If you’ve ever wondered how to plan your year in advance: this article is for you.
It’s not necessary to only make resolutions on New Year’s Day. Setting goals and planning for the year can be done at any time. It may seem daunting, but by identifying what you want to achieve and the steps needed to make it happen, you can utilize various tools and strategies to turn your aspirations into reality.
How To Plan Your Year In Advance:
1. Create a list of important objectives you want to achieve in the current year.
Imagine yourself in the next year and think about everything you would like to have happen. Allow your imagination to visualize the future and write down everything that comes to your mind that you would like to have accomplished.
This will give you a starting point as you work towards setting your goals. Remember to challenge yourself with ambitious goals but make sure they are achievable.
For example, “I want to be an astronaut in a year” might be a bit unrealistic but “I want to write a draft of a novel” could be a realistic goal. Have fun with it, for example “I want to learn photography this year” could be a great place to start setting your goals. You can use traditional pen and paper or type out your vision in a word processor or note-taking app to keep it organized.
2. Divide the goals on your list into categories that are related to each other.
Organize the list into specific categories such as financial, career, health, and artistic. Group all of the things you would like to accomplish in the year with similar or related goals.
For example, you could have a group of fitness goals that include running a 5K, being able to do 10 pullups and losing 10 pounds. Keeping your goals organized can help you better manage them and also help structure your year.
For example, if you have a goal to get a promotion at work, you could start by arriving to work on time every day, completing a big project, then asking for more responsibilities. As you progress, you will get closer and closer to your bigger goals.
3. Create a list of tasks for each of the goals you want to achieve.
Write down one goal on a blank page, and then list all the tasks you need to complete in order to accomplish that goal. Focus on one goal at a time and take the time to think about everything you need to do to make that goal a reality. Once you have a solid list of tasks for one goal, move on to the next goal and repeat the process.
For example, if your goal is to get fit and lose weight, you could make a list of tasks that could include things like, “Join a gym, set aside time each day to exercise, create a meal plan to eat healthier, buy running shoes,” and so on. It may also be helpful to conduct an online search to see what it takes to accomplish a specific goal.
For example, if you’ve never run a marathon before, you can check to see what it takes to make it happen.
4. Establish a specific time frame for each of your tasks.
Plan and schedule a specific date for completing each of the smaller tasks and steps. Giving yourself a deadline will help you stay focused on the larger goal.
For example, if your goal is to participate in a 10K next year, you could set a date to run for 30 minutes straight in a few weeks, and then run a 5K a few months from now. This way you will be ready to take on your ultimate goal of a 10K. Sometimes, unexpected things happen and you might need to adjust your deadlines. That’s okay, allow yourself to make adjustments and don’t let it discourage you.
5. Begin each day by listing 3 things you want to accomplish.
Every morning take some time to write down at least 3 tasks that are your priorities for the day. Even if you don’t complete them, the process of prioritizing and focusing on your larger goals on a daily basis can help keep you on track. Your 3 priorities could be related to a single goal, or 3 tasks related to separate goals.
For example, you could aim to go for a run, look at hotel rates for a future trip you have planned, and read a chapter of a book if your goal is to read more. For example, if you have a goal to lose 15 pounds, you could write down daily tasks like: “Take a walk after lunch”, “Eat a piece of fruit for an afternoon snack”, “Avoid having a pastry in the break room”
6. Evaluate your goals on a weekly basis to assess your progress.
Reflect on how you are doing in relation to your goals on a regular basis. Review the progress you made in the past week, evaluate what worked and what didn’t work.
Develop actionable steps that you can take in the upcoming weeks and months to continue moving towards your ultimate goals. Set aside a specific time each week that is convenient for you. For example, you could schedule an hour or so every Sunday morning to review your progress.
7. Confide your plans and goals with a partner to keep yourself motivated.
They don’t necessarily have to have the same goal as you but having a partner can provide you with support and motivation to achieve your goals. Communicate with them when you make progress or when you are facing difficulties with something, and ask them about their own progress. This can help you stay focused on your goals.
Research shows that something as simple as informing a friend when you make progress towards your goal (1) can increase the rate of success by threefold.
