Planning For The New Year

Welcome back! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. I know I did. We worked hard to get it all done, didn’t we? Well, now that Christmas day is past, we can slow down, relax, and hopefully get some quality time with our families. I love this week between Christmas and New Year’s. I love Christmas, of course, but after all the work of getting ready, it’s actually nice to just slow down and take a break before the new year gets started. So, if at all possible, I encourage you to take just a few days to rest from the Christmas hustle and bustle. Enjoy your family. Relax. Read a book. Eat some Christmas goodies and hot cocoa by the fire. Don’t feel guilty. You’ve earned this time. Aah! 

Planning For The New Year

The first few days of this week are great for resting and spending time with family but, for a lot of us planners, by the end of the week, we’re already thinking ahead to the new year and wanting to start making plans. Of course, you could wait till January 1, but if you’ve got some free time, why not start planning for the new year? Start making plans now, and then on January 1st or 2nd, you’ll be ready to dive into your goals and plans for the new year. So, here is how I like to plan for the new year.

 

WRITE GOALS FOR THE NEW YEAR

I like to use the word ” goals” instead of resolutions. Here’s why: Resolutions are about “starting over”. If you plan on “starting over” every January, it just gives you an excuse to slack off towards the end of the year. In my opinion, that’s just not productive. It gets us nowhere. It’s an “all or nothing” mindset. It doesn’t work for me and I don’t think it’s working for a lot of people. Instead, I believe in setting goals. Goals are about making improvements and progress throughout your life. It doesn’t stop and start again. It’s a continuous process. By setting goals, you look at where you are and make improvements on that. So that is why I like to set goals in January. I also set major goals on the month of my birthday. Here are areas in my life where I like to set goals and make improvements:

  • God and Family: In other words, plan to make relationships a top priority this year and plan how you can make these relationships better.
  • Health: I look at my exercise and diet habits. I keep what’s working and change what isn’t.
  • Finances: I like to review our long-term goals and re-do our budget to work towards those goals.
  • Career/job: January is a good time to see if you’re happy with your progress or if you want to make changes in your career or improve in your current job.
  • House/home: Decide what home improvements you want to make this year. 
  • Personal Bucket List: Think about some things you really want to do this year. Make a written plan and make this the year you actually will make it happen.

ORGANIZE YOUR NEW CALENDAR OR PLANNER

  1. Start organizing your fresh, new calendar by writing in all important dates for the entire year such as, birthdays, anniversaries, and special events that you already know about such as weddings, reunions, or vacations.
  2. Write in your calendar or planner exactly when you need to start getting ready for special events. For example, for a wedding, write in each step that needs to be done in the month that you need to do it. If you don’t want to write in all the details, at least write a date to start getting ready for each event.
  3. Write in doctor and dentist appointments. If you need to make these appointments, write that in also.
  4. Write out your own goals for the year in different life areas, like I explained above. For more on this, see my post, How To Make Meaningful Goals For Your Life. Then put your written list of goals in the front of your calendar or planner.
  5. For each goal, write out a specific list of action steps you will take throughout the year to make progress in each area. For each action step, write it on the month you plan to do it.
  6. Each month, you will take a look at your yearly goals and projects, and decide what exactly needs to be done that month to make progress toward the goal.
  7. Now that you’ve got your year planned out, start writing out your January goals. Be sure to include all special events and action steps toward each of your goals.

 

IMPORTANT THINGS TO REMEMBER ABOUT PLANNING

  • Life doesn’t always go according to plan. As a compulsive planner, I’m here telling you that things don’t always go according to plan. So, be flexible. Make daily adjustments to your plans and even with your goals. You might want to change your goals before the year is even over. That’s ok. They’re your goals. You get to make them and change them, especially when you decide to make a goal that is better or more important to you.
  • Break down your goals to monthly, weekly, and daily goals. Basically, you’ve got to break down your big goals down to manageable steps.
  • Don’t get overwhelmed. That’s the whole point of planning, to make your plans doable. Just take them one step at a time and one day at a time.
  • After planning, try to leave it all on paper, forget about it (a little) and live in the moment. This is my biggest struggle. I’m ALWAYS thinking ahead, to the point that I sometimes can’t enjoy what’s going on in the present. I’m working on it! So, let’s all write down our plans, and then let it go and enjoy what we’re doing today!
  • People are more important than our plans. Again, be flexible. When I get a chance to spend time with family, I’m taking it! Of course, some things are urgent and can’t be put off but, when possible, hold your plans loosely and enjoy the people you’re blessed with. 

 

I hope you’re feeling rested and motivated to start the new year. If you’ve got some spare time this week, please go to my Start Here page.  I’ve got lots of tips and ideas to help you get and stay organized throughout the year. Be sure to subscribe to my blog and get lots more tips and ideas this coming year. 

 Till next time, have a wonderful, organized, happy New Year! 

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