Today, we’ll discuss how to use the Big APE™ this week to plan the new year. Very often we say we’re going to prioritize time with our family and our loved ones. And we do this every year, January 1st, going to spend more time with the people we care about, the people we love. And then by March, it’s back to life as usual, right?

So if we decide what we’re going to prioritize, who we’re going to prioritize, and again, the flip side, what am I going to deprioritize? Who am I no longer going to prioritize in terms of allocating time?

Those things as well allow you to live a far more proactive life. And it allows you to really start living the kind of life that you want to engage in.

David: Hi, and welcome to the podcast. In today’s episode, co-host Jay McFarland and I will be discussing using the Big APE this week to prepare for the new year. Welcome back, Jay.

Jay: Well, I’m so glad to be here. David. I have to tell you, after Christmas my number one tendency is just to kind of want to detox, you know, because of all the shopping and everything else.

But I know it’s also, because there’s not a lot going on business wise. It’s probably a great time to kind of start thinking about the next year.

David: Yeah, and I think detoxing is also a really good part of that. It’s nice to be able to use this time, it’s sort of the eye of the hurricane, a little break in the action before the new year starts and everything gets rolling again.

It’s just a great time to be able to do that, to be able to take a breath. Take a moment. Sort of think through how things went, what we liked, and what we didn’t like about the past year and what we want to do better and differently in the coming year.

And for me, I think it’s just a great time for planning, for making notes, and really considering the things that we’d like to accomplish. Because, there’s something magical about a new year where everybody wants to start fresh and turn the page.

I mean, there’s no reason you couldn’t do that any day or every week. Reminds me of the expression, “today is the first day of the rest of your life.” People hear that and they go, “yeah, that’s right.” And then we never do anything about it.

But boy, January 1st rolls around and everybody wants to do things. We’ve got different resolutions, and I’m going to do this better. I’m going to do that better. Lots of people join gyms and they go for two weeks. Then that’s the end of it, right?

So there is this tendency to get really excited and really focused about a new year, and then perhaps let it fall away. So if we use this week to just really think through, okay, what do I really want?

What am I trying to get out of my life, my business, you know, my relationships? What is it that I’m looking to accomplish? It’s just a nice sort of quiet time to consider those sort of things.

Jay: Yeah, and I think, you gave the example of the gyms. My wife goes to the gym all the time and she can’t stand January and into February because she can’t find an open machine to use, because everybody has set this new goal and it’s going to last at most six weeks and then everybody returns.

I think that that’s kind of a microcosm of our goal setting for the new year and for resolution. So it has to be important too, as you’re being mindful to be specific I think, but also to be reasonable with yourself, achievable, right? And trackable are all things that I think would probably be important in this process.

David: Absolutely. There’s another thing that I tend to think of, just in terms of planning and thinking things through. I refer to it as The Big Ape, A.P.E., the Big Ape. And it stands for activities, priorities, and expectations.

So what are the activities that I want to engage in in the new year? What are the activities I no longer want to engage in in the new year?

Right? And that’s big. So much of growth in business and personal development comes not just from what we do, but from what we decide we’re no longer going to do. Changing those behaviors that have not created the results that we’ve been looking for in the past.

So if you were to do nothing else this week but get out a pad of paper and then jot down, okay, what are the activities I really want to engage in in the new year? And what are the activities I want to either do less of or completely eliminate?

Start with that. And that exercise alone just allows you to kind of feel good. Because it’s a glimpse into your potential future, right? You have to decide whether or not you’re going to engage in those activities, if you’re going to follow through and do it. But as you write that sort of thing down, you say, okay, this is what I would like to be doing on a daily basis, a weekly basis, a monthly basis.

Who would I like to be interacting with? In other words, if I’m writing down a list of activities, who am I going to be engaging in these activities with? And all of that, I think, is highly motivational.

Also, when you write down the activities, you’re going to stop engaging in, that is in a lot of cases, even more motivational, because you say, wow, what if I stopped doing this one thing that I know is not good for me, that’s been holding me back.

A good example of that is I deleted the news app off my iPhone a couple of weeks ago because I found that if I looked at the main app, there was always something that I would click on and it would pull me into some sort of awful negative thing that’s going on in the world that I just really don’t need to be exposed to.

So for me, things like that, reducing or eliminating things that I know are just going to bring me down. Now’s a great time to eliminate those sorts of things of the new year.

if you start with that and you say, okay, what are the activities I’m going to engage in? What are the activities I’m no longer going to engage in? That’s a great start.

Then the P part of the APE formula is priorities. What are going to be my priorities this year? Who are going to be my priorities this year?

