What if you could make a great plan for the new year quickly and easily?
Would that get you excited about new possibilities? About maybe reaching some new goals?
Would that perhaps lead to some good energy and excitement, which could maybe help propel you forward toward those goals?
One thing we know for certain is that how we think about the future plays a big role in shaping the future.
When the mood of investors is optimistic, stock prices go up. When the mood of investors is pessimistic, stock prices go down.
The same is true for you. If you are optimistic about the new year, it’s more likely to be a great one.
Take that optimism and couple it with a little dose of practical thinking and you’ve got a great plan.
Step number one is to get optimistic about the future. And you can do that quickly and easily by looking back at your accomplishments this year.
Step 1: Look Back Before You Look Ahead
I used to just keep looking ahead. Weirdly, I found that to sometimes be frustrating.
Rather than getting excited about what I might do in the new year, I’d start to feel a bit down. I felt like I was making a list of things I should have already done, but hadn’t done yet.
Not the right mindset for crafting an exciting plan…
That’s when I found it to be super helpful to first take a look back.
If you take a moment and list out all the things you accomplished this year, you will be surprised.
First of all, there is more on the list than you expected.
Certainly this will be true for you. People like you who read stuff like this are people who do interesting things all throughout the year. You’re a striver. You’re a doer. You will have a fun list to look at.
Make that list.
Include anything and everything you are happy about. Accomplishments at work. Accomplishments in your personal life. Books you’ve read. Skills you’ve improved. Lessons you’ve learned.
That’s a good year. Feel proud. And feel the momentum.
Now when you look ahead, you can shape your goals from a place of excitement and anticipation.
Step 2: List Out Your Lofty Goals
Make a list of goals for the new year.
Here is where you should do the lofty stuff. Now that you have a good sense of accomplishment, it probably helps you to better see where you can carry that momentum forward.
Jot everything down, the big and the small. Include personal goals. Work goals. Career goals.
You will probably have a lot on that list. That’s ok.
Go back through the list and assign specific target goals. If you want to lose weight, how many pounds. If you want to get a raise, how much. If you want to learn a new skill, what is the level you want to achieve.
General goals are not going to be very useful. They’re too easy to dodge.
Setting big goals is important. But a big goal with no definition is just a dream. And dreams don’t come true on their own.
Spend a little time thinking about which goals you really want. If you had to rank them in order, what would that be?
Take the first few goals from that prioritized list and think about what it will take to achieve them.
What sort of things should you start doing early in the year? What milestones might you need to reach at different points in the year?
This will get you ready for the next step.
Step 3: Tell Two Friends
Your final step in planning goals for the new year is to talk to two friends about your goals.
They will be excited and happy for you. They will likely be thinking about their own goals for the new year.
And they will most likely ask you how you are going to achieve those goals.
They are going to want to know what your plan is. Just the same way you would want to know how they are going to achieve their goals.
Here’s the trick. Make sure that you talk to each friend one at a time.
This should be a one-on-one conversation. Those are most private and most personal and most bonding.
You can share your goals with each other, help to develop plans, and you can help to keep each other accountable throughout the year.
Repeat that same process with your second friend.
By duplicating your effort, you will get the benefit of having twice as many insights into your plans. You will have twice as many questions to answer. You will have twice as much motivation to follow through from an accountability standpoint.
Now you’re ready to kill it in the new year!
New Year Goals
You probably won’t get it perfect. You will likely need to change your plans. You might even need to adjust your goals throughout the year.
But you will have the tremendous advantage of having established some goals, developed some plans, and sought some accountability.
You will be thinking ahead, building motivation, and taking action.
That’s a lot.