A Simple 4 Step Process For Planning For The New Year
Every single year around this time I begin to panic.
Maybe you can relate.
I begin to think about all that I have accomplished, have yet to accomplish and want to accomplish in the upcoming year. All of a sudden my heart begins to race while I'm constantly replaying the past 11 months over and over in my head. This time of year is also when my anxiety peaks. Not only do I have the pressure of the holidays in my face but I also begin to feel a little bit of comparison towards those around me who seemed to have KILLED IT over the past few months. While I promise myself every single year that December will be a month of rest and easing into the new year, I end up panicking and rushing to create goals that don't really align with what I truly want, which results in me shifting and changing mid-way through.
But not this year. I have declared this upcoming year as my "winning season" which means that now more than ever it's necessary for me to let go of those bad habits and also be really intentional about the goals I set and how I will spend my time. Whether you are more than ready to enter into the new year or still hanging on to every day that you have left, I have created an easy, stress free guide that I will be using to plan for the upcoming year.
But before we dig in, I must stress that you shouldn't put so much pressure on having it all figured out and planned by January 1st. Often we put so much focus on hitting that date that we fail to really focus on creating intentional goals. While I would love to have both my personal brand, this business and my life planned out by then, I'm also not going to freak out if for any reason I need a few more days. Take your time, plan well and start when you are ready!
Stop putting so much pressure on a specific date. You do not have to have it all planned out by January 1st.
STEP 1: PURGE
Before you dig into planning, take some time to purge your personal life and your business. This goes for things that you are consuming and the space around you.
In your business:
- Go through your inbox and unsubscribe from any newsletters that no longer serve you or the ones that you never open. Over the past year, I'm sure that you've signed up for a ton of email lists whether that be to download their awesome freebie or to be the first to know about a new sale. But if you are not getting something of value from these newsletters or if they spark any weird feelings (hello, comparison, anxiety, doubt) then it's time to unsubscribe. And subscribe without the guilt of possibly hurting someone's feelings. Nine times out of ten most people won't even notice if you unsubscribe, so there is no point in filling up your inbox every week out of fear that you'll be called out.
- Unfollow anyone online that sparks comparison or that you find to be negative. I 100% believe that you are what you consume. If you're following people who are constantly complaining, cursing out customers or being down right nasty, then why allow that to consume your energy? Politics for sure this year have brought out the worst in a lot of people and that isn't something you want to take into a fresh year. Go through and unfollow people on all of your social platforms and replace them with people who actually have something of value to say.
- Go through your computer and delete any old files or programs. How often do you sit down and clear out those files that you saved multiple times under 6 different file names? I'm guilty of this for sure. If you want your business to run smoothly in the new year, then you absolutely need your tech to run smoothly as well. Take some time to clear out any old files that you no longer need or load them onto an external hard drive.
- Sell any excess inventory. Have a ton of product left over? Try hosting a sale in your shop to make room for new inventory, especially if it's for a product that you no longer want to carry moving forward. Your workspace, your customers and your Stripe account will thank you!
- Now is also a good time to look at your expenses (this can actually go for business and personal). Are there any tools or services that you're paying for monthly that you no longer need or that you can find for a lesser amount? A lot of times we will sign up for a free trial just to look back and see that we've been paying for a service that we never even used. I did this a few months ago and ended up saving myself over $200 a monthly in expenses.
Start the new year off fresh my getting rid of any unnecessary junk, subscriptions or inventory that you no longer need.
In your life:
- Now is the perfect time for you to clear out your personal space and get organized. You know all of those notebooks you collected over the year? If you honestly have no use for theM, throw them out or donate them to someone who could actually use it. All of those receipts and invoices that are currently piling up on your desk, grab yourself some folders and organize the ones you actually need (I'm sure your Taco Bell receipt from 6 months ago is pointless now). Go through your closet as well. If you can not remember the last time you wore an item, then that means it's finally time to let it go! Over the year we collect nothing but mounds of "things" that honestly serve no purpose. Release the personal attachment and start the year off fresh. You'll be amazed at how incredible you feel when you have a little more breathing room and clean space.
- The same way you unfollowed people on social media, you may have a few people in real life who you need to let go of. I know this is a lot easier said than done, but if there is someone who is constantly bringing you down or draining your energy, you do not want to bring that negativity into the new year. Slowly begin to distance yourself, your peace will thank you for it.
STEP 2: Assess the current year
Take some time to look back at the past few months. What worked really well for you and what did you enjoy doing the most? You'll want to do more of this in the upcoming year. Also look at what didn't work. Any relationships you failed to nurture? What about marketing tactics that didn't go as you planned? Think about what you can do to revamp or change what didn't work and based on your results, decide if it's worth taking into the new year.
STEP 3: Create your vision
There is no possible way that you can set goals for the new year if you have no clue what you desire to accomplish. I am a huge fan of creating a vision for both my life and business because manifestation works! You'll be amazed what can happen when you dare to take your dreams out of your head and onto paper. Creating your vision also gives you something to focus on and work towards, which is going to be really important as we get to step four. Below are a few questions that you can ask yourself to begin creating your vision.
- What do I want to be known for?
- How do I want to feel?
- What do I want to accomplish in my life? In my business?
- How much do I want to make? How much do I want to save?
- What incredible opportunities do I want to come to me? What opportunities do I want to create for myself?
- Whose life do I want to impact?
The purpose of your vision is to give you space to dream big, without fear of judgement or feeling like you need to be really realistic. Even if what you envision for your life and business will take longer than the next 12 months, it's still good to add it as you can spend this year preparing for it. Some people like to create a vision board on big white poster boards or journal through it. The Ultimate Weekly Business Planner also includes space for you to keep your vision with you at all times! No matter HOW you go about it, it's just important that it happens.
There is no possible way that you can create effective and attainable goals without first getting clear on what it is that you want to accomplish over the next 12 months.
STEP 4: SET YOUR GOALS
I'll admit, I'm notorious for setting a goal and then forgetting about it a week later. And I know that is because I'm not setting specific enough goals or setting goals based on my ultimate vision. For this upcoming year, I'm going to focus on setting S.M.A.R.T goals based on my vision. My friend Siobhan introduced me to this concept earlier this year and it's perfect for you if you feel like you're constantly working hard but not getting anywhere. S.M.A.R.T goals are:
SPECIFIC (clear and simple)
MEASURABLE (You can track your progress)
RELEVANT (realistic and result-based)
TIME BOUND (You want to reach them within a certain time frame)
The most important piece of setting any type of goal is making sure that you are putting action behind it. A goal is just some words written in your planner if you never do anything with it!
Now that the new year is creeping up, take some time to breathe, access how this year went and take it step by step. Hasty planning won't result in anything but confusion later on and setting goals based off of what everyone else is doing is not how you will cultivate a purposeful year.
TOOLS TO USE
- Our Ultimate Weekly Business Planner for those who enjoy using a paper planner
- The Powersheets from Cultivate What Matters
- Asana for those who are digital planner