So many of us, well, we’re going to prioritize time with our family and our loved ones, and we’re going to do this every year, January 1st. going to spend more time with the people I care about, the people I love. And then by March, it’s back to life as usual, right?

So if we decide what we’re going to prioritize, who we’re going to prioritize, and again, the flip side, what am I going to deprioritize? who am I no longer going to prioritize in terms of allocating time?

Those things as well allow you to live a far more proactive life. And it allows you to really start living the kind of life that you want to engage in.

And then the third part of it is the expectations. What are the expectations I have for the new year? What are the expectations I have of myself? What are the expectations I have of the people around me?

Now, having expectations for other people can be a recipe for disaster, because if they don’t have the same expectations, you’re not going to have a match there. But at least if you have a clear idea of what you’re expecting from yourself, perhaps your coworkers, that’s all going to really be helpful.

Jay: Yeah. I love that. As you go through this concept of the Big Ape you just made me think of a couple of things. I know people who have decided, like you with the news app, they’ve decided they’re not going to look at the phone for the first two hours of the day.

They’re going to get up. They’re going to meditate. They’re going to do some exercise. They’re going to do those things so that they’re not sucked in right away. Because that starts your day basically out of control. Right? And that’s very important.

But I think some of the other elements of APE is having self-awareness, right?

You have to really sit down and think. Like it took some awareness for you to realize that news app was having a negative effect on you. Sometimes we don’t know what those things are. And so you have to kind of have a self-inventory of, you know, how are these things making me feel?

It could be eating habits, you know, it could be your diet that is making you feel in a negative way. And so keeping track of those things is so critical to be able to improve your situation.

David: And it’s really funny, because years ago I remember saying to my wife I wanted to get rid of the newspaper. And it took me a long time to convince her to do that. But we got rid of the newspaper and I didn’t watch news on television anymore. And I was very proud of myself for accomplishing that, because I just felt like it just relieved so much mind pollution.

And then just a couple of weeks ago I realized, okay, well I’m still getting it here, right? It’s still pulling me in, still getting me worked up. I just don’t want to do that anymore. But one other thing about the Big Ape. I gave a presentation, a live presentation on that topic one time, and I talked about the fact that if you get the Big Ape worked out, if you get those things lined up, it’s going to be a lot better.

And one woman in the audience, she said, “yeah, if I could get the big ape to do what I wanted him to do, everything would be a whole lot better.” I said, “okay, no, the Big Ape does not refer to your spouse. Okay? The Big Ape is all about you: Your activities, your priorities, and your expectations.”

Jay: Yeah, I love that. The other thing about the Big Ape, and we’ve talked about this for months and months now, is tracking your activities, tracking your customers, tracking what your business is doing, what your employees are doing.

I think that during this week of looking back at the previous year and projecting forward, if you have good actionable information, you can say, you know what? I’m not going to focus on these clients anymore because they’re not producing. I’m going to focus on these clients because I think I can grow the business.

So having that information is critical. If you don’t have it, then maybe that’s one of your first goals for the new year is to set up key performance indicators and say, I’m going to start to track this stuff so that I can set proper goals and expectations for myself and for my staff.

David: Yes. So in that situation, if you decide you’re going to prioritize that, that’s going to go on my list of priorities. My activity is going to be getting that in place, and my expectation is that it’s going to improve my productivity and the productivity of the people around me. It fits perfectly into each of those three categories.

Jay: Yeah, absolutely. And if you’re not doing that, then the chances are they will fade. Right? If you’re not saying, okay, every week I’m going to sit down, you know, maybe it’s Saturdays, I’m going to reassess. You kind of take this week to plan that out. But I really think you have to be deliberate about when each week you’re going to go back and review that information and update it, change it, improve it.

If you don’t do that, I think the odds are pretty good that you’re eventually going to just kind of revert back to where you were before.

David: Absolutely.

Jay: Yeah, absolutely. Well, how can people find out more? I know you have a lot of great resources, especially as they’re going through this week, that can help them reassess and think about what they want their new year to be.

David: Yeah, we have a lot of free resources available at So you can just basically go to that site, click through, check out a lot of the different things that we have. We’ve got a number of different free resources available. Of course, we have our various training programs and coaching programs you can also take advantage of.

Or if you’d like to schedule a strategy session with us to talk about what you’re looking to do, what you’re looking to accomplish in the new year, you can go to That’s We’ll have a conversation and see what we can help you accomplish in the new year.

Jay: All right. I love it, David. Have a Happy New Year.

David: Thanks, you too, Jay.

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    1 Response to "Use the Big APE to Plan the New Year"

    • David Blaise

      What do you plan to do better and differently in your life and business in 2023? And how can you use The
      Big APE™ to make it happen?

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