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Whether at the end of one year or the start of another, everyone’s minds turn to self-improvement.
At least, they do once the thrill of the holidays wears off and those big credit card statements come through the door! (There’s just something about overeating and overspending that has us in a mood to never, ever do it again.)
And what better time to start a self-improvement journey than the beginning of the year, right?
However, like many people, you’re probably less than enthusiastic about making New Year’s resolutions. After all, you’ve been there and done that many times before and have no reason to think 2022 will be any different.
But there’s an inner voice, a compulsion that keeps you seeking a better version of yourself, a better existence, a happier you, an AMAZING life.
So, like clockwork, you’ve started looking for tips on not just how to set goals, but how to accomplish them. You feel like life is passing you by and you’re not making the most out of it. The desire in you to live life to the fullest just won’t let go.
If you’re reluctant about attempting another set of New Year’s resolutions that are sure to be a failure, but crave a life that is so much more than what you’re living, keep reading.
Below are loads of year planning tips to help you have an amazing 2022. Check them out and put them to use today. Don’t wait for some perfect time to begin when you can start living your ideal life and being the person you know you can be right now.
1. Reflect on 2021.
365 days is a long time. If you’ve made it through to the end, congratulations. Not everyone who started 2021 is around to see the end.
You may have gone through some stuff this year. Some good, some bad. Whatever happened, you’re still here. To make your 2022 year planning as effective as possible, it’s helpful to look at how you spent your time throughout the past 12 months.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- What lessons did you learn?
- What did you discover about yourself?
- What do you have to be thankful for?
Try to identify three wins and three areas that you need to work on.
It might help if you review the past year, month by month. If you wrote in a journal, go through your entries. Look at where you were at the start of the year, compared to where you are now. At the very least, you’ve learned through your experiences and grown as a result. At best, your life is completely different, in a good way.
Take the lessons and the areas you need to work on and plan an even better year ahead.
2. Settle on a vision for 2022: what does your ideal year look like?
If there are no obstacles in front of you, what would the ideal 2022 look like for you? What would you do? Where would you go? What would need to happen in 2022 for you to call it an amazing year?
Think about the various areas of your life, such as
What would an amazing year in each category look like?
Make sure your vision is uniquely your own and not what you feel is expected of you. If you’re happy with your weight, for example, don’t put down weight loss just because somebody else thinks you need it (unless it’s for medical reasons).
You can either write down your vision for 2022 or make a vision board to depict it. Just ensure you have a physical representation of what an ideal year looks like so you can refer to it later in the year (and beyond).
3. Set your top goals.
The key to accomplishing your goals is ensuring you focus only on the core goals that are critical to your vision. Review your vision for 2022 and identify the areas that are most important to making it a reality.
A brand new car might be nice to have, for example, but a new job is far more critical to your ideal life. So your goal will focus on getting that job.
Streamline your goals to the areas that will give you the most bang for your buck (or effort). Having too many goals is a sure-fire way to make sure you don’t achieve any of them. With ‘Vision 2022’ in mind, write out your goals for the different areas of your life.
Note: You do not have to have a goal for every single area of your life. Pick the core areas that are significant to your vision and write goals that will help you make it a reality.
Don’t rush to set your goals. Yes, year planning is often done at the turn of a calendar year, but it’s more important to get it right than to be on time.
You might have to do some research first. If your ideal life features a healthier you, you’ll need to assess your current health level. This will give you an idea of what is required to improve your health. It will also let you know what is achievable within 365 days.
A healthier you does not necessarily mean losing 50 pounds. It might mean increasing your fiber or drinking more water. And if you do need to lose 50 pounds (as advised by a licensed doctor), research how much weight you can safely and comfortably lose in a month through exercise and a balanced diet.
4. Develop a plan of action.
Setting your goals is just one step of the process. How you’re going to accomplish them is another thing entirely.
Go over your goals for 2022 and make sure that they are S.M.A.R.T. Not sure what that means? Here’s a quick example:
Goal: I want to run a marathon.
This goal should be…
- S – Specific: I want to run the Maya Marathon in Mexico in December, 2022.
- M – Measurable: By December, I will be able to run 26 miles.
