Making plans and promises for the new year - what not to do

Breaking out of this yearly tradition. Here's my system (part I).

Last updated on 31 December 2023. Created on 10 January 2022.

Generally, the time between Christmas and New Years is spent idling by most people.

Many people from my circle of friends use this time to do things they have been putting off for a long time. Many others, in addition, also use this period to look back and see what went well and what didn't. This can happen on a personal level or a professional level.

Regardless, the most common theme is to set out objectives for the next year. If your list of promises for the next year includes things like:

  • Next year I will be healthier
  • Next year I will earn more money etc., let me tell you, you are not that special :)

The first thing that you can do is set some SMART objectives.

Doing this helps you achieve clarity. That clarity can help you plan better. Breaking one item into smaller steps. These steps should also use the SMART criteria.

Basically, it makes things more manageable. Therefore, your chances of success improve dramatically.

The one thing most of us are missing: FOCUS

What I really wanted to share with this article is the second step you can do in the right direction. The next level. How to avoid the most common mistake usually made on January of each year.

The SMART criteria I mentioned earlier works for each individual item on the list. But it doesn't help at all with the entire list. Therefore, you need a macro view of all the items on the list, where you are now, where you want to go and what resources you have available.

This macro view can be achieved using a system. So here's mine.

  1. Add each item from your objectives lists into a category.

    • The maximum number of categories is around 6.
    • These categories can be: social, finance, education, health, family
  2. You might end up with only one or two categories, or with all of them. Choose the top 2 most important ones.

    • Determine the most important ones by thinking which of them need more of your attention this year.
  3. For each top category, choose one bold objective.

    • It should be inspirational.
    • It should be somewhat achievable.
    • Usually it means that it needs some time until it is completed (6-10 months).
  4. If you are left with other bold objectives on the list, put them in the backlog.

    • Any remaining bold objectives should be put on paused.
    • Keep them on a secondary list in case you finish one of the first ones earlier.
  5. For each category, have two or three other objectives set.

    • These should not be very bold.
    • They must be achievable.
    • The necessary time-frame for each should be around 2-4 months.

Great job!

Now you find yourself in a perfect position. You have a couple of bold objectives set out for the entire year improving two different areas of your life. You also have some other smaller objectives to help you maintain momentum and to help you maintain or have a happy life. Each of these have been set using the SMART criteria. This means that they are measurable and clear. They have a time-frame etc.

You can now start working on them.

So you have properly set out your plan and objectives. Want more? Check out part II of this system and see how to stick to your plan!

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