Updated: December 26, 2020
The holiday season is a time for many things. For some, it’s a time for rest. Others, a time to spend with loved ones, friends, and family. While for some, it’s a busy time to make money.
For me, it’s a little bit of all those things. However, when the week after Christmas and before New Year comes, that’s when I usually retreat from everything and do an important task – planning for my next year.
Between December 25 and January 1, I’ll choose a couple of days to reflect upon the year that was, and design how I want the coming year to be.
What exactly do I do during these days? Read on to find out.
The Year That Was
The first day is mostly spent thinking about what I’ve done in the past year. I diligently keep a journal, so it’s fairly easy for me to recall my failures and successes.
Actually, that’s what I use my Starbucks planner for — a daily journal. In it, I write my daily accomplishments, things that I’m grateful for, and sometimes, personal thoughts on what’s happening with my life. I find journaling therapeutic, and I encourage you to try it as well.
Browsing through the year, I particularly note the realizations I’ve had, as well as how I handled the challenges I faced. I consider these the lessons that the year has taught me – and thus, deserve to be reflected upon.
Once done, I write a year-end accomplishment report. I pretend that I’m submitting this to a “boss”, so I make it formal and detailed. It may sound silly, but this task forces me to really dig deep into the year that was.
The Year That Will Be
On the second day, which may or may not be the next day, is when I define my goals for next year. Specifically, I list down one primary goal and a handful of secondary goals.
First and foremost, I make sure that I’m perfectly honest with myself during this time. That is, I have to decide on goals that are really important to me — and not what others are simply expecting from me.
I go ahead and ask myself, “If I were to accomplish just one thing next year, what would I want that to be?”
The answer becomes my primary goal, to which I will commit most of my time and energy next year. Then, I define my secondary goals, which I often limit to five.
It’s normal for me to carry over a few secondary goals from the previous year to the next year because I’m not strict with myself when it comes to secondary goals. In fact, I only get to finish around two or three of them.
However, when it comes to my primary goal, that’s where I attach a guarantee to myself.
Creating the Road Map
After I’ve decided on my goals, I break them down into several tasks and give each one a due date. This ensures that I have a practical road map to follow next year.
I plan with a realistically optimistic attitude, which means being aware that distractions and unexpected, urgent matters will certainly happen along the way. Thus, I give each task a generous deadline.
As a final step, I’d again write a report about my goals. This one is like a Project Plan, complete with timelines and strategies, which I imagine that I have to submit to an imaginary “boss”.
And that’s it! This is how I normally end my year – a habit I learned several years ago and has proven to be quite effective in giving me purpose and direction for the year ahead.
How about you? Do you also set goals for the coming year during this time? I’d love to hear how you do it. Let’s talk and share strategies.