Setting Yourself Up for a Great New Year

In this guest post, Helen of Journal with Purpose gives us some great guidelines on how to achieve our goals for the coming year, with the aid of journaling.

Pilot Frixion Fineliner PensYou can’t help but associate January 1st with New Year Resolutions. There is a whole new year ahead to live your dream life, get yourself in shape, travel to all those amazing destinations and complete dazzling new projects.

However, I’ve never found that New Year Resolutions really work out for me. I didn’t give them enough thought at the time and by the middle of January (at the very latest!), they are usually long forgotten.

Something that has worked far better for me is to take some time reflecting in my journal and writing out my plans for the new year, along with the next actions that I need to take.

Reflecting on the Year that has Gone

Journal layout for a review of 2018

Highlights of the Year

I always like to start my end of year journaling by thinking about my personal highlights of the year. This could be places I’ve visited, special events that happened or projects that went really well. This puts me in a positive frame of mind to think about what I want to plan more of for the year ahead.

What Went Well?

It’s always good to give yourself some recognition for the things that did go well. You can focus on work achievements, personal achievements or a combination of both.

What Didn’t go to Plan?

I don’t like to dwell on areas that weren’t so successful, but it is helpful to acknowledge them and think about how you can improve things moving forwards. They are always your best opportunities to learn and plan for the next year.

Top 3 Lessons Learned

Each experience over the last year can teach you valuable lessons if you take some time to reflect on them. These could be learning experiences with positive or negative outcomes. The important part is to make sure that you take these lessons forwards.

Proudest Achievement

Take some time to think about the achievement that made you feel the best and has had the most positive impact on either your life, or the life of others. It’s a great way to end your reflections for the year.


Planning for Next Year

Journal layout for plans for 2019

Once you have considered the year just gone, it puts you in a really good position to think about the year ahead. What would you like to build upon and what you would you like to avoid?

Word for the Year

Setting a word for the year is a great way of being clear on your intentions. It should be something meaningful to you that sets the tone for the year. Words that I have seen used by others include growth, kindness, recover, courage, adapt, inspire, healthy, learn, focus and commit.

What do I Want to Achieve?

This is the space to think about what you would like to have achieved by this time next year. What would mean the most to you? It’s important to write down goals that you are passionate about and would bring value to your life, not just things you think you should be doing.

What are the Next Actions to Take?

Without some well-thought-out actions, you may find that you struggle to make progress. I find it useful to write down just the next few steps so that I don’t feel overwhelmed by the number of tasks ahead of me. I then transfer those actions to the daily planning lists in my bullet journal. Once those are complete, I will list out the next required actions.

What Obstacles Might I Face?

There will always be some obstacles to the achievement of our plans. Some will be totally unexpected, but there are probably quite a few that you can already see happening. It might be that you will struggle to find the time, lose willpower or that you don’t yet have the skills you need to achieve your goals.

How can I Overcome Them?

Thinking about the obstacles that you might face can also help you to plan how you will overcome them. Examples might be to set aside time to focus on your goals each day/week (with your phone turned off), find someone to help keep you accountable, book onto a training course or find someone that has the right skills to help you.

I hope this helps to give you some ideas for how you can set yourself up well for 2019. Wishing you a successful and happy year ahead.

9 January 2019

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