How to Plan a Year – Ultimate Guide

Here we go again, another New Year’s Eve inevitably coming and you may be already tired of the “New Year,  New Me” bullshit circulating around the webs.

But, if you find yourself in the situation, and most of us do, where you are not satisfied with your life in some of the fields, either love, friendship, career, finance, fitness, health etc. maybe it is indeed time for you to change in 2017.

I know it is going to be the case for me.

Honestly, I haven’t achieved everything I was hoping for in 2016 thus I decided to reach for the help to the most successful people that found the way to go. Here is the most comprehensive online guide of how to plan the year that cumulates all the knowledge I gained recently about the matter.

1. Analyse the Passing Year

As mentioned earlier, I didn’t manage to achieve all of my goals in 2016 and in order to improve in 2017, I need to realise what stopped me from succeeding.

This is the step so many planning guides forget about, while it may be actually the most important one.

As Ray Dalio in his “Principles” writes, most people don’t achieve their goals because they are too afraid and get angry when their problems are being analysed.

While actually, this feedback is the first step on your way to greatness.

How are you supposed to improve without knowing what is the root cause of your 2016 failