Your New Year To Do List | PoP 346

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Your New Year To Do List

Are you ready and excited to get 2019 started? Do you have a defined set of goals for the New Year? What steps will you be taking to reach those goals?

In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks about your New Years to do lists!

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In This Podcast


In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks about your New Years to do lists and the little steps you can take towards achieving your goals.


  • Define your life – what do you like about your life right now and what do you hope really changes?
  • Practice – how does your practice fit into your life?
  • Big idea – what is your big idea that goes beyond your practice?


  • Income – money that comes in in return for good work
  • Innovation – what needs reshaping, bringing things together that already exists but aren’t being done well
  • Influence – who do you want to be listening to
  • Impact – what is the impact you are making on the world

Things to Think Through in this Upcoming Month

  • Money – know where money is coming in and out. You could use Quickbooks
  • Liability – schedule time to meet with your attorney so that you can be sure you are covered
  • Systems – make sure you have things automated
  • Your lifestyle – look at this holistically, are you working out, how healthy are your eating habits

Useful Links:

Meet Joe Sanok

private practice consultant

Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners that are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.

Thanks For Listening!

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Podcast Transcription

[JOE]: Small businesses and private practices across the country love running payroll with Gusto. Why? Because Gusto automatically files and pays your taxes. It’s super easy to use, plus you can add benefits and HR to help take care of your business and your team. But here’s the thing. It’s almost 2019 and switching to a new payroll provider can be tricky. Fortunately, Gusto can help as long as you get in touch now. Try the demo and test it out at You’ll even get three months free when you run the first payroll. That’s This is the Practice of the Practice podcast with Joe Sanok, session number 346. I’m Joe Sanok, your host. Hope you’re doing awesome today. Welcome to the Practice of the Practice podcast. This is one of the most favorite things that I get to do as part of this weird career that I have somehow managed to put together. I’m doing this podcast to explore ideas, go after big things. Honestly, I’m just so excited I get to do this and you know, this being the final episode of 2018, you may be off with your families and maybe you won’t listen to it till 2019 or maybe you won’t discover this till well into the future. But I just want to say thank you. I want to start with that, that when I show up at my office, I have this office that’s not in my house, so, I actually physically go to it to do these recordings and do consulting and all of that. I feel like there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t walk in and say, “Holy cow!” Like, this is freaking amazing that I get to train and help and explore with all these private practice owners, get to come up with ideas and see what sticks. And some of them work, some of them don’t. It’s just really freaking awesome. So, thank you so much. You know, I just turned 40. So, it’s weird to say that because I haven’t yet turned 40 at the time of this recording, but by the time it airs, I’ll have just turned 40 in late December. And it’s an interesting time to be thinking through like, okay, so the first 40 years versus the next 40 versus, you know, maybe there’s going to be another group of 40 after that. What have I achieved? What am I happy about? What do I want to change? And so, I’m kind of entering this year of exploration in a number of different areas. And I’m learning and talking about a lot of new things that I may share with you on the podcast just in my own personal development. And, you know, that whole goal setting thing is kind of funny. You know, this time of year, so many people set goals and then they give up on them by February. But I remember in 2007, it was in the middle of winter, so, I went to the dentist and my dentist said, “You know, your teeth are good, but there’s a couple of things you got to just probably change.” And one of them was, I was drinking coffee that had sugar in it and he said, “It’s like you’re rinsing your mouth with sugar all morning long. Either drink your coffee faster or just cut the sugar out. Just have half and half or something.” And so, I switched right away to just doing half and half. Now I use like whole whipping cream, like the cream, not like whipped cream with the sugar in it. And he also said, “You just got to start flossing more.” And I had heard that before, but I asked him a question that I thought was really kind of unique. I said, “What’s the minimum amount that I could floss?” Like, is it like every day, is it, you know, every other day, kind of get away with every third day, just not because I wanted to know how to floss, but because I knew that the daily flossing I wasn’t going to be able to do. So, 2007, he says, “Okay, if you just floss every other day, that would make such a difference.” And so, at that time, me and Christina were on a really tight budget. We didn’t have kids yet, but she was in graduate school. Our goal was to pay for it as she went and she was a graduate assistant helping with some of the money. I was working at CMH making I think 35 or $40,000 a year. We wanted to pay down my student loans and had all these kind of, you know, frugal, like let’s set ourselves up for success once we have kids so that we have less debt. So, we weren’t spending much money on entertainment or fancy coffees or anything like