Planning ahead


Planning my year

When a year ends and a new begins, a lot of us has the tradition to look back at the year that has passed, learn from it and then set goals for the year to come. Really, this can be done at any time of year – but I find that around New Years it’s sort of in the atmosphere.

Why is planning my year important?

It gives me focus. The statistics show that if you set goals, and regularly review them, you achieve more, are more successful. I do it to keep me focused on the things I want to do, the things I want to change.

You see, I know my mind has a weakness for distractions. For taking the easy way out if something feels hard to do. So by planning my year out, I know what I want to achieve and I can reverse engineer and schedule it.

It gives me peace of mind. By planning what I want to get done I can see what it takes for me to get there and if it’s doable. I can see where I might have a challenge and where I need to tweak something.

It gives me a breadth of view and less stress. It helps me not take on too much and be realistic about what I can achieve in a month. I can plan ahead.


What’s in my plan, then?

I start with my intentions.

What’s my overall intention for this year?

I ask myself What matters most to me right now?

What contribution do I want to make to the world (the world is a big word, I know – but feel free to replace it with ‘my world’ or ‘my life’)?

What do I want to create? What projects align with my intentions?

What do I need to do to make my intentions happen?


I look at my finances, create a budget – how much do I need to cover my costs.

What exhibitions, fairs and awards do I want to apply for?

How will I tell the story of my intentions?

Once the overview is starting to form a pattern or feels good – I work into the details. I break it down into what I need to do each month, each week and each day to make it happen.

What do I need to stop doing, and what new habits do I want to create?

What are my Most Important Tasks/Projects for the next 3 months? This is where I usually find that I have been in SuperWoman mode, and I need to push some projects so I don’t get overwhelmed, not try to do everything at once.


Leave room for flexibility.

I can’t predict the future, and my plan isn’t foolproof. It’s a guideline. It’s a course of direction I set out, and it needs to be reviewed and adjusted, so I plan to do that every month.

Time is an entity we can’t manipulate, and even though I sometimes find myself wishing I was further along, closer to my goal – I try to remind myself that there is only now and that life is a journey made of now-moments.


As this is an ongoing process of fine tuning my planning skills, I’m always on the lookout for new ways to crack the goal reaching mystery, so if you have any tips – please share your new years planning process in the comments below.