Tips For Planning For The Year Ahead

Let’s face it, nobody wants to live the same day, month, or year on repeat. You have goals, aspirations, and plans to implement. You’re only human after all, you are wired for change and growth. It is why it is important to initiate a plan, a plan that can see your year play out the way you hope it to. Success or change isn’t just going to happen by itself, you have to put in the groundwork in the planning stages to enable it to come to fruition. Yet so many people do not map out the year that is in front of them.

To help you get everything you want from the coming year consider some of these helpful tips to make it your best year yet.

Think about what you want from this year

Before you can start you need to go back to the drawing board and think about what you really want from the year in front of you. Envisage how you see the year playing out and what it looks like to you and then write down your goals. Do you want to pay off your debts? Start a family? Start a side hustle? Save money? Get in shape? There are no wrong answers and there is no reason that you cannot make what you want to happen, happen. What you can be sure of, however, is if you don’t know what you want or you do not have goals or aspirations then how can you expect anything to change?

Break down your goals

Once you have your goals written down you want to break them up into smaller more manageable achievements. How many times have you had a new year’s resolution that was broken before the first week of January was out? This is because lofty, unspecific, or unquantifiable goals are unlikely to be met.

Instead of focusing on the yearly goal, start with a monthly or even weekly goal. It will make planning that much easier when the time frame is reduced. It will also make the achievements more attainable and in turn, keep your motivation riding high every time you tick off a milestone.

If your goal is to save a certain sum of money by the end of the year then start by working out what is a realistic amount to save each month to make this happen. Every time you manage to save the desired monthly amount it will serve as motivation to keep you on track and help your overall goal happen.

When breaking down your goals be sure to include exactly how you are going to achieve that goal. Keeping with the money-saving example, it may be that you forgo your daily latte, your monthly gym membership, or prioritize other streams of making money. Whatever it is make sure you have a clear and concise plan to make it happen.

Make these changes a habit

Now that you know the steps you need to take and the changes you need to make you can then go about turning them from a new routine to a well-formed habit. As motivation starts to wane ingraining habits into your daily life will help keep you on track. A repeatable behavior will soon become a habit.

If your goal was to get in better shape, for example, create a workout regime that works for you. This could be that you exercise 30 minutes a day four days a week, on certain days. Keep this up and it will soon become a habit you don’t want to break. You may not always be motivated but if you have a habit ingrained you will be disciplined and that will be enough to keep you on track.

Plan for the expected

There are some things that do not change year on year. Birthdays, Christmas, term times for example. Then there are things which might be a nuance to that year but that you know about well in advance, weddings, vacations, special events, and so on. If you have advanced knowledge of these then there is no excuse to forget them or to let them get in the way and serve as an excuse for your goals not being met. Make life easier on yourself and get those unique gifts in advance of birthdays or baby showers, prepare for your vacation in plenty of time and without leaving everything last minute. Have a plan in place for the summer break to avoid any last-minute stress. By planning and preparing for the expected you will be better placed to deal with the unexpected when it arises and you will be less likely to be distracted from reaching your goals.

Review your progress

After you have decided upon your goal breakdown, be it monthly, weekly, etc be sure that you take stock of what you have achieved in that time frame. Use this as an opportunity to work out what did and did not work and how you can use this information going forward to the week or month ahead. By doing this you will continue to improve and ensure you remain on the right track.

If you couldn’t save the monthly amount you intended ask yourself why? Was it because you broke down and you had an unexpected repair bill? Or was it because you couldn’t say no to that new pair of shoes? Whatever the reasons, own them, understand them, and use them to help you move forward.

Celebrate your progress

You do not just have to wait for the end of the year to celebrate the achievements you have made. You should be celebrating your progress throughout the year and not just the final win. How you choose to celebrate is up to you, it doesn’t have to be big or elaborate just a treat to yourself to reward your hard work paying off. This can also nicely double up as a bit of motivation to keep you going.

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David
David is a 28-year-old struggling artist who enjoys planking, upcycling and binge-watching boxed sets.