For some people the mere thought of this time of year brings on a level of stress. The busy holiday season, extra expenses and the prospect of deciding on what the New Year might bring.
For me, December is a planning month (along with June).
For the most part, I have gift shopping sorted well before Christmas. I will only need to buy some fresh fruit, chocolates and “scratchy” tickets to go with cards.
What I do in December is to reflect on the past year.
- How have my plans worked out?
- What have I achieved
- What has brought me the most joy?
- Have I created any new (good) habits?
- Do I have more to do to reach my goals?
- What could I have done differently?
I also start to do some preliminary planning for the next year. These early plans can be refined through the month. This means that I start the New Year with a solid framework rather than a hasty, unconsidered “resolution” that stands little chance of being implemented or achieved.
December is a time to have a look over my RISE Plan and see where my current life balance is and what I feel needs to improve. Often this makes any resolutions easy to make and prepare for.
Here are the steps I take to create my plan for the New Year.
Starting with the lowest scoring items from my RISE Plan, I will create a plan to bring them up to a level that will create a better balance in my life. I will do a Be-Do-Have exercise to visualise what I want this area to look like in its 10/10 ideal state and plan toward that. This plan becomes a high priority so that area does not stay languishing in a less than perfect score
I will always try to work out how I can improve while keeping the monetary outlay as minimal as possible. If I find that an upgrade does require actual money spent, then I need to work out how to incorporate it into the budget so the expense has as little an impact as possible.
These goals may change slightly over the year. (I am not so rigid that my January plans MUST be adhered to all year), but it creates a good launching pad for the New Year to come.
Spending some time of journalling what I see in my “new normal” life for this year helps in a number of ways. It helps imprint your visualitions into your mind. It has been proven that magic happens when you put pen to paper. Also knowing what little things I have planned as upgrades helps when people invariably ask me “What do you want for ( Birthday, Mother’s Day, Christmas)”. I will have a ready made list in my head of what I am desiring 🙂 This same list might also become saved searches in eBay, Gumtree or Facebook. It is surprising how often the “perfect thing” comes up at a great price.
I will get specific with my goals. Vague goals such as “I am going to make self-care a priority” does not cut it.. It needs to be a SMART Goal. So my goal may be broken down to specific goals like
1: Book hairdresser every 6 weeks ongoing
2: Spend 30 minutes each morning on “me time”
3: Find a massage coupon (3-4 times for the year)
The first thing I do in my new year diary is to book out family birthdays and occasions. I know we get together as a family for many of these, so pencilling out those weekends as busy shows me how much spare time I have for “US”
I will then dedicate each month to a specific area from my RISE Plan. By concentrating on the areas that need the biggest upgrades first. It is these areas that might need to have new habits over a longer time period or a separate budget to consider. For example, I have a renovation of our Kitchen and Bathroom on the plan for 2021. I would like this to happen mid-year, but I will schedule it early in the year, so I have plenty of time to plan, get quotes and even start purchasing items for it as I might see sale items pop up.
While is great to have “Stretch Goals” if you make your goals too hard to achieve, it serves only to make you disillusioned and with feelings of failure. Many of my goals will be two pronged – “Can certainly achieve if I stick to the plan” and “Would be nice if I really push it”
As in any journey, there is no “right way” to get from A-B, and allowing for detours to the plan is Ok as long as the direction is ultimately toward the end goal. Sometimes it is these detours or “scenic routes” than can the most surprising results.
Your RISE Plan will help you pick up where you left off or reset some ideals of your ideal life.
Keep in mind that you are creating YOUR ideal life, and every bit of progress is a win.