I know I’ve mentioned this before, but January is my favorite month of the year. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I really dislike the bitter cold in New England. But I love, love, love taking the whole month to plan the year ahead. There’s just something so motivating and inspiring about having a whole 12-month stretch ahead of you to dream up whatever you want to do! In today’s episode, we’re going to be chatting about the best way to plan your year.
This may be an unpopular opinion, but I give myself the entire month to reflect, create and strategize goals for the year ahead. I used to rush to try to make them come together in the week after Christmas. That changed after kids though, when it feels like a bomb went off in your house and you’re so exhausted from December that you can barely string together a coherent thought.
So mama, give yourself permission to take all the time that you need to set meaningful goals that will actually help you move towards your dream life vision. Gone are the days of picking an arbitrary goal, just so you don’t feel like a slacker on New Year’s Eve. No more “I’m going to lose 10 pounds this year!” or “I’m going to yell at my kids less.” None of those are going to move you towards your dream life vision, so we need to dig deeper than that. Let’s do this!
My first step when planning for the year ahead is to do an annual review. We talked about this extensively back in episode 26. If you missed that, you’re going to want to hit pause and check that out first. Basically, an annual review is the time I set aside in December to reflect on the previous year. I do a four-step process, broken up over the course of the month. I complete a time log, a calendar reflection, answer personal reflection questions and do a business review.
The annual review is important because it helps you examine where you are coming from. Was last year awesome? Perfect, your momentum is high, let’s keep this party going. Was last year a dumpster fire? Okie dokie, we may need to give yourself some grace and some extra time on the runway. I really recommend that you don’t skip this reflection step when you are getting ready to set goals for the upcoming year.
While I don’t generally take a lot of time to do visualization exercises, I do generally enjoy pondering the question: what do I want my life to look like on December 31, 2023? 365 days from now, who do I want to be? What do I want to have accomplished? For me, this is the perfect prompt because a year doesn’t feel so long that you can’t imagine it. At the same time, it’s not so short that you feel as though there isn’t time to get anything done.
Let’s do this exercise together now. Take out your MAP Book and write at the top “Where I want to be on December 31, 2023”. Set a timer for 15 minutes and do a thought download. Allow yourself to dream. What would you like to accomplish, experience, celebrate?
Here is my list: by the end of 2023, I would like to:
Even just writing these things out gets me excited for the new year! Now, it’s important that you don’t stop the process here. These aren’t goals, they are end results from the goals that you set. This is just the dream stage, where you begin to see what’s possible. We’ll get into setting actual yearly goals in the next step.
Two steps later and it’s finally time to think about your yearly goals! Are you beginning to see why it takes me the entire month of January to do this process? I first shared about how I set yearly goals using PowerSheets back in episode 25. If you’ve never used PowerSheets before, I definitely recommend them. I love the process that it walks you through, complete with videos. A lot of the content overlaps with my own process here, so it’s not something you must invest in. However, if you are a structured person, this may be helpful for you!
At this point, I take my end of 2023 dream list and begin to turn the end results into action steps. What do I need to do to make sure that I am holding a published book in my hand by December 2023? Well, I need to write the dang book. OK, how am I going to do that? I am going to wake up an hour before my kids every day and write at least 1000 words a day. Boom. That’s the goal.
Let’s break down another goal for the sake of the example. One of our financial goals this year is to save up 50% of a down payment for our future lake house. We’re estimating 50% to be about $40,000 – that’s a decent amount of money! Now it’s time to brainstorm … what could I do to make sure that we are bringing home an extra $40K? Well, my husband is a teacher, so it’s unlikely he’ll be getting a $40K bonus this year. That means I will have to plan to make that happen with my business. I will need to create some passive income streams to bring in some additional cash flow. This will turn into the goal: I will make $40,000 in passive income products. I can break it down further later, but for right now, I’d say that is a pretty lofty goal!
Speaking of lofty goals, don’t be afraid to go big here. I am a big believer of putting what you want out into the universe. It’s only January. Aim high and adjust later.