that. And there was this coffee shop in Kalamazoo that we just love called Water Street Coffee Joint and to buy a fancy, like $6 coffee was a big splurge at the time. And so, we started this floss challenge 2007 and I made this little probably quarter-sized sheet of paper and just said, J for Joe, C for Christina. And then I had 15 dots underneath it, underneath each of those, so kind of two columns. One J with 15 dots, straight down and then C with 15 dots. What we said was if you flossed 15 times in a month, so you just cross it off each time, then you got a gift free. Go buy a fancy cup of coffee. And so, I would often like floss almost daily for 15 days and then either take the month off or not be as serious about it where’s Christina would get to like counting down like, “Oh no, I only have 15 days left. I got to start flossing more.” But it got us in that habit of flossing to just have this little game that we made up, this kind of positive consequence of $6 cup of coffee. And so, today what we’re going to be talking about is your New Year’s to-do list. And to me, it’s more important to take steps in the right direction that you can sustain than it is to make these gigantic announcements of “I’m going to work out every day,” and then give up on it. You know, one year we said, we want to be a little more environmental-friendlier. And so, we started composting and just said, “Let’s just start composting, start recycling a little bit more, really being aware of like what we’re buying,” and those sorts of things. And it’s like those small steps in the right direction for me really work. A lot of the brain research says that some people need to have that like all this kind of like, “I’m making this change.” And my wife Christina has a lot like that. So, she started working out in July with a trainer three days a week, an hour every time, and is killing it. And for me, it’s more of these like micro steps in the right direction. So, maybe you are that full tilt, like you got to have that accountability in that person. So, knowing your personality is really important as you kind of go into this new year with this to-do list. Now, I always start from the idea and this is a great time to think through this, that we want to first define our life and then we can look at our practice and our big ideas. And so, think about your life. Are you happy with where things are at in regards to how much time you have for your kids, how much time you have in the mornings to help them get ready or to pick them up from school? The number of evenings you’re working, the amount of time that you have with your partner, if you have one or for your time with your kids if you have the time, to have time to go after other hobbies or go on vacations. What do you like about your life right now and what do you wish would change? So, I want you to just like sit with that for a little bit. And so, you may have to pause the podcast or if you’re driving, maybe you know, pause it here and just spend a couple of minutes thinking about, “What do I really like about my life right now? And what do I hope really changes?” Because when we start with defining our life, it’s a lot easier to say, “How does that business fit into that? How do our big ideas that we’re going after that maybe aren’t yet making money? How do those fit into it? What can we block out in regards to what are non-negotiables?” So, for me, I know I want to help make dinner most nights. I know I want to be around for my kids most nights. I’m not going to work late unless I talk to my wife. Those are things that we’ve decided. Now for you, you may be in a phase of life where you want to work late a couple of nights a week and you would rather work till 10 but then be there all morning, you know, for your kids or yourself. So, start with how you want your life to look. And then we want to look at your practice. How does your practice fit into that life? What do you need to adjust in your schedule? You may need to go out to February or March and start blocking things out. So, I did that with working out. Like it just wasn’t time in my schedule. So, I started putting that into my schedule more, and you know, hopefully, and start doing it. And then your big idea, you know, most of you have some sort of big idea that goes beyond just doing counseling. I think that’s what’s unique about Practice of the Practice is that we want to encourage you to go after those e-courses, those podcasts, the webinars, the speaking engagements, the books, those things that take the passion of trauma or sexual assault or your passion for helping people deal with child abuse or with couples’ work. You want to take that beyond just your individual sessions. And so, how does that fit into your life? So, once we look at your life, you’re practicing your ideas, you then kind of want to start to think through some of these goals. I remember when I was probably in middle school, my dad would sit me down usually on the first day of the year and we’d set some goals. And he would help me break down the steps for those goals and set some timelines and I didn’t realize that that wasn’t kind of what every parent did. I just thought, “Well that’s what parents do for their kids.” And so, we want to start to think through like what are some of those areas? And we talk frequently with Practice of the Practice are the four I’s; income, innovation, influence, and impact. Now these four, they work together. I mean if you’re creating some influence and you’re connected to the community and you’re innovating, like that’s going to help your bottom line with your finances. Or if you are influential and connecting with other people, you’re probably going to have an impact But really some of our work is more on the side of one of those four. And so, with income, we’re really just looking at the money that comes in in return for good work. That could be passive income through an e-course. It could be