The end of the year is nigh yet again, and with it the pull to start planning for what comes next. I absolutely adore planning and creating that clarity about what it is I want to achieve in my life and business. As a bit of a self confessed planning nerd I wanted to share some tips that have helped me create plans that have inspired me to take action over the last few years.
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Why planning is helpful
You know the saying, ‘failing to plan is planning to fail’ – and I think this is true to some extent. If you know that you want to create specific outcomes then planning how you’re going to make them happen is just common sense.
I like to see a plan as a map to how I’m going to reach a certain destination – it doesn’t mean I might not take a detour, the scenic route or even change the destination altogether!
Have a plan, but hold it lightly
Whenever I plan, I like to remember to hold it all very lightly which brings in the energy of non attachment.
Even the best plans can not work out – if the last few years have taught us anything it’s that all our best laid plans can go out the window – but that’s not to mean we shouldn’t plan at all.
When we create a plan but hold it lightly, we’re giving ourselves the best chance of achieving our goals, but we’re also leaving space for the Universe to work its magic. When we’re not super attached to certain outcomes or specific routes to achieve them, it creates the space for other things that perhaps are aligned in a different way to come in.
Understand your Core Desired Feelings
If there’s one thing that has completely changed how I set goals and by extension, plan to achieve them, it’s understanding my core desired feelings.
Danielle LaPorte created a method called The Desire Map which she covers in the book of the same name. She proposes that whenever we set a goal or want something specific in our life, what we actually want isn’t the thing, but rather the feeling that is created by having the thing or meeting the goal.
This also means that you can achieve the same end feeling, but perhaps with completely different goals to the ones you might have originally envisaged.
Understanding this was revolutionary for me and completely changed how I set goals and therefore plan.
My core desired feelings are creative, cosy and connected. I used to have a couple more, but I started to see that almost everything I want, or want to achieve in my life comes under one of these 3 main feelings.
It’s definitely worth checking out, especially if you’ve ever noticed that you’re planning for and achieving goals that leave you feeling a bit empty and unfulfilled.
Know your version of success
Another great thing to get clear on before delving into planning is what your version of success looks like. Ideally your plans should be helping you get closer to your version of success.
In today’s society, it’s easy to feel like you should be aiming for specific goals associated with what is generally held up as ‘success’. The 6 and 7 figure business springs to mind here! But if those goals aren’t aligned for you (looking at your core desired feelings here is helpful too) then you’ll achieve them and feel empty.
So getting clear on what success actually looks like for you is so key before you ever sit down and start planning. In fact it’s usually the first question I have any of my clients answer when I start working with them because our businesses need to align with this too.
Have a word or theme for the year
Picking a word or theme for the year has become a popular tool to help set the tone for what’s to come. It’s obviously totally optional, but if you like something really simple to focus on, choosing a word that you return back to over and over throughout the year that reminds you of what you’re aiming for can be really helpful.
My word for 2023 was ‘intentional’ and that has certainly been a good fit this year!
Create a vision board
I love to spend time creating a vision board for the year ahead (well, one of my core desired feelings is ‘creative!’)
I use Pinterest and create a board filled with images and quotes that represent the things I’m working towards that year or the experiences I want to create. I also save some of those images and create a desktop screen and iPhone screen with them. Pinterests Shuffle app is great for creating phone backgrounds and Canva is brilliant for creating desktop backgrounds.
There’s absolutely some kind of magic that happens with vision boards. Whenever I look at mine towards the end of the year I’ll notice little synchronicities and similarities between the images on the board and photos in my camera roll.
Don’t be afraid to revisit or revise your plan
I don’t believe a plan should be some dusty corporate document that’s created and never looked at again. This is why I’m a big believer in putting the soul and the life into any kind of plan you create for your business.
Life and business is going to shift and change, and therefore it’s a really good idea to continuously go back to your plan and tweak and amend it.
Looking at my original plan for 2023, so much has changed about what I’m aiming for and how I’m doing things which is totally normal, so use your plan as a living document and it will work so much better for you.
You can have it all, but not all at once
Something I’ve learned over the years is that I tend to expect that I can do way more than I actually can. It makes me think of the saying – you can have it all, but not all at once.
Consider what phase of life you’re in right now, how much time you have available and what your priorities are. And then if you’re like me, I try to take out about 30% of whatever goals I set in my plan to make it more realistic!
I’d rather enjoy achieving a few solid goals and intentions than trying desperately to do and achieve it all and feel anxious and stressed.
You don’t have to plan right now if you don’t want to
A quick final reminder – you absolutely don’t have to plan right now if you don’t want to. December and January, if you’re in the northern hemisphere, are cold dark months that are probably best suited to hibernating than ‘smashing your goals’.
It’s ok to come back to planning in the spring if that feels more aligned for you. But likewise, if you love the fresh start vibes of a New Year, then you do you. I certainly love setting goals and intentions and planning how I’m going to achieve them at the start of the year.
I’d love to know – are you going to create a plan for life and business in 2024? Let me know in the comments!
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