Plan for an Awesome 2024!Dec 20, 2023
The beginning of a new year is often when we make resolutions and plans for the year ahead.
Quite often these don’t survive the first month of the year, and there are a few reasons that could be the cause:
- There are just too many resolutions and it’s overwhelming to keep track of them, let alone achieve them!
- They aren’t specific enough, which makes them difficult to achieve and maintain.
- They don’t really mean enough to you to actual put in the consistent, disciplined effort.
- The distance between now and the goal itself seems too difficult to achieve, so you give up after focusing too much on the chasm, rather than focusing on your progress.
I’ve been there too, believe me. Even in 2021 I wrote out my plans for the year and then misplaced the notebook I had written them in! I then started again and this time kept them in my phone.
For myself, I need a goal (or resolution or intention - whichever word you prefer) to be simple and specific. I can then grab hold of it and work towards it. Because we are all different, there are also different ways to set and track goals.
My brain likes to categorise things and create “order” and ways to remember things more easily. Here are the steps I use (to download my free 2024 Goal Setting Template, click here):
STEP 1: Categorise your life into 8 Areas. These are mine:
STEP 2: List out 3 things that you have done or achieved in the last year that you’re grateful for and happy with, in each of these Areas. Once you have done this exercise, you can use it the following year to help with this step. For me, I take this exercise that I did for 2022 and see what I achieved on that, and then I add to it if there have been other things (which they’re usually are).
I like to tick things off a list, so I literally take a pen and physically check off the items as I do them, so by the time I do my “retrospective review”, I’m already aware of what I’ve done through the year.
This is important, as you will often have done more than you realise (and it’s important to celebrate this! I love celebrating). Or, you may have drifted off track and it’s a good way to see if the drift is a good thing or something you need to course-correct on.
Often we function on auto-pilot and do the same things, the same way, day in and day out. This isn’t how you’re going to get where you want to go. That takes being present, conscious and deliberate with your actions. It isn’t sexy, but consistency and discipline do get you where you want to go. What you need to figure out is where you’re headed though. It doesn’t mean you can’t change direction, but without some idea, it’s difficult to set intentions, or goals or resolutions.
If you need help in this area, I have a very low cost Lifestyle & Money Visioning meditation, which will set you up the path to figuring out where you’re headed.
STEP 3: Identify the 3 Areas that you will make your priorities in the coming year - the Areas of Your My Life wheel that you want to progress in the most. For example, you might want to prioritise Work, Finances and Physical Health.
Or, you might have aging parents, or a family member in ill-health that you need to focus on. For example, a few years ago my father needed quite a bit of my help, so Family got a lot more attention than usual that year. It wasn’t on my list, so I ended up with 4 Life Area priorities that year!
STEP 4: List out up to 3 goals per Area of Your Life that you would like to achieve or experience progress in this year. Sometimes these are goals from last year that you didn’t quite achieve – and that’s OK. I don’t beat myself up about not achieving a goal. I do some self-reflection to understand if I’m self-sabotaging, or if there was a genuine reason why it didn’t happen. Then I take that learning and move forward.
I’m sure you’ve heard of S.M.A.R.T goals, and even though it’s a pretty old concept by now, it is still valid. To remind you, here is what it stands for:
Each one of these is incredibly important. I often see people set goals that aren’t specific enough, and they’re difficult to connect with if you can’t actually figure out how to make it a reality. As an example, one of my early goals was to add into my super account the superannuation guarantee limit for the year, which by now is $27,500 per year. Then, once I reached that my goal was to invest $500 per month outside of super. Now I invest between $1,000 and $1,500 consistently outside of super. Then I have other investing goals, including for my daughter. That’s just one goal for the my Life Area of Financial.
STEP 5: This is the final step, and it’s to connect regular habits with your goals, and the steps you will take to achieve the goal you have set yourself. You can take habits on a daily basis (like exercise, meditation or journalling, as examples), on a weekly basis (like a yoga class, reading a certain number of chapters in a book, keeping to a grocery budget, as examples), or on a monthly basis (like saving or investing a certain amount, going on a date night, or attending a book club, as examples).
That’s it! This process can take anywhere from 30 minutes to over an hour – depending on how practised you are at knowing what you want, and how you get things done.
It is well worth putting the effort into this process the first time, and then tracking your progress, as it feels great to achieve the things you want (not what life throws at you). Plus, it’s a great way to feel more in control and calm about your life, knowing that you can do something to influence the results that you experience.
Enjoy this process, and make 2024 your best year yet!