active income where you’re showing up for counseling. It could be kind of in between where you have 1099s or W2’s, but that income’s going up based on the work that you’re doing. You know, innovation, I’d say that’s where you’re starting to ask yourself, you know, “What really needs reshaping in my community, in our greater world? What innovation needs to happen?” I’m going to give you some examples in a minute. And then influence, that’s really like, “Who do we want to be listening to what we’re working on? Who do we want to be able to kind of say, “Yeah, I resonate with that.” And then lastly, impact. It’s kind of like what’s the result of our work? What’s the impact on the world? And so, yes, we can do clinical work where we’re making money off, you know, of doing counseling and people come in. But what’s the greater impact? You know, healthier families, things like that. So, if we look at, if you were to zoom in on saying, you know, “I really want to help my bottom line, my income.” You know, you might do more sessions, you might add clinicians to your practice or build clinicians. For me, I think it was about a year and a half ago, I was looking at, “Well, what’s scalable?” What’s something that I can grow that I think will be worth the money but that also isn’t going to just be my time for money? Because one-on-one consulting you can only do so much of that, mastermind groups, you can only do so much of that. So, that’s where Next Level Practice; when we brainstorm as a group within Practice of the Practice to say we could create a community of people that support each other, that we’re creating content for, that are put into small groups. But then, my actual time doesn’t change that much when our cohorts come in. And so, being able to have that be an affordable thing with Next Level Practice. So, that was the income side but then there’s also, of course, the impact and influence and innovation that are part of that. So, innovation, you want to kind of start with what’s a problem that you see and then start linking ideas together? When I was talking at the Illinois Counseling Association for that keynote, I talked about how the origins of Uber, two guys were at a conference in Paris and they couldn’t get a cab and the weather was cloudy. And they were like, “This is ridiculous. We have on-demand video, we have on-demand everything else, but we can’t have on-demand taxis? So, they brought and it became Uber and Lyft was kind of doing something similar at that time. But you see that too, where then people say, “Well, if that works for Uber, what if we did that with –?” you see these things called lions and birds or nests in some of the bigger cities. There are these little motorized scooters. You know, good ideas usually are linking together good ideas and then that becomes a new good idea. It’s not something that’s just like brand-spanking new ones. So, innovation is usually bringing things together that already exist but aren’t being done well. So, for us this year we’ve launched our print magazine, which if you haven’t signed up for a free copy of that, you can over at We’re going to be mailing out a high-quality magazine that we’re having professionally printed. Sam has done an amazing job. We have tons of great articles in it, but there’s just not a good-looking magazine for private practice. You know, there’s a lot of kind of industry magazines for counseling and from national associations, but they usually look pretty junky. And then there’s, you know, kind of pop psychology like Psychology Today which is aimed probably more at our clients and actually private practice. So, for us, that’s what innovation looks like, Killin’It Camp. Another example of that where there’s not a conference that’s just for private practice owners or there are these small conferences like Slow Down School or other things, but nothing that really brings us all together. So, we’re trying it. We want to get people to come to Killin’It Camp out in Estes Park. Now, what about influence? So, for you, that might be that you’re on local radio, you’re writing for the local paper. Maybe you’re going to host a meetup for clinicians or a meetup for podcasters or a meetup for bloggers or business types, people that have service-based industries. That influence locally or nationally or globally can really help you level up your career. But it also then helps you be a part of the change and you’re able to then say, “Hey, I’m really into this.” And if people see you as that leader, as that influencer, it really helps you continue to grow. And so, for us, you know, that’s increasing our options, so obviously numbers, like how many people are on our email list or listens to the podcast? And there’s a certain level of influence that you know, I get to have because you’re, you know, you have me in your ears and in your brain and I get to choose guests that I think are going to help you. Hopefully. I mean that’s my goal. And then lastly, we have impact. And that’s really kind of the results of the hard work that you’re doing. Like what’s the impact? For me, I want to see private practice change, I want to see people be confident, I want them to not fear money, I want them to be successful financially. But I also want them to have a life of meaning. A life that really helps them impact the world and create a world that’s better than they found it. And so, reshaping private practice, that’s our goal here at Practice of the Practice. But for you, that impact might be different. It might be that you want to increase the number of women that feel like they can report if they were sexually assaulted. It might be that you want to help support kids that have been abused. Your impact and what you’re discovering is definitely going to be different than what I’m working on. All right. So, now that we have that kind of general framework of income, innovation, influence, and impact, and you’re kind of sorting through