Ready or not, the new year is looming. Do you have an action plan for success? The holiday season is here and while we are thinking about presents, ornaments, family dinners and parties with friends, we also need think about setting ourselves up for success in the next year. Here are a few of the steps I’m taking in the next month to create an action plan for next year.
What is a Word of the Year?
I heard about this concept a few years ago and immediately fell in love with it. The idea is to pick one word or phrase to focus on for the year. Most people say they feel pulled in a certain direction or to a specific word. There are several guides out there to help you figure out your word for the year as well.
Essentially, think about what needs to change in your life and what kind of focus you need to make those changes. Do you need courage because it’s going to be a difficult year? Do you need rest since you’ve been running yourself ragged for far too long?
Last year, my word was oriented. I saw it as a compass. I could spend hours, days spinning my wheels on things that really don’t matter much in the long run. I needed to be more goal -focused, not afraid to put aside the things that no longer match my purpose. As an Upholder personality, I often felt obligated to do all the things, but I have to admit that it’s not possible and shed what no longer fits my life. This last year I accomplished goals (like starting this blog!) and left behind some things that don’t matter.
This year, my word is going in a completely different direction. Somehow I know without a doubt that my word of the year is celebrate. This year my oldest child starts his final year at the school he is currently attending. He’ll move on to high school after his graduation. My youngest child will go to school for the first time in the fall. In between, we’ll have birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, school programs, family gatherings, friends having babies and so much more.
I want to enjoy those moments, big and little. I don’t want to be so focused on work or home maintenance that I forget to fully enjoy the warm summer sun or the first pink flower buds in the spring. I want to notice all there is to celebrate. And take the time to enjoy the celebrations with the people I love.
Daily Action Plan for Success in a Bullet Journal
I still need some structure in my life though. After several years of using a bullet journal, I’m honing in on what I really need and what is no longer useful for me. I have been working on a more effective set up for next year. I’m keeping my basic weekly structure the same, but making other changes. After reading the book Willpower Doesn’t Work, I learned I need to make fewer decisions on a daily basis.
For everything I need to do daily, I will have a line on my monthly goal page. Having it in writing eliminates the need to make decisions about what needs done each day. This will include the new habits I’m trying to create. Washing dishes and doing laundry need done every day. I’m still trying to get in the habit of meditating (like The Big Leap encourages) and drink enough water. These ALL go on this page.
I will only work on one new habit at a time, but I need to make sure I’m not ignoring the good habits I worked on before. I want to continue those habits while building new ones.
Another habit I want to cultivate is having morning and evening routines. I know these will change when my kids are out of school for the summer and again when they all go to school for the first time in the fall. But when life changes, so can my routine. Doing the same things in the same order will also eliminate the need for decision making on the spot. This needs to include the things I expect my kids to do daily as well.
How do I Make Better To-Do Lists?
I’m maintaining my weekly spread in my bullet journal, but I am adding lots of space for to-do lists. I have tried in the past to keep my to-do lists short so as not to overwhelm myself. While I do need to prioritize my tasks, I need a place to brain dump all the things that need done. Outsourcing the remembering part is what I need most.
In order to accomplish this, I’m going to follow these steps:
- As soon as I think of or know something that needs done, it goes on the running list.
- If it has a due date or must be done on a certain day or week, I add it to my calendar.
- If it’s something that can be done in less than five minutes, do it now or put it on the list for this week.
- If it’s a reoccurring task, assign it a day or week and put it in the annual schedule.
- If the task doesn’t fit in any of these categories, decide if it is either a top priority for this week or something that goes in long-term project. I have a wish list for the year which includes things like creating photo books of our vacations and cleaning out the basement. They don’t have a specific date, but I am putting them on a list for the year.
Realistically, only one big thing will get done each day. If it’s not high enough priority to get my full attention that day, it’s probably a wish list item.
How do You Develop a Plan?
Another new plan I am trying this year is an annual flow chart. I developed one for cleaning the house, including all the things I need to do weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, bi-annually and annually. No longer will I wonder when the last time I cleaned the ceiling fans was. I’ll have a plan to tackle all the major areas of the house that need cleaned on a regular basis.
I also have a flow chart for work. I have to do some office tasks (which I don’t enjoy) so I developed a flow chart for when taxes are due, who needs paid when and when invoices need to be printed and mailed. No more being surprised with an e-mail from Uncle Sam!
I’m doing a similar plan for this blog. I’ve set a goal of how often I want to post, e-mail and share on social media. The decision is already made. I just have to follow through.
How do you beat decision fatigue?
In order to really celebrate all the large and small victories this next year, I need to eliminate decision fatigue from my life. For me, that means making as many decisions in advance as I can. In my weekly Sunday planning session, I’m going to make thorough lists of what needs done that week, what I can realistically accomplish and how I plan to stay on top of my schedule. Not having to decide where to best spend my time will free me up to think about all the good things I can’t wait for and share the fun with the people around me.
If you are looking for a pre-made planner that will set you up for success, check out the Slay Your Goals planner (affiliate link)!
How are you planning for next year to eliminate stress and cut back on decision fatigue? What are your goals?