Last week, we talked about reflecting on your year, and this week we’ll focus on planning for the next one! You know how we love planning around here.

We all know what we should do—there’s no shortage of social media connections and advertisements telling us that—but what about the intentions and goals that are based upon the person that you know you want to be, not what you think you should do? We believe that we need to plan our lives (and design our New Year’s resolutions!) around ourselves and around the authentic lives that we want to lead.

It starts with some foundational work; with brainstorming and reflecting and planning that helps you figure out exactly what you want to accomplish in 2018.

These are just a few of our favorite tips to help you set that foundation and start planning for a successful new year!

Ask Yourself How You Want to Feel

There’s nothing wrong with resolutions like “work out more” or “spend more time with my kids,” but if those are just arbitrary goals — “should dos” that are disconnected from who you want to be and how you want to feel — it’s unlikely those resolutions will stick around ‘til February.

Let’s start by simply asking those questions:

Who do you want to be in 2017?

How do you want to feel in 2017?

What are the goals that will get you there? That’s your focus, and nothing else.

Create a Crazy List

Creating a crazy list is quite simple—you just write down the things you want to do. The caveat is: you can’t be reasonable. These are not goals (yet), so let yourself dream big, and don’t limit yourself to just what feels possible or realistic . . . though those things are welcome too, if you really want to do them! Writing down your ambitions—however crazy they may seem now—tucks them away into your subconscious. Even if you forget about your list (though we doubt you will!), your list won’t forget about you!

Set Balanced Goals

Developed by Day Designer founder Whitney English, we often talk about HEART goals—a flexible framework for goal-setting focused on five different life segments (in this order of priority!): Help Yourself, Everyone Else, Attitude & Academics, Resources, and Trade & Career. With a well-rounded focus, this framework can help you set balanced goals—in every area of your life—that you can actually achieve. You might set your HEART goals every month or you might just do it once a year. Whenever life feels out of balance, you can refer back to this order of priorities.

Choose a Word For the Year

Finally, set a theme for your year by picking one word that encapsulates who you want to be, what you want to accomplish, and how you want to feel. It might be “Freedom,” “Confidence,” “Love,” “Fearless” or something else entirely. It doesn’t really matter what the word is, so long as it resonates with you. Look back on the notes you’ve made so far in this planning session: How do you want to feel? What’s on your crazy list? What are your HEART goals? Is there a theme that stands out—one word that captures the essence of your plans?

Give yourself time to brainstorm the one word that brings it all together; then, write that word down and keep it where you can see it (in your Day Designer, on your computer desktop, on your fridge, on your bathroom mirror, on all of the above). Let it serve as a reminder of how you want to live your best year yet!

What is your word for the year? Share yours with us in the comments below.

Day Designer is the strategic planner and daily agenda for living a well-designed life. It offers goal-setting worksheets plus yearly, monthly, and daily overview pages—with generous line spacing for handwritten notes and scheduling. There’s even a prompt for your word for the year! Take a look at the Day Designer Flagship Collection today.