- A – Achievable: According to Asics, some people take 16–20 weeks to train for a marathon, while some runners train for as little as 12 weeks and some take 24 weeks or more. If I start in January, I will definitely be ready by December.
- R – Realistic: I want to run a marathon without stopping to rest is a realistic goal. I want to run a sub 3-hour marathon in December but I can’t run across the street today, is likely not realistic.
- T – Time Bound: The marathon is scheduled to be held on December, 2022.
The next part of goal-setting is figuring out all that is required to get you ready for the race in December.
Break down your goals into weekly, monthly, and quarterly goals. If you can, set daily goals that will turn you into a 26-mile runner (or whatever task you’ve set before yourself). Instead of looking at the marathon as a 26-mile race you’re preparing for, break it into a 1-mile or 15 minute run you have to do each day.
Try to get down to the nitty gritty as much as possible. Figure out things like:
- How many days a week you will need to run.
- How many miles you’ll run each day.
- What kind of equipment or clothes you’ll need to get.
- Do you need a running coach or do you need to join a running club?
- How many rest days can you take so you don’t over-train?
- Can you book the race now, so you’ll either have to run the marathon or waste the registration money?
Plan the steps you need in order to get to where you want to be by race day. Be as meticulous as possible.
Also, note key activities or achievements along the way as you get closer to the goal, such as the first time you run a mile without stopping or when you complete all your scheduled runs for the week.
Have a Plan B (and even a Plan C) in place in case your initial plan fails. Think of other ways you can make sure you hit your end of year goal to run a marathon? Do you have to run the entire race without stopping, or could you allow some periods of walking to ensure you can actually reach the end?
5. Identify your why.
When your motivation is low, your muscles are sore from your long run, the weather turned ugly half way through your run and rain proceeds to beat you all the way back home, your why is what will keep you going the next day.
Just wanting to run a marathon won’t be enough for the long haul. Dig deep to figure out what you really want to accomplish. What is the inner need you’re trying to fill?
Maybe the doctor has told you that you’re pre-diabetic or have high cholesterol. Your goal of running a marathon in December isn’t just about hitting that milestone. It takes on a whole new meaning. Running a marathon is now about incorporating exercise into your schedule. It’s about learning how to live a healthy lifestyle or taking control of your health so you move out of the danger zone for diabetes and cholesterol, or about managing your health so you can prolong your life.
Identify the why for each of your goals and write them where you can review them regularly, especially when you want to give up and call it quits.
You can even create a pros and cons list for each of your goals. Write about how reaching your goal will benefit your life and take you closer to your vision for 2022. Also, cons of not reaching your goal and how it will affect your vision for 2022.
6. Create your ‘Not-To-Do’ list.
We all know what a To-Do list is, but what is a Not-To-Do list? It’s a list of habits you know are impeding your success that you commit not to do. Let’s say you want to reduce the amount of alcohol you drink. Going to the bar after work on a Friday night would go on your Not-To-Do list.
Go over your goals for the year and itemize the habits you have that will stop you from being successful in achieving said goals. For example, if you want to wake up early to get your marathon training in before you head to work, you’ll need to go to bed early the night before. So your Not-To-Do list might include things like:
- No caffeine after 1 PM
- No staying up past 10 PM
- No technology after 8 PM
These are activities that will help you go to sleep on time, get a good night’s rest, and wake up on time so you can train. Create a Not-To-Do list that will help your chances of meeting your goals and having an amazing year.
7. Establish a routine.
Plan how to incorporate your goals gently into your daily routine. Any sudden or traumatic change to your set routine will make it less likely you’ll complete your goal. Don’t make any sweeping change, like throwing away all junk food or going for a 5-mile run when the only exercise you’ve gotten in recent times is when you walk from your car to your destination.
You’ll know you’ve broken down your yearly goals into quarterly, monthly, weekly, and daily goals sufficiently if you can integrate it into your normal routine with little disruption.
Include regular reviews of your goals, weekly, monthly, and quarterly. Check how far away or how close to accomplishing them you are. Also, go over your vision for 2022 and the reason for your goals. Keeping the reason(s) you’re doing all of this front and center will help maintain your motivation.