that, “Where do I want different kind of levers to be pulled? Where do I want to focus on?” I want to go through some really kind of quick nuts and bolts. Here are things that this month coming up, you’d need to kind of think through as you enter this new year. So, first, let’s talk about money. You want to know where the money’s coming in and out. Just really simple. You should have a general idea of are you making more each month? What’s the amount of expenses versus income that’s coming in? Have just a basic idea of that. So, you may want to sign up for QuickBooks? We have a link over at that’ll redirect you. You get some sort of discount for doing that. And then we also get a referral thing. I think I get like a month free of QuickBooks or something. Also, if you don’t have an accountant, you should find one. And if you have an accountant, you should probably schedule a time to meet with them sometime in early 2019 so that you can talk about your taxes, make sure there’s nothing else that you need set up, make sure you’re all prepared when it’s time to start filing taxes. Things like if you have a 1099, making sure you get those sent out on time, making sure that you’re engaging with your accountant to have everything done correctly with the money. Next, we want to look at liability. So, schedule a time to meet with your attorney if you haven’t done that in a while, review your forms, review all the areas that you may have some liability. Make sure that your liability coverage covers you if you’re doing consulting, make sure you add that to your liability coverage. I know that when I signed up with HPSO this year there was a snafu where the consulting coverage didn’t get added and they had to kind of rerun my credit card. So, noticing those things, making sure that you are covered in all these areas that you’re working. Next, we want to look at systems. How are things clicking along in your business outside of yourself? In the coming weeks we have Mike Michalowicz who wrote Profit First and then Clockwork. And in that, he said, “If you wanted to take a four-week break, what would you have to do?” And so, actually, this podcast is going live in the middle of my three and a half weeks break that I’m taking. I took time with my family for Christmas and my birthday and when this goes live, we’re getting ready for new year’s and then going to be hanging out on vacation with my wife away from the kids. So, those are things that couldn’t happen if I didn’t have things pretty automated within Practice of the Practice and mental wellness counseling. And so, you want to have those things automated, your electronic health records, maybe hire a virtual assistant. Outsource to Gusto some of your forms or your payroll or those sorts of things. It can really start to automate things for you on a regular basis. Alright, next you want to look at your lifestyle? And I talked about this at the beginning. This is where I’m going to land this plane. How are you doing in regards to your lifestyle? You know, working out wise. You know, I don’t work out as much as I should or my body needs and so, that’s something that I’m going to continue to kind of push it up against. And you know, I’ve done little things like at least twice a week. I do this one seven-minute workout thing online and walk with a friend once a week and then I go curling, which doesn’t sound like a lot of effort, but it actually, you know, actually is. I’m really tired at the end of it because it’s a lot of work walking back up and down the ice and sweeping and curling and all that. But how’s your lifestyle like? You know, how is your eating? Are you curious about things? Are you learning in different areas? Now, not that you need to optimize all this at once because that can be really overwhelming, but just pick one area that you’ll say “Yeah, I’m going to take a couple of clicks in the right direction for my health.” What’s that look like? Maybe it’s an extra 15 minutes of sleep for you. Maybe it’s, you know, turning off electronics half an hour before bed. You know what you need to do. So, as you enter this year, I hope this is your best year you could possibly imagine. I hope you kill it. I hope you get to that next level of your practice. If you’re starting a practice, that’s awesome. Congratulations. That’s a lot of work to get things set up. Hopefully you kind of really start getting some new clients and get growing. You know If you’re in that kind of middle range of growing, if you’re adding clinicians, awesome. Let’s find you some great clinicians that match your brand. And if you’re starting to scale, let’s really take those hats off and make sure that we brutally outsource as much as we can on a regular basis. Thank you so much for letting me into your ears and into your brain. This is going to be a great year. As always, if you ever aren’t sure what to do next, you can reach out to me. It’s just Joe, [email protected]. That’s my email. I’ll let you know what you can do next if you’re not sure what’s going to help you fast forward things and you want to jump into one of the many things that we have that you can pay for. We’re happy to help you with that too. We have a ton of free content that’s going to help you as well. Hope to see you at Killin’It Camp this year. Those tickets are going to open up in mid-January for early bird. You’d be able to click through at Go read about that right now. You guys are awesome. Also, lastly, thank you so much to our sponsor Gusto. Gusto has amazing payroll services. They help with your taxes. They do so much. Head on over to and you can try them out for three months totally free. Have a great day. Talk to you soon. This podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is given with the understanding that neither the host, the guests, or the publisher are rendering legal, accounting, clinical, or other professional information. If you need a professional, you should find one.