After you have created your personal goals for the entire year, you can begin to break those down into quarterly goals. What’s a quarterly goal? It’s a goal that takes about 3 months to accomplish. You definitely don’t want to have too many of these, I generally have between 1-2 for my personal life. Then I have separate goals for my family and my business that are quarterly.
The next step in this process is to create family goals. I have done this several different ways over the year. When my kids were young, my husband and I would do this process together. We would think of 12 things we wanted to do over the course of the year – experiences we wanted our kids to have and skills we wanted to develop. We would post these goals on our refrigerator. Then every time we found ourselves with “What should we do this weekend?”, we would have a great starting point.
As our kids got older, our goal process has evolved to include them. In 2022, we decided that we wanted to explore different passions as a family. We assigned each month a passion area – such as animals, woodworking, learning Spanish, bird watching and martial arts. Then, we spent time each month exploring those areas.
Even if you only set one goal for your family for the entire year, you are still walking your family through the goal setting process. I highly recommend having a family meeting, when your kids are old enough, to start thinking about what you want to experience as a family this year.
Now, you may be wondering how personal goals are different than your yearly goals. The truth is, they are not terribly different. For me though, there are a few goals that I set every year that I have running in the background. Keep in mind that I have been doing this goal-setting process for almost ten years now, so you may not be quite ready for this if you are new to annual goal-setting.
When I set personal goals for the year, they typically revolve around the number of books I want to read, workouts that I want to tackle and habits that I want to adopt. Here are some examples:
I could probably do an entire episode just about my business goals but I want to make sure this content stays relevant to the majority of moms out there. If you do happen to own your own business or side hustle, I strongly recommend setting business goals. How much income do you want to bring in next year? What new initiatives do you want to try? How much time do you want to spend working?
Make these goals as actionable as you made your personal goals. If you’re like me, you’ll notice that a lot of these goals overlap with one another, which is absolutely fine.
As promised on today’s YouTube episode, I am excited to share with you the draft of the goals that I am laying out for 2023. To be completely transparent, these aren’t usually finalized until the end of January. That being said, I am excited to share the process of how to plan your year with you.
Again, these aren’t all my goals for 2023. You might notice too that some of the goals are going to be faster to accomplish than others. For example, my goal of completing the first draft of my book will probably be done within the first few weeks of 2023. But reading 150 books probably won’t happen until December 2023. It’s absolutely OK to have goals with different time frames. Actually, for motivation’s sake, I think it is almost better to have various long-term and short-term goals to keep your momentum up.
Whatever goals you decide to set, make sure they are actionable. You should be able to look at your goal list and know whether or not you have achieved your goal. If you’re not sure, make it more specific. For example, if your goal is “Feel confident in my skin”, decide what that means. I would encourage you to attach that to an action, like “I will workout Monday through Friday for 30 minutes a day.”
When you look at your goal at the end of the year, you will confidently be able to say that you did it or didn’t do it. Finally, make sure your goals excite you. If they don’t, go back to the drawing board. Dream bigger. Think about December 2023 – what would make it the best year yet? Push yourself! And remember, you can always reach out if you need support creating goals that light you up!
Take a moment to decide how to plan your year for 2023. Pull out your calendar and set aside a few hours where you can to do some purposeful goal-setting. Even if you don’t want to commit to following the whole process this year, decide what might be the most effective for you this year. Then make a plan to make it happen!
If you enjoyed this episode, be sure to subscribe on Spotify or YouTube so you don’t miss next week’s episode, which is all about my top 5 favorite personal growth books for busy moms. If you don’t think you’ll have a chance to dive into these books yourself, be sure to tune in to learn my biggest takeaways from each book.
Finally, if you want to connect between episodes, be sure to give me a follow over on Instagram – @sharonlegercoaching. I would love to support you on your personal growth journey!
If so, be sure to share it with a friend – this helps busy moms like you to find me!
And finally, you can also check out these related episodes that I think you’ll be obsessed with: