New Year. New Plan.

new year. new plan
new year. new plan
Photo by Ketino Photography

Do you feel like you didn’t accomplish what you set out to do last year? Or, like you are fed up with how things are going and you need a change? Sometimes you gotta get it wrong before you can get it right. Right?

It’s a new year. Time to re-focus and start fresh.

Take out a clean sheet of paper and a pen. Make sure you have about an hour free, to answer these questions and create your plan for the new year. 

1. What were my epic fails, let downs or things (let’s be honest) I half-assed this year, that could have gone better?

2. What are three things I can do this year to ensure a more successful outcome in those areas?

3. What is one thing that has been bugging me lately, that I wish were different?

4. What is one thing I can do to change the answer to #3? (Think small and doable.)

5. What are my intentions for the new year in these areas:

  • Career
  • Health
  • Relationships
  • Self-care
  • Self-improvement and/or education

6. What is one thing I can do in each one of these areas to ensure my intentions get seen through?

7. What are three trips I would like to take this year (big or small)?

8. Set a tentative date right now for each trip. Add a reminder in your calendar for each one, two months prior to that date, so that you have plenty of time to plan it.

9. What is one thing I will eliminate from my life this year, in order to have more time for the things that are most important to me?

10. What are my top three priorities right now? (They can change throughout the year.)

Now it’s time to create a system, so this worksheet doesn’t end up at the bottom of that stack of papers on your desk, only to be forgotten about. 

First, set up two calendars.
One for your work life and one for your personal life.

In the personal calendar block out the times when you are working (including your commute, checking email at home and out of office meetings).

In the work calendar block out time for your personal life.

Using your New Year’s plan, schedule the action steps that you can take this year, into the appropriate calendar, to ensure the success of your goals and intentions.

For example, let’s say your top three priorities are “lose 5 pounds”, “save more money for retirement” and eat more vegetables. Then, in your personal calendar, you could schedule in one hour of exercise at the same time every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, have a reminder set on the last day of every month to transfer money into your retirement account and schedule in a trip to the farmers market every Saturday morning.

After you are done scheduling in all of your action steps in order to accomplish this years goals, start looking at your daily schedule. Are you giving yourself enough time everyday to fit everything in?

If not, start looking at areas where you can trim and/or delegate.  This could mean starting to use a grocery delivery service, committing to checking email only twice a day or working out at home in order to save time traveling to the gym.

Essentially, you are creating your ideal schedule. Something you think you can realistically stick to.

Create chunks of time each day designated to the things that are most important to you. Then, focus on sticking to the scope of those chunks no matter what happens.

For example, if you have a chunk of time carved out each week for your social life and your friend cancel’s brunch one week, don’t fill that time with work or house chores instead. Schedule brunch with a different friend or go be social at your neighborhood coffee shop. Whatever you do just don’t give up that chunk! Overtime, the more you give it up the more you will turn it into a different chunk until you wake up one day and you no longer have time for a social life. See what I mean?

Scheduling your life into chunks of time each day enables you to have time to do everything that’s important to you, build routines and create good habits. They become your boundaries.

Sticking to your boundaries is how you are going to carry out those New Year’s intentions instead of getting knocked off course this year.

The more decisions you make right now, the easier it will be to carry out your ideal schedule later when you are tired or stressed. And the more boundaries you set and (more importantly) stick to the less you become overwhelmed and likely to make decisions you will regret later.

So, let’s make a plan, stick to it and get ready to kick some ass in the new year, shall we?

Do you have your new year’s plan dialed in? What is your secret to setting yourself up for success? Tell us all about it in the comments section. And if you liked this article I invite you to subscribe to The Healthy Locavore for more on how to eat local, live well, cook healthier and support each other. I am so grateful for this community, thank you so much for being a part of it!

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Sarah Burchard is the author of The Healthy Locavore, a natural foods chef and certified health coach whose writing centers around holistic health, supporting community and eating locally grown and made food.