8. Schedule it.
Whip out your calendar, preferably one where you can set reminders. Pick the best time for you to work on your daily, weekly, or monthly goal(s). Still using the marathon goal as an example, you may only be able to squeeze a run in the morning from 6 AM to 7 AM, or during lunch, or after work from 5 PM to 6 PM. Whatever time is best, put it on your calendar and set a reminder (or two) for it.
To have an accurate picture of what your schedule is really like, schedule all the important dates, meetings, and work deadlines you know about for the next year, so you don’t book times for when you will not be available. Schedule your goals around your life at times that are most convenient for you.
If you think you don’t have any time at all, go through a typical day in your mind. Think of any activity or errand that must be done, but not necessarily by you. Delegate it to someone else wherever feasible.
Are there any time wasting activities you engage in that you could cut out completely or at least reduce? Perhaps you head home after work at 5 PM and are stuck in traffic for an hour because that’s when traffic is especially brutal. Consider going to a nearby gym to get your run in at 5, instead of wasting that hour in traffic. By leaving a little later than the initial onslaught of traffic, you might spend less time in it.
Put your goals on your calendar and set annoying reminders to pop up so you don’t forget. The more annoying, the better, because you’ll get a small bit of satisfaction from turning it off, knowing you’re already working on it.
9. Celebrating the wins.
Don’t forget to schedule in periodic celebrations. For example, the first week you complete your goal(s) without skipping a day, celebrate that win. The first time you’re able to make it a day without smoking a cigarette, celebrate it. Your first mile, without stopping to walk, celebrate.
Regular celebrations give you short-term milestones you can look forward to hitting. However, ensure that your celebrations don’t jeopardize your progress. For example, you’ve gone 24 whole hours without smoking a cigarette, don’t celebrate by smoking an extra cigarette the following day. Buy yourself a cupcake or something special to commemorate the occasion.
No matter how small the milestone, celebrate it. It will serve to keep you motivated and looking forward to hitting the next milestone.
10. Make mental health a priority.
Depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders are far more widespread than most people imagine. But as common as they may be, the stigma surrounding mental illness remains high. This is not only unfair to those who suffer with them, but dangerous, too, as it often prevents those same people from getting help.
As part of your year planning in 2022, make your mental health a priority. Do something daily, weekly, and monthly that replenishes you mentally. It doesn’t have to be expensive or consume a lot of time. 2022 could be the year that you begin to practice Yoga or mindfulness. Perhaps you could start journaling or finally start seeing a therapist.
Just as you would not feel shame for seeing a medical doctor when you are sick, refuse to feel shame for taking steps to ensure your mental health is in order. Whatever choice you make, do something that helps you focus on your emotional and mental health.
11. Allow room for flexibility.
It took you years to develop and build the habits you currently have, whether good or bad. Likewise, it will take some time to unlearn these behaviors. Allow room for flexibility, room to fall off the wagon, room to fail.
Just aim to never miss twice. If you skip your Monday morning marathon prep run, make sure you don’t miss the next run.
Re-assess your plan and don’t be afraid to tweak it. We tend to be idealistic when setting goals, sometimes forgetting our weaknesses. It’s ok to go back and adjust your plan to suit the reality.
You may wish to workout five days a week. But realistically, you’re only getting in three workouts a week. Adjust your plan to allow for that. Your goal is not to workout five days a week. The goal is to become healthier. Working out is a tool to help you become healthier. Don’t fixate on the process, keep your eyes on the goal.
12. Declutter your mind and life.
What past hurts and trauma are you still holding on to? Are you still brooding over previous mistakes?
What about your home? Do you have a bunch of things in your house that have no real purpose? Is your closet full of clothes you don’t even use?
Are you in a relationship with someone but you can’t figure out why? Have you been friends with someone for so long that the only reason you are still friends is because you’ve known them for years?
Declutter your mind and your life. Let go of the stuff (memories, mindset, relationships, stuff, etc.) that serves no other purpose but to steal your joy or take up space in your mind. Choose to let go, so you can start off with a clean slate.
Decluttering is a great way to get rid of old junk that has no use and serves no purpose. It allows you to be open to new opportunities.
Reassess your mind, your relationships, and your living space. As they say, out with the old and in with the new.
13. Get in touch with who you are.
Who are you, really? Without all the expectations, societal pressure, or responsibilities, do you know who you are? If you were to lose your job tomorrow, would you be able to define yourself outside of it? Outside of your family, do you have your own identity?
