through my business, and revamped this website to make it more valuable and hopefully appealing to my muses, purpose-led entrepreneurs.

My intention this year is to take the time to get to know and understand the motivations, desires and fears of my ideal customers - my muses - at a far deeper level. For me, researching and writing articles is a fun, effective and enjoyable way to get to do so. 

I'm looking forward to creating content for my muses in 2019, and eagerly awaiting your feedback so that I can tailor it more and more to helping you to realise your business goals.

Whenever I'm torn now as to what to prioritise, I have these four words whirring in my mind to guide me in my decision making. 

  • How will this activity affect my margin?

  • Will this activity serve my money goals?

  • Will this activity create uplifting and inspiring memories?

  • Does this activity deepen my understanding of, and serve, my customer muses?

I find having these few simple keywords super helpful for setting my intentions for the year. I hope you find them helpful too?


I’d love to know your thoughts! How are you approaching your priorities this year? I love reading your feedback so please do take a moment to tell me in the comments box below.


Did you miss?

If it's your first time here, you may also want to check out the resources I've curated to help you grow your business. These include some of my most popular content.


To start a conversation about whether we’re a good fit to work together:

  • Check out my Services page where you’ll find details of my business consulting executive coaching and marketing services.

  • Book a consultation appointment, or if the times I’ve given don’t work for you, e-mail me to arrange a coffee chat wherever suits you best – your office, my office, Hotel du Vin or virtually.