How to Plan a Great Year

How to Plan a Great Year

I’ve wasted a lot of time wanting to do things instead of actually doing them.  At the end of 2015 I was unhappy and unfulfilled, and desperate to make some changes in my life.  For the most part, the things that I wanted to do or accomplish were completely within reach, it was just a matter of putting in the time or effort and actually doing them.  With little time left before the start of the year, I made a to-do list entitled “Things I want to do (or start) in 2016.”  This simple act revolutionized my year.

How to Plan a Great Year

This list is superior to the traditional New Year’s Resolution because rather than making a large claim about how you intend to live your life from here out, you are giving yourself the tools to be able to change your life at a realistic pace in enjoyable ways.  Your to-do list items can be small and simple actions, or life-changing goals.  It is up to you what kinds of things you would like to accomplish, and how much effort you are willing to put into your actions.

How to Plan a Great Year

My advice to you, dear reader, is to make yourself a list of things you want to do this year – a simple, not-at-all-intimidating, completely feasible list of things that you have been meaning to get around to, but just haven’t.  Go get yourself a blank notebook, fill it with your goals, and keep it within sight.  Here are some tips to help you in doing so.
  • Think of it as a short-term bucket list
    • Create a list of things you would like to do before the end of 2017.  Think back on what kinds of goals or plans you have wanted to make in the past.  What have you been wanting to do, but haven’t yet?  What have you been complaining about that could improve with change?  What kinds of things make you happy?
  • Don’t make your tasks too big
    • The beauty of this list is that the items are doable, so the list is not an intimidating heap of seemingly insurmountable tasks.  Make smaller tasks that will eventually culminate into a larger goal.  For example, if you would someday like to travel across Europe but have never been out of the US, add list items like “get my passport,” “start learning Spanish/French/Italian/etc,” and “follow some travel blogs.”
  • Keep an agenda, and itemize which items you want to accomplish by month
    • Maybe you will have an influx of cash in April when your tax return comes in, but you will be short after your birthday in June because “treat yo self.”  Or perhaps the weather will be crap in February but perfect in May.  Considering things like this can help you plan purchases, trips, or events.  Get detailed with your monthly planning as well – if “read more books” is on your yearly to do list, start each month with an idea of what books you would like to tackle.
  • Check in with yourself
    • How often you do this is up to you.  Depending on how busy I was, I wrote a check-in list every month or two so that I could take stock of how my year was stacking up.  Not only will this encourage you to get things done, analyzing your accomplishments can boost your confidence (because yes, you are kicking ass).
  • Need some inspiration or examples of things to put on your list?
    • Volunteer for a charity
    • Go on a trip
    • Start learning a new skill
    • See a particular band
    • Make some plans for self care
    • Create something
    • Read more books/Watch more movies/Listen to more podcasts
    • Decorate a room in your living space
    • Go all out for a particular holiday
    • Cook certain recipes
    • Make a fitness goal
    • Find a fitness source
    • Get a tattoo
    • Change your appearance
    • Start a garden
    • Attend a particular event

How to Plan a Great Year