In 2022, get in touch with whom you truly are. Get to know yourself. What are your actual needs, wants, and desires? What makes you happy? How do you want to live your life?
Periodically throughout the year, as you go over your vision for 2022 and your goals, ask if they align with who you are. You may find that as you get in touch with who you are, your goals need to be adjusted.
14. Upgrade your mindset.
Your mindset will play a critical role in whether you accomplish all you’ve set out to do in the next 12 months. In order to live out your vision for 2022, you’ll need to upgrade your mindset.
The mindset you presently have helped you build the life you are living. Now it’s time to level up. What got you here won’t get you to where you’re going. Adjust your attitude and focus.
If you set your goals correctly, they will be things that will stretch you and cause you to grow (if they aren’t, then you need to re-do them). Your goals should require increased faith in yourself and your abilities.
You’ll need to change your mindset to help you achieve your vision for 2022.
15. Develop meaningful relationships.
Look at your group of friends and be brutally honest with yourself. Are they the support group that you need to be the person you are or the person you’re becoming? Do they encourage you to be a better person?
A motivational speaker by the name of Jim Rohn once said that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. When you look at where you’re going in 2022, can your five closest relationships empower or lift you to the level you need to be at in order to achieve your ideal life?
Develop meaningful relationships that support your growth and cheer you on. Don’t be afraid to cut off relationships that are toxic.
16. Choose a new habit to add to your routine.
When you look at all the things you want to accomplish in the new year, it can be a little overwhelming. Perhaps you’ve broken your goals down into daily and weekly goals, but it still looks enormous. Go over your tasks and ask yourself, what is the one thing you can start doing today that will take you a step closer to your goal.
Let’s say you have five goals for the year, like:
- Run a marathon in December.
- Change jobs by the end of the year.
- Travel to Italy in June for two weeks.
- Stop smoking by the end of the year.
- Keep in touch with your parents on a weekly basis.
Looking at these five goals, what is the one habit you can add into your routine that will help you accomplish more than just one of them? If you can identify a shared habit, you can focus on this one action knowing that it is helping you move toward multiple goals at once.
Less stress, less pressure while still progressing forward.
17. Be present in each moment.
Strive to enjoy every moment of your journey. When we work toward a goal, we often simply endure the process. But there is a lot to be enjoyed along the way. A lot to learn.
On your daily run, as you prepare for the marathon, don’t forget to enjoy the fresh air filling your lungs as you trod along. If you’re quitting smoking, enjoy the money you’re saving from not buying cigarettes. As you talk to your parents more regularly, enjoy the opportunity you have to spend time with them.
Don’t get so focused on the end goal that you miss out on all there is to take pleasure in about the process. You don’t have to be miserable or put off being happy until you achieve your goals. Being present in the moment allows you to find joy in the here and now.
18. Schedule self-care.
As part of your 2022 year planning, choose to prioritize your self-care without the usual guilt you feel for taking some ‘me’ time. Realize that you can only help other people if you first help yourself. If you don’t take care of yourself, how will you be able to take care of others when you’re running on fumes?
Just like a car that runs on fumes, you’ll eventually give up (or die) or have a major problem that will require a lot of money to fix.
Regular self-care is far more affordable than a major health challenge. The price of treating a heart attack at the hospital (especially for people who live in certain countries) is far more expensive than getting a weekly massage or a daily fifteen-minute walk.
As you schedule your goals, meetings, medical appointments, birthdays, and other important events throughout the year, schedule in time for self-care.
You could even book your vacation time now and plan how you’ll spend it. If possible, commit money to your vacation time so you won’t be able to back out of it at the last minute.
19. Review things regularly.
Hold regular review sessions of your weekly, monthly, and quarterly goals. Don’t just write your goals down in a journal or notebook somewhere and promptly forget about them. Every Sunday, perhaps at 6 PM, for thirty minutes, go over your vision for the year, your goals, and the reason for your goals. Review how far you were able to progress in the past week and plan what you will accomplish in the new week.
Reviewing your goals regularly will ensure you don’t forget about them. Even if you weren’t able to accomplish any of the weekly goals, don’t sweat it. During your review session, check for ways to adjust your plan for the time you missed. Remind yourself of the reason you’ve set your goals.
