Flannels & Pearls

Goal Planning for the New Year

The transition to a new year and new goals always excites me. A chance to look back into the past successes and failures, high and low moments, changes that were implemented, and projects that were completed. Today, I’m going to walk you through a process that works for me. None of these ideas are new, but if you’re like me, you appreciate reminders of methods that bring results.

  1. Review. I go through my planner and goals from the previous year. Which goals did I meet? Which bucket-list items did I get to cross off? Which goals did I struggle to complete? What were my failures? Which moments and memories were my favorite? What were the hard lessons I had to learn?
  2. Write it down. I use journals. A lot. I keep at least on at my office, one at home, one in my travel bag, and another in our camper. Overkill? Probably. But, it’s important to me to have an outlet or the ability to jot down special moments or thoughts and ideas as they happen. When the year is coming to a close, I write down my review (see #1). What could I have done differently? I take time to reflect on what I listed in #1, especially the failures, and write out how I could have avoided them all together, how I could edit my action to change the outcome, or the lessons I learned from going through the trials. I think a lot of people skip this step, but it’s important to think about. The process improves and sharpens my purpose.
  3. What’s next? What do I want to repeat, what skills do I want to grow, what habits do I want to add or omit, what kind of adventures do I want my family to take, what kind of memories do I want to make with the special people in my life, what projects do I want to complete? These questions help me form my yearly bucket-list.
  4. Plan. I get my planner out and start penciling in appointments. Whether they are daily workouts, hosting a dinner party for special friends, blocking writing time, or planning summer camping trips – they all get scheduled. Some things, like our camping trips, are difficult to plan this far in advance due to kids’ camps and swimming lessons. For those items, I make notes on my planner’s summer months to keep them fresh in my mind when the time gets closer. Sometimes last minute plans are the best kind of plans. I make room them.
  5. Act. Now that I have a plan of all the things I want to do for 2019, I’m rolling up my sleeves and diving right in. Remember, you’ll never get where you want to go if you don’t ever START. If you’re learning a new skill, know that your first attempts are likely to end in failure. Keep trying. We rarely do anything right the first try, but we do get better with practice. If I have BIG projects on my list, I always work backwards. I create a time line, starting with the deadline, to give myself mini-deadlines/goals to meet in the process and break the big goal into smaller, doable steps. I love using vision/dream boards and goal binders with to do lists to keep me on track. I’m a very hands-on, visual person. I enjoy these reminders. I even wear a key necklace with my word of the year, to keep me focused on what matters. All of these strategies help me live a purposeful life. I don’t want my life to flash by with little intention or thought. I want to be a good steward of this gift of life. I only get one!
  6. Review and Edit. Schedule weekly or monthly reviews. I periodically set aside time to go through my bucket-list progress. This allows me to see if I need to edit my goals or schedule, or omit the goal altogether, which is ok, by the way. I always remain open to changing my plan. I believe God gives us our skills, talents, and dreams. What we do with them is up to us. Sometimes they are for a season, sometimes we need to tweak them as we go, and other times, the entire dream gets scrapped. I would much rather adapt and be open to change than go down a path that wastes precious time. Reviewing my progress helps me steer my ship in the right direction.

How do you transition from one year to the next? Do you have a system? Do you share your goals with others? What works best for you? I love hearing different ideas!

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