Top 5 things to do as you plan for the year ahead

People typically associate the new year with hope — a time for fulfilling plans, whether those are financial, personal or professional.

The past year is finally over and you can now look forward to what the new year has in store. While it’s also possible things won’t be so different from the last, you still need to plan for the year ahead. Why?


Because planning will keep you focused on your goals, whether it involves getting a promotion, making a career shift, becoming financially independent, or something else. You just need to make room for the unexpected in your planning so you’ll know what to do when things go awry.

To help increase your chances of following through on your plans this year, here are 5 things you should do:

1. Remember what happened last year.

The only way to know why things didn’t work out as planned last year is by looking back and assessing what happened.

Come up with a list of three things (or more) that you achieved. Then make a list of three things (or more) that didn’t work out. Know what you did right and what items need work. Include your past unfulfilled goals this year if they align with your new objectives (see #3 below).

2. Distinguish your professional from your personal plans.

Instead of lumping your professional and personal plans together, keep them separate. This way, you can set realistic goals that are achievable.

Rather than planning your work and personal activities as if you have 24 hours for each, remember to squeeze in only what you can accomplish within 24 hours. Make sure you get adequate sleep, eat nutritious meals and exercise.

3. Be specific about your goals.

Set SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, timely) goals for this year.

Specify the steps you must take to accomplish each goal. Note down possible challenges that may crop up along the way and come up with a plan (or plans) to avert or deal with those obstacles.

4. Put together a NOT-to-do list.

Making a list of distracting, time-wasting and unproductive habits you need to avoid will help you in cultivating good ones or improving upon what you’re already doing right.

Getting these out of the way will also help enhance productivity — whether at home or work. If you’re used to taking on more work than you should, this not-to-do list can also serve as a reminder to delegate tasks to others.

5. Include plans focused on yourself.

As you plan for the year ahead, don’t forget to make time for yourself. Schedule holiday or vacation days and time for doing the things you love. Remember those feelings of being burned out in the past?

Working all the time isn’t healthy and won’t help with productivity either, so set aside time for self-care.

Make the best of this year

Last year may not have been all you hoped it to be. Therefore, it’s crucial to sit down and contemplate upon what you want to achieve this year.

By following the tips above, you’re on your way to having a fulfilling and successful year.



If this article has inspired you to think about your own unique situation and, more importantly, what you and your family are going through right now, please contact your advice professional.

This information does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any person. Before making a decision, you should consider whether it is appropriate in light of your particular objectives, financial situation or needs.

(Feedsy Exclusive)


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