January—and thus the new year—is really in full swing now so it is time to plan for 2014! Planning is something that I have always loved to do. In fact, “to do” lists are such an integral part of who I am and something that I find so helpful (see DIY Wedding Dos and Don’ts). Today’s blog is really a continuation of last Wedding Wednesday’s blog Reflections on a year…. So if you haven’t already looked at that and worked on your review of 2013, I encourage you to start there.
When you have completed your year-end review, you are ready to get planning! Have all your notes from your 2013 reflection nearby and grab another pad and pen and begin. Here is the approach I use to guide me in the process of developing a plan for the New Year.
• I like to start with an overarching vision. Ask yourself what’s the theme you would like to have for 2014? Maybe this is the year of big growth and development for you. Or is it the year of change. Or is it the year of purpose and direction. Or maybe it is even the year of simplifying.
• Make a list of all areas of your life. Be inclusive as possible and include all aspects that are important to you. I permanently have the following areas on my list but you may have others:
o Relationship with spouse
o Relationship with friends
o Relationship with family
o Self-development, spiritual development and learning
o Fun and play (yes, even that should be planned)
o Health and well-being
o Money and finances
o Work in the world
o Physical surroundings/living and working spaces
• For each of these areas, consider what you hope for and want to achieve this year. Consider what is important to you. Ask yourself how will you nurture your relationships with others. Ask yourself how will you nurture your relationship with yourself. Consider including feelings and attitudes like deciding to feel more adventurous or feel calmer.
• As you focus on each area, set realistic goals. Don’t try to save the world in a year! You want to give yourself a chance to be successful and you can always add more if you complete your goals quicker than expected.
• Make sure your goals are exciting and at least compelling. If they aren’t compelling to you, you will never do them. For example, instead of having a goal to loose 10 pounds by a certain date, how about setting the goal to find a program of physical activity that you love to do at least three times a week. And another goal of trying out a new vegetable and whole grain in at least two meals a day. That sounds more interesting to me.
• Perhaps not surprising because I am a celebrant, part of my organizing includes planning celebrations along the way toward your goals. So on your list for each area, write down how you plan to celebrate. Celebrate that you have a direction to go, celebrate when you encounter a bump, and celebrate when you figure out a solution.
• And speaking of hitting problems along the way, allow and plan that things won’t always go as planned. Rather than beating yourself or others up, just revise the plan. Give yourself permission to be human and change your mind if something on your plan needs revision at anytime during the year.
• Now pull out that list of things that you compiled last week about what you are proud of in 2013. Ask yourself how you can build on those accomplishments in 2014. For instance, perhaps you are proud that you kept up with your huge wedding planning list last year. So ask yourself how can you feel even better this year about working on the rest of the list? Maybe even plan to include and get help from others. Something I have learned over and over again is that you don’t have to do it all alone!
• If there were goals or intentions from 2013 that you did not complete, ask yourself if you want to put them on the list for 2014. Sometimes it turns out that the goal that seemed so important at the beginning of the last year is no longer important or relevant to you so you don’t need to carry it forward. Others may be ongoing and you will find them on your goal list every year. For instance, I always strive to be less anxious and more peaceful and calm—that seems to always be a work in progress for me!
• And remember that planning doesn’t happen just in January—it is all-year long. While working an area in my plan during the year, I simply use the expression, “What’s next?” Here I am right now so what am I going to do next. And now what am I going to do next. And repeat until you are there! Well, even if you aren’t there, you are somewhere new and that is progress.
Because your life doesn’t begin when you finally reach your goal—your life IS now—find ways to enjoy it now or at the very least make it manageable if you are having a really difficult time. What I am suggesting is that you live in the moment while at the same time setting plans for your future. That is really what wedding, life or business planning is all about. You have an end in mind—your dream wedding, your newly redecorated office, your new job—and you have steps to get yourself to that reality later in the year. Make it a priority to be enjoying the steps along the way and before you know it you will have accomplished so much and you will have a more fulfilling life no matter what the outcome.
I’d love to hear about how you plan for your new year so share with us below!