You may have fun New Year’s Eve plans already—a nice dinner at a fancy restaurant or a fun party with your nearest and dearest. And, if you’re anything like us, you also have big plans leading up to that special evening . . . to plan for the new year!

Though we’re big advocates of planning all year long, there’s a certain magic in creating sacred space to sit down and plan out the year ahead right before the new year. It feels like a fresh start—filled with new opportunities, important changes, healthy habits, and more.

Of course, we’re not suggesting you overwhelm yourself with unrealistic resolutions or make yourself feel badly about how this past year went. (In fact, if you’re looking for the right way to reflect on your year, last week’s post has got you covered.) Quite the contrary…

We think planning for the year ahead should be a fun, intentional, and inspiring process that builds upon everything you’re already doing right and the good feelings you want to feel! Here are five tips to help you do that:

Set Aside the Time

Start with your Day Designer! Pull it out and set aside a block of time to plan for your next year. And really give yourself the space to do it! Give yourself a full morning or evening or a spare couple of hours on a weekend afternoon. This can and should be a leisurely process—not one where you feel rushed to make a plan, and design a year that doesn’t truly fit with what you want to do and how you want to feel. And make it enticing for yourself, too! This isn’t homework, after all. You get to create the assignment—and no matter what you come up with, you get an “A” for participating. How can you make this yearly planning time as joyful as possible? Maybe you do it after a bubble bath or with a glass of tea or wine at hand? Give yourself the gift of this time and let yourself enjoy every second of it.

Create Your Vision

This is not just about creating resolutions; this is about getting clear on what you want your life to feel and look like. This is about designing your life! So think big and get creative, use your imagination and get really clear on your vision for the next year of your life. Who will you spend time with? What activities will you do the most? Where will you travel—or will you purposely spend more time at home? Again, there are no wrong answers; just envision a life that you’re really excited to live! Then think: What are the actions or goals or resolutions that will get me there? (And if you need help coming up with new goals for the new year, we’ve got the perfect printable for you!) You might even pick a word that represents your theme for the year or how you want to feel overall! Write down as many details as you can from your vision—and make a list of the goals that will get you there.

Plan Your Goals for Different Seasons

Have you ever made a list of New Year’s resolutions, then tried to accomplish them all in the first month of the year? How’d that work out for you? All teasing aside, it’s important to be realistic about what you can accomplish within a day, a week, a month—or even a year! Now that you know what you want to get done or what you want to change, get out your planner again and assign one or two (maybe three!) goals to each season of the next year. For you that might be the actual seasons (winter, spring, summer, fall) or you might assign a few goals to Q1, Q2, Q3, and Q4. However you structure it, limit yourself to a few goals for each part of the year—knowing that you can be flexible and change your mind as the year progresses—and relax into knowing you don’t have to overhaul your entire life in January.

Recruit Your Team

As fun as it can be to plan for the year ahead, it can start to feel overwhelming, too. It’s helpful to remember that you don’t have to do it alone—not the goals on your list or life, in general. You likely already have a pretty solid team in your life. It might include your partner, your kids, your best friend, and your mom. Or perhaps you’re feeling like you could use a little more support—either from the folks already in your life or from new connections you’ve yet to meet! As you’re planning, ask yourself who can support you best in the next year? Not just with your goals, but in your life overall—who are the people who have consistently shown up for you . . . and who can you show up for next year, too? And if you’re feeling like you want to recruit more people to your “life team,” where will you find them? How will you put yourself out there and make new connections? Get clear on the relationships that best support you, and on the support you still need. But keep in mind that support is always available to you—and will make accomplishing your goals for the next year easier than ever!

Make Planning a Regular Practice

Planning for the next year is such a fun exercise, but it’s even more valuable when it becomes a regular practice. So much can change in a year—or even a couple of months—and when you make time to sit down and reflect on your life regularly, you’re given the unique opportunity to make changes as you go and ensure you’re continuing to live the life you’ve designed. And don’t leave these planning dates to chance! Mark the time on your calendar now: once a month, once a week, or every single day if it suits you. Give yourself the gift of living a life of intention and purpose—the one that fits perfectly into your plan.

Have you started planning for the new year yet? Share your planning practice and maybe a goal or two with us in the comments below.


Get Ready for 2018 | Live Planning Workshop | Day Designer

Imagine embarking on 2018 with the courage and inspiration to accomplish what’s most important to you. Gain the encouragement and motivation you need to finally uncover your values, prioritize, set aligned goals, and ultimately plan your year. Learn how to achieve your goals—while staying true to yourself.

In partnership with our friends at Blue Sky, join Day Designer founder Whitney English as she walks through her own personal HEART Goals method. Sign up today! RSVP is required to attend this private webinar! Spots are limited!


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