Don’t rely on your memory to keep your goals in focus. After all, how many times have we written goals, forgotten about them, only to remember them when we stumble across the notebook we wrote them in while doing some general cleaning? In order to have an awesome year, we need to try an unorthodox method, and that method requires that we keep our focus on our goals.
20. Create a plan to combat temptation.
As much as we want to have an awesome 2022, be better versions of ourselves, and live out our vision for the year, we have some flaws that will stand in our way. There’s no need to fool ourselves about that. If it were easy to change, everyone would do it.
Instead of beating yourself up over it, put a plan in place for when you’re feeling lazy or lack motivation.
You know yourself best. Think ahead about the scenarios and situations that are likely to come up to stop you from pursuing your goals. What can you do to mitigate those problems?
- What do you do when you don’t feel like running?
- What will you do if you get injured?
- How will you stay motivated?
- If you want to quit smoking but your family still smokes, what can you do to avoid the temptation to go back to the habit?
- If you want to get out of an abusive relationship but he/she is constantly around because they are a member of your friendship circle, how can you avoid falling back into the relationship?
Brainstorm every possible obstacle to reaching your goals and come up with ways to overcome the challenges. Think about how you will tackle major behavioral changes, including the steps you will take, why you want to do it, and ways you can keep yourself on track.
This will allow you to consider what tactics you will use when you face challenges and temptations. When things get difficult, what strategies can you use to stay on the path toward making your resolution a reality?
What are you most likely temptations? How will you deal with them when they arise? Think it through before you are faced with the situation.
For example, you want to quit smoking but you always crack at work when your colleagues go out for a smoke break. Is it possible for you to take a short walk during that time rather than joining them to smoke? Is there another activity you could do instead of smoking during that break?
Look at your goals, consider what situations are likely to prevent you from succeeding, and come up with a plan to overcome the challenge.
21. Plan your rewards.
Aside from celebrating your small wins, your yearly plan should include what you will do when you hit your goals. An entire year of dedication toward one particular outcome is not a minor feat. You’ve overcome challenges, learned new habits, changed up your routine, and much more. Celebrate your growth, plan your reward.
After you run the marathon, what will be your reward? Yes, the joy of accomplishing your goal is one thing, but what else can you do that you can look forward to throughout the year? Maybe a spa weekend or a week recovering in a remote log cabin? Perhaps you could have friends and family show up at the finish line, recording you as you cross? They could even have a special tape for you to run across and break, just like the winner gets.
Plan your reward for staying the course. Make it big enough to keep your motivation up as you go through the year.
22. Start a resolution journal.
Let this year be the year you start a journal. Chronicle your journey toward your vision for 2022, your amazing year. Write about your struggles to be a better version of you, your small wins, and even the days where you lost motivation.
At the end of the year, this journal will help you remember how far you’ve come. It will motivate you to keep pushing yourself to greater heights. Journaling will also help you see what obstacles or triggers that arose.
Your journal can also be where you write your vision, goals, and reason why for the year. You can do your weekly, monthly, and quarterly reviews in your journal as well. Include the challenges you face and the methods that really helped you to be successful. This will make your journal a document you can refer to in the future when you have a goal that you’re struggling with.
23. Try something new.
Try something that is outside your comfort zone. Do something that makes you a little nervous and slightly uncomfortable. If all of your goals are within your comfort zone, as challenging as they may seem, they won’t give you the amazing year you desire. You may have a great year, no doubt; just not what you would describe as amazing.
Growth is outside of your comfort zone. Challenge yourself to do something new. Strive for a goal that requires a new set of skills. Do things that will have you slightly off kilter.
Worse case scenario, you won’t like the experience, but you’ll learn something new during the process. At best, it will be a life changing event that propels you along a new path.
Having an amazing year is not something that one stumbles on. You don’t just happen to wake up one morning and change your life. If it were that easy to change, we’d all do it. You have to be deliberate about it. You have to plan out your strategy, put routines in place to make it easy, and have a support group to cheer you on.
It may be a lot of effort, but the joy of living out your ideal life will definitely be worth it.
Still not sure how to effectively plan for the next 12 months? Want a helping hand? Speak to a life coach today who can walk you through the process. Simply click here to connect with one.
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