Well, didn’t 2018 whizz by? In a month’s time, a lot of people will be talking about New Year’s resolutions; I actually don’t think those are very productive, but that’s a different blog post.
That said, business can slow down in December and you hopefully have a break planned. That makes this a very natural time to think, review, and plan.
I think the best way to plan for 2019 is to look back as well as forwards. You can use the same methods to do both.
People tend to focus on one or two areas, but that can be a bit vague. “What do you want” is one of the hardest questions to answer. I encourage people to look at five areas when they think about what they want: Who, What, Be, Do, and Have.
Let’s have a look at each one.
WHO is Important to You?
Spending your time with the right people leads to health and happiness. People that spend time with the wrong people (or no people at all) are usually the unhealthiest and unhappiest.
Start by making a list of the people who are most important to you. Think about how much you want to see them as well. For example, you might want to see your partner once a day, but you might be happy enough only seeing your best friend from school twice a year.
Of those people on your list, how many of them have you seen this year? And how often? Did you get what you wanted from the relationship? If you didn’t see them enough, why not? Did something get in the way, or did you just forget to make time to see them?
As you do this exercise, don’t be surprised to realise it’s time to add or remove someone from the list.
Make some plans now to see all those people. If you haven’t spent enough time with your partner, set a “date night”. If you haven’t seen your best friend from school enough, pick up the phone and make the plans right now.
WHAT is Important to You?
This can be all sorts of things from just having some personal time to world peace. Try to narrow it down to just a few things. They can be a bit philosophical, but you need concrete answers. I have two main things that are important to me, freedom and health.
Did you have plenty of the things that are important to you in 2018? If not, why not? What helped you get closer to the things that are important to you, and what held you back from them?
This is very simple. How can you get more of the things that are important to you in your life? For example, 10 years ago I realised freedom was very important to me. I could see that my job was limiting my freedom, so I started planning and working towards being self-employed.
What do you want to BE?
This is about how you want to think of yourself and have others think of you. You might want to be successful, happy, generous, or influential. This is a very subjective one. Go for a list of 10-20 words or phrases you want to apply to you.
Break up that list you just made and next to each bit write down all the things that help or prevent you from being able to describe yourself in that way. If you want to be happy, but aren’t; what makes you happy and what makes you unhappy?
You’ve got a list of words and phrases, now work out what you can do so that those can apply to you. For example, if you want to be thought of as generous, perhaps you can volunteer at a homeless shelter once a month or something similar.
What do you want to DO?
This is where you can put all the things you’ve always wanted to do. As with any goals, this will be very personal. Some examples might be learning a language or driving a racing car or raising money for charity. This is a bucket list sort of thing.
Did you do anything in 2018 from your bucket list? If you did, what helped you get there? If not, what held you back?
Pick some things from your bucket list and put together a plan to do them in 2019. This might be quite straightforward; you might just need a certain amount of money to be able to pay to do the thing. It could be a bit more complicated, but get a plan in place to do that thing. In this case, it’s probably best to work backwards from the goal.
What Do You Want To HAVE?
This one is usually a bit more materialistic. There’s nothing wrong with a bit of materialism. Those real things that we see every day, can give us a lasting sense of achievement that are hard to get any other way.
Don’t forget about the things you want to keep. It’s too easy to focus on the things we don’t have, and lose the things we already have in the process. The simple fact that you’re able to read this article means you’ve got quite a lot already. Don’t forget to appreciate it.
Pick a few things that you want to have. Perhaps a bigger house or a new car. Figure out the steps you need to get those things.
Once you’ve looked at those five areas, you can make a full plan for 2019 (and beyond). Put them on a vision board if you like – that way you’ll have them front of mind all the time, and you’re more likely to realise them.
By the way, you don’t necessarily have to share these goals with all and sundry. Sure, you can tell some people if you want them to hold you accountable (a coach is a good one for this), but sharing them with everyone can be counterproductive. Here’s an interesting article I came across called: Why I’m not sharing my 2019 goals.
And remember that when setting goals; they have to be fun and exciting, or at the very least meaningful to you. Otherwise you simply won’t do what’s needed to achieve them.
Good luck and have fun!