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It’s been quite a year.
Before ending this year and starting the next year, it’s always best to take the time to look back on the year and plan and prepare ahead of time.
The year of 2020 has surely taught us a lot and tested our plans, goals, adaptability, and resilience. It showed us the importance of preparation in the face of obstacles and circumstances.
In this article I share 8 tips to help you plan and prepare for the new year, 2021.
Do a yearly review
All change and growth starts with awareness. Reflect on how your past year went and how you are now. Assess your current situation. Look at the facts and your results neutrally.
Remember to not be hard on yourself. This year was a rough and unexpected year for many of us. It’s important to be honest with yourself, but be compassionate with yourself. Instead of judging yourself, practice curiosity and thoughtful observation.
Make sure to recognize your growth and resilience, and celebrate the small wins. Pay attention to what you learned and what lessons 2020 taught you. I’m sure there are many for almost all of us.
Focus on one big goal
It’s easy to get excited and set a bunch of goals and resolutions for the upcoming year. Focusing on one big goal forces you to prioritize and focus all your energy on one goal. When you do this, you’re more likely to reach your goal quicker with more attention and energy given to your goal. So go all in on one big goal. Make sure your goal is clear and measurable as well.
If you’re interested in learning a new skill as a goal, but unsure exactly what skill, check out the article 28 Skills You Can Learn From Home.
Decide ahead of time and commit
Refuse to remain in indecision and uncertainty. When you decide ahead of time and commit, you eliminate the mental work of decision.
Make a commitment to yourself and your goal. In fact, sign a pledge to it. Literally write down a pledge to commit to yourself and your goal. Research shows that simply doing this increases your likelihood of follow through.
If you’re feeling stuck and struggling on where to go from here, check out the article How to Get Unstuck: What to Do If You Don’t Know What to Do With Your Life. If you don’t know something, research it. Commit to learning what you need to learn to achieve your goal. Don’t let uncertainty and a lack of knowledge stop you from taking action.
Start now but start small
Many people put off starting their goals and new year’s resolutions until the beginning of the new year. But there’s no reason to not give yourself a head start. Start working towards your goal now, but start small. Build momentum. Focus on achieving small wins. Don’t wait until you’re “ready.”
For example, if your goal is to lose weight for the next year, don’t wait until January 1st to start working towards your goal. Maybe start not with full blown workouts, but start with getting moving more like going for walks or short and easy workouts. This helps build habits for consistency and long-lasting results.
Plan out your goal
People who plan are more successful than those who don’t. You are more likely to reach your goals when you plan them out. You don’t need the best fanciest new planner out there. You just need a plan. Break up your goal into mini attainable goals. What this does is makes your goal less intimidating and daunting.
Create a massive action list of all the things you need to do to attain your goal. List out every single action you can think of now to do throughout the year. List all of the results you would like to see as a result of these actions. You don’t need to know everything that you need to do. This is just to get you your brain going and thinking in terms of actionable steps.
Schedule your goal
Now that you have your plan, put it in your calendar. Remember you can always make adjustments. You just want to get an overall picture of your plan for the year. I recommend planning specifics at least one or two weeks ahead. As time goes on, your calendar and tasks that you need to do get more specific.
I personally love to use google calendar to calendar all my tasks and events. It’s simple and easy. I also use Trello to organize my tasks, to-dos and goals for the year. For more productivity tools related to planning and scheduling, check out The Best Tools for Productivity and Organization.
Remember to plan out your habits as well that will help you achieve your goals. Set up a supportive morning and evening routine for your goal and gradually start implementing it now.
Set up your environment for success
Your environment has a major impact on your thoughts, feelings and behaviors whether you realize it or not. Changing your environment makes lasting change a lot easier.
A good idea to start would be to organize and declutter your space. Even just cleaning out your closet can have a positive impact as it can free up decision making and free up space.
Decide to let go of things that distract you, hold you back, and will no longer serve you in the upcoming year. Decide to surround yourself with people and things that inspire and motivate you. And start now! This will also improve our focus to give more attention, priority, and energy towards our goals. We’re less likely to get distracted, waste time and energy and fall into bad habits.
Set up your environment to make good decisions and habits easier for yourself. Brainstorm and list ways that you can make changes in your environment including things you want to take in and things you want to take out.
Expect and plan for mistakes and failure
Expect failure and mistakes. Plan for them. Prepare for possible circumstances outside of your control that will affect you and your goal. Create a SWOT analysis where you list Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.
Remember it’s important to be honest with yourself and practice awareness. Prepare for possible lockdowns, changes in the economy and your work. This is not to discourage you, but to plan and be prepared ahead of time to reduce even more problems from avoidable obstacles.
You want to plan to prevent mistakes. However, you should actually aim to fail more. When you’re experiencing failures it means you’re taking action and putting yourself out there and you’re building resilience too.
Also be willing to adapt and aim for flexibility. Be open to trying new things and making adjustments in pursuit of your goal.
Hopefully the next year brings us more opportunities, but if not we’ll be more equipped to overcome whatever we face and reach goals despite our circumstances and obstacles.