This post is on how I go about planning my year so I can achieve better results. I may or may not use all of what I have mentioned here every year, I’ve mentioned it anyway just so it can help trigger some thoughts. Planning is hard work, but once you have a plan its easy. All you need to do is stick to it.
An idiot with a plan can beat a genius without a plan. – Warren Buffet
I have noticed that having a plan works way better in achieving what you set out to do than just crashing into the new year recklessly with a bunch of resolutions. I am a person who needs to see the full picture even before I get started. Its okay if it doesn’t go as I pictured it to be, but I need to have a clear vision of what I am setting out to do.
The first step to planning the new year is the analyse the year that is gone by.
Always start with what you’ve failed at. It’s important to have that uncomfortable feeling first. Also analyzing failures last will drop energy levels and you wont start with the right spirit. Its just human psychology.
Make a list of things you’ve failed at in 2019. . This has two category “Tried and Failed“, and “Failed to Try“.
Tried and Failed
This is my favorite: The longer the list in this category, the more fruitful the year has been, you know that rich experience has been gathered. Be honest, you don’t have to admit your failures to anyone else but yourself. It is hard I know, but it’s the first and the most important step to pushing towards any goal. Look at failures objectively without attaching any emotion to it. There will be valuable lessons on how to do it better.
This year I have tried a million things and failed at a lot of them. My list of failures include not managing my time properly, not thinking through something, not delegating effectively, not spelling out boundaries correctly, not seeing something through to the end and so on.
How did I get to that list? By looking at what did not go as per plan.
For Example: I started the monthly DIY Challenge in June. It received a great response but I failed to keep it going month after month. What was supposed to be a month on month challenge, was just a one month thing before it fizzed out. Why did I fail at it? I did not manage my time effectively. I was too generous with my time for someone else that I failed to give my own pet project the time it deserved. I failed to set correct boundaries.
This is what analyzing brings to the front.
Conclusion: I did not fail at running a DIY challenge, I failed at managing my time well and setting boundaries. Now I know what to work on. I am going to start the DIY challenge again and ensure I dont make the same mistake again.
Make new mistakes, fail at something new! That’s Life!
Failed to Try
All of us have this list I think, things you want to do but never got around attempting. It always goes “Someday I will…. ” and it remains there, in an undefined time frame until its turns into a regret. Make a list of those. When you write things down, yes “Write things down” physically, not type, write, your brain registers it better. And against each of them, write why you haven’t attempted to try it.
You will discover a variety of excuses. No time, no resources, no experience and the worse: fear of failure or fear of rejection. The idea of this list is to analyse if you want to really do it, what is stopping you and what you need to do as a first step. Its better to try and fail than fail to even try. Remember, you miss 100% of the shots you never take.
It took a schoolmate of mine five years to get in touch with me to seek some advise on something she wanted to do, just because she felt it would be awkward to just pop in after so many years and ask for help. We were not close when we were in school, and now we share a beautiful friendship. And I tell her, what a wasted five years!
When you stop focusing on how you “feel” when you fail at something, it loses its power over you and thats when the real growth starts.
Moving on to the feel good section!
What is success? What do you list here? Every single thing that you managed to achieve this last year. Nothing is insignificant, everything counts. Thanks to the smartphones backing up photos and we taking pictures of everything, go to your gallery and make your list. I was sulking until I went to my Jan 2019 folder and started scrolling upwards.
In 2019 I achieved a whole lot of things and I am super thrilled about it. I painted, organized events, traveled, did a whole lot of research on history and culture, met so many people, did lectures, mentoring, decorating, I could go on and on. I even completed 3 books last year, and that to me is an achievement compared to not reading at all. I managed to pack a few years worth of experience in one year because my word of the year (more about it soon) for 2019 was DO.
If someone measures success only with the material things they have or the money they made, I think they’ve lost the plot of life completely. Money is important, but not everything or the only thing. A person making X money can be happy and satisfied and a person making 3X money can feel unsuccessful and insecure.
Yes, money is important, so calculate exactly how much money you earned this last year and irrespective of how much it is, it falls in the success category.
With the three lists ready, we’ve done all the ground work needed to start planning our 2020. Here are a bunch of questions you will need to answer. Skip the ones that you feel are irrelevant to you and be specific with the ones you answer. Ex: I want to travel a lot, make more money than last year are bull sh** goals to have. What cannot be measured, will not get done. Get specific: I want to travel 1 international and 5 Indian destinations. I want to earn ten lakhs this year. These are goals you can chase, measure and get done.
1. Health: What do you want to do better?
2. Family: What do you want to achieve as a family this year?
3. Travel: Where do you want to go?
4. Creativity and self development: Skill you want to acquire or get better at.
5. Career: What progress do you want to make this year?
6. Money: How much do you want to earn?
7.Community Service: What do you want to for the world?
These are the categories that I like to plan. If you can think of something else, let me know. Once you have these, all you need to do is list what you need to do half yearly, quarterly, monthly weekly and daily to achieve the goals. And with your list of improvements from the Failure/success exercise, you know exactly how you need to go about something to suit your needs.
I hate to use the losing weight example but its easy so here goes. If you want to lose 20 Kgs this year, it helps to know that you will need to lose 1.5kgs every month, 385 grams every week and 55 grams everyday and that seems doable, achievable and track-able. If you miss one week, you can catch up the next week.
If you think you need to reach a certain level to plan this much in detail, then declare a word of the year for yourself. If one word is not enough, do a short sentence. My word for 2019 was “DO” (whatever comes my way). And I did, tried a whole lot of things without worrying if I was going to get paid or no, without thinking if it will work or no and in the process learnt a whole lot of things. What to do, what not to do, who to work with, who not to work with, how to work, etc,.
In conclusion, when I look back, 2019 has been mean to me, but I have fought back with all my might and did not lose my spirit in the process. I paused when I had to, I sulked, I felt the hurt and then I got over it. I did not let them influence my decision making capabilities or behave recklessly. I have made myself proud and that is enough! I am ready for 2020!