Planning Your Year

Jan 1, 2021 | Blog

How does your garden grow

Planning Your Year

How to Set Yourself Up for Success in 2021


Now that you’ve Named Your Year, (and if you haven’t, go back and check out my last post), it’s time to flesh things out and create more substantial goals for the year. To show you how it’s done, I’ll walk you through how I built my past year(credit goes to my friend Trace Moriarty who I adapted this framework from):

2020 – Year of the Helping Hand!

The name of the year is your ultimate purpose for the year. Once you feel good about the name, take the process deeper by developing some themes related to what you want to achieve. With your focus on the purpose, look for overarching ideas that fit under that umbrella. I start by framing out moments I know will happen in the following year, as well as specific things I want to focus on. That led me to these themes:

  • Helping Hand empowers people
  • Helping Hand is more attentive
  • Helping Hand focuses on more impactful moments
  • Helping Hand is good to myself and others
  • Helping Hand sets reasonable expectations
  • Helping Hand is AWESOME

Once you have your themes, think about more specific things you want to work on that fall under each theme. I use the following categories to organize my ideas, but you can use whatever makes sense for you:

Relationships (Personal), Self-Improvement, Physical Health, Professional Life, Creativity, Mental and Emotional Health, and Fiscal Health (Money). 

For each category (we’ll use Self-Improvement as an example below), create a few subcategories and pair them with a snappy phrase (i.e. Take time to be mindful). I think of these subcategories as pillars or touchstones. Then I add some tasks with specifics (i.e. Meditate twice a day at regular times) to turn them into goals and make them less ambiguous. 1UP: You’re more likely to achieve tangible results if you add numbers and dates.

Self-Improvement: Improve in Steps!

  • Take time to be mindful

            o Meditate twice a day at regular times

            o Meditate more if I can

            o Watch my thoughts

  • Make learning a priority by carving out time to take structured lessons:

            o Complete 2 Udemy classes a month

            o Learn something new with my wife

            o Attend a meditation workshop

  • Learn to play the guitar 

            o Practice once per day

            o Learn one song per month

  • Try 12 new recipes this year, at least one per month

Once I have my categories planned out, I make sure they all tie into the overarching theme. I also make sure my tasks line up with my touchstones. This is an important one – if you want to go on a big trip, one of your tasks should be finding the money to do so. Then I plug all my tasks into my calendar for the year and add each action item to my digital to-do list. (I like to use because they have good plugins.) Sometimes I don’t get to all of my tasks, but it reminds me to do them and inspires me to keep working away at it.

When everything is planned out and plugged in, accountability and sharing become key. Every month I write a recap of what I’ve accomplished and share what I’ve achieved with friends. If I complete a task or goal, I high-five myself. If something is too easy, I revamp my goals and up the difficulty. If I don’t accomplish my tasks, I re-evaluate and adjust. Regardless, I always try to give myself three months to accomplish something before giving up. If I don’t get to it within three months, it wasn’t that important, or it wasn’t the right time to accomplish it. Either way, it reminds me to stick to what’s important.

Ultimately, I know I won’t achieve everything on my list and sometimes it takes time to find clarity. However, as long as I’m putting one foot in front of the other, and I’m not walking in circles, I’m accomplishing something, and that’s the whole point.

What about you? Are you ready to take the next step forward? Do you like structure? Accountability? If so, why not plan your year? I know I will be for 2021 – Year of Walking with Giants. Please join me! And if you’re looking for an accountabilibuddy – you can hire me as a coach! 


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