8. Visualize yourself achieving a goal to make it feel more attainable.
Imagine that you have already made the change or reached the goal you set. If you can imagine yourself having already done something, it can make your brain believe that it is possible. Psychologists refer to this process as “encoding prospective memories.”
For instance, if your goal is to learn to play the guitar, instead of focusing on all the practice and lessons you need to do, imagine yourself playing on stage or playing a song for a friend. This can make it feel more achievable, because it is!
9. Keep working towards your goals even if you encounter obstacles.
Change often involves failure, challenges and setbacks. It takes effort to achieve a goal, especially if it is ambitious. Anticipating that you will have failures can help you stay motivated and make adjustments that will help you to keep pushing towards your goals.
For example, if your goal is to eat healthier, but you indulge in a double cheeseburger by accident, it is not the end of the world. Think of it as a setback that you can learn from and come up with ways to avoid similar situations in the future. Research suggests that successful people don’t have fewer obstacles than others, the key difference is that they don’t give up when faced with a challenge.
10. Recognize and reward yourself when you achieve a goal.
Treat yourself to a luxurious meal or buy yourself a new outfit whenever you reach one of your goals. You have worked hard and deserve it! Use the prospect of celebration as motivation to keep working on your goals. Just think about how satisfying it will be when you achieve them.
Avoid celebrating in ways that can negatively affect your goals. For example, if you’re trying to save money for a trip, don’t spend too much and use the money you’ve saved for your trip.
11. Modify your goals if necessary as the year progresses.
If you no longer wish to achieve a certain goal, want to change it slightly or need to adjust it for other reasons, go ahead and do it. If something isn’t working, make adjustments that benefit you and your life.
Don’t feel guilty if you don’t achieve a goal you set for yourself, it could be that it just wasn’t the right time or something came up that made it impossible. You can always try again in the future. Being flexible can be beneficial for your goals and your well-being.
For example, if you planned to visit Spain in the summer but it is not feasible, you can plan for a winter trip and work towards making it happen.
12. Utilize a traditional planner to manage your tasks and schedule.
A traditional planner is a valuable tool that can help you set deadlines, organize your tasks and schedule your days, weeks and months. Opt for a single planner to keep all your information in one place for easy access and updating.
Using a planner can enhance your time management and boost productivity. Most planners come with weekly and monthly calendars that can be used to schedule your days and set deadlines for yourself.
13. Employ an organizational app for a digital alternative.
If you prefer using digital calendars and organizational tools such as Trello (2) , that’s okay too. Download an organizational app from your smartphone or tablet’s app store. Use it to set your schedule, store information and set deadlines for yourself.
Organizational apps can be useful if you need to jot down tasks while you’re on the move. Some apps, like the iPhone’s Note app, can synchronize across multiple devices, allowing you to add to it from your phone and computer. Many apps can also provide you with reminders or notify you when you have an upcoming appointment on your schedule.
14. Utilize time blocking to organize your schedule.
Time blocking is an organizational strategy that can help you stay more organized and focused on completing a specific task. Rather than dedicating large amounts of time to a single task or postponing it, schedule 2-3 hour chunks of time where you focus on completing a single task.
For example, if your goal is to grow your social media following, you can schedule a block of time to create content, another to write blog posts, and another to schedule posts. It doesn’t have to be for a full 2-3 hours, some tasks can be completed in just 30 minutes. The key is to focus on one task at a time and avoid spending too much time on a single task.
15. Create a budget to manage your finances.
Create a budget spreadsheet and input your income. Add all your expenses, including variable expenses such as groceries and gas.
If you’re saving for something, set aside extra money to work towards that goal. Keeping your finances organized can make your goals possible and reduce stress related to money, regardless of your goals.
16. Organize your documents by creating folders on your computer.
To increase productivity, make folders on your computer that align with the way you structure your business and store the related documents in them, making them easily accessible when needed.
For example, you can have a folder for expense reports and internal memos to maintain an organized workflow. You can also have a folder for a specific goal, such as learning a new language, where you can store documents and materials related to achieving that goal.
Thank you for reading this article about how to plan your year in advance and I really hope that you take action my advice.
I wish you good luck and I hope its contents have been a good help to you.