Planning for the new year may not be not be front and center of your thoughts right now. The end of the year is typically busier than any other time of the year. We prepare our yards for winter by raking leaves, trimming bushes and putting down winter fertilizer. We prepare for the holidays by planning menus, buying gifts and decorating. We also tend to think about the things we want to accomplish in the coming year.
Maybe you or someone in your family got engaged, so you’re thinking about wedding plans. Or a new baby is on the way. Or perhaps you are running a business and need to create your business plan for the next year. Whatever the circumstances may be, you need to start planning for the new year so that when January 1st arrives, you can hit the ground running!
As you are planning for the new year, consider the 5 points below to develop your plan.
Peak Performance Time
Planning requires optimum brain power, so you need to determine what time of day you are at your peak performance, and schedule that time to develop your plan. Take steps to eliminate sources of distractions by finding a room that is quiet, and away from the hustle and bustle of daily living in your home. If that’s not feasible, go to your local library, it’s sure to be quiet and virtually distraction-free.
Start at the Beginning
The best place to start with your planning effort, is at the beginning. Write down what the goal or goals are that you want to accomplish. Make them realistic and measurable. An example of a realistic & measurable goal would be, to lose 25 pounds in 6 months. A not so good example would be, to lose weight. It’s a start, but you need to set parameters to measure your progress and make adjustments to your strategy along the way to ensure that you reach your goal. When you have your goals written down, then, prioritize them. Some goals may need to be accomplished sooner than others, or need to be done before another goal can be reached.
Now that you have your goals prioritized, you need to determine how you are going to accomplish them. Let’s look at the example goal above to lose weight. Do some research to find the best practices for weight loss. Some examples are, diet, nutritional supplements, and exercise. Then start drilling down for each of these categories.
Look into your particular traits and characteristics, what you know you will and will not do. If you don’t like to exercise, find something fun that you can do that qualifies as exercise. Perhaps ask a friend with the same goal to exercise with. If you have a dog, start taking him or her on walks. Find a time during the day that fits in with your regular routine. Start with 10 minutes a day and build from there. If you won’t stick to a rigid diet, go online and find a program that will work with your lifestyle. The Internet is a great source of information.
Your goals are written and prioritized. You have your strategies laid out. Now you need to create an action plan to implement your strategies. Create a schedule of activities or tasks, based on your strategies. Schedule your activities to fit in with your daily routines. You may have to adjust your regular routine to allow for these new activities. Allow for a realistic amount of time to complete each activity. Use a daily planner to schedule these activities paper or electronic, whichever works best for you. By scheduling these activities with realistic times, you are more likely to actually complete them.
Post & Review
In order to stay on track and achieve the desired results, you need to be aware of your goals and your progress. Post your goals in a place where you can see them daily to keep them front and center in your mind. Measure your progress along the way and adjust your strategies, to correlate with what’s working or not working. And remember to reward yourself when you reach milestones, after all, you deserve to be rewarded for all your hard work!
Keep these 5 points in mind as you are planning for the new year. Plan the work and work the plan. Now you have a roadmap to make the new year a success!