Too many of us approach New Years with very unrealistic views of what the new year will hold for us. We’re going to lose x number of pounds while we quit smoking and read 100 books, and while doing all of THAT, we’re going to have perfectly clean houses and balanced checkbooks and go to bed at the same time every night.
This was best summed up by one of my all-time yet now defunct blog Hyperbole & a Half, here.
I am one of those people. I finally realized that a few years ago, and instead of just assuming I would wake up January 01 totally able and willing to adopt good habits that I could not have been bothered to try beforehand, I finally took my year-end forethought and planned out the following year better.
This post has gone through multiple versions over the last few weeks as I wrote and evaluated my own ideas for 2018. I wrote an entire post about how its either the SMART method or bust. I wrote posts on using Trello boards and paper and highlighters to get your own goals together. Then I broke the cardinal rule of writing and deleted all of it.
I don’t want to write a how-to post or a lecture.
The reality is everything requires some forethought, and at times, planning. While I’ve made it clear in previous posts how much I adore New Years and clean slates, I have to be honest in that the only REAL magic about New Years is the date changes.
I’m also not going to sprout off cliche statements of goals without plans being wishes. Everything requires some forethought, but NOT everything is a goal and therefore only a wish.
The only way to plan for 2018, really, requires some variation of the following:
- Brainstorm things you want to change about yourself, goals for things you have coming up this year, improvements that should be made.
- Evaluate your brainstorming notes. Prioritize that list, and file every item. I prefer and suggest quarterly (January – March, April – June, July – September, October – December). Divide it up. This includes year end goals – create quarter benchmarks and file accordingly.
- If its habits to adopt, set start dates and add any prep work to your do list. Complete a SMART checklist for other goals. Put tasks on your list and deadlines on your calendar. Spread out start dates for new habits to adopt. You will not wake up tomorrow and be able to eat properly and work-out everyday and quit smoking. Pick one to start, then stagger the others.
- On April 01, July 01, and October 01, repeat step #4. Go ahead and set a recurring task to do so.
- Mind over matter, baby. Get things done.
Me, I’ve got a few – I want to read the entire Bible this year in chronological order. I’m going to run a 5K (stop laughing). I have plans for the rest of the year, sure, but I’m focusing on these two to make my point.
- As far as the Bible, I found a reading plan that breaks the Bible into daily readings, in chronological order. I added time to my calendar to read.
- I hate running. With a passion. But running a 5K is one thing I’ve always wanted to do, at least to be able to say I’ve done it. I looked at my schedule, and I know its best for me to start the Couch to 5K plan in July. I will still get it done, but I’m also not putting pressure on myself to become an athlete tomorrow.
The ideal factor in this is you get a fresh start every quarter. You aren’t overwhelmed with creating a brand new you TODAY.
Because while yes, it is a new year, and the magic of the date change almost palpable, it’s 365 days. Who are we to say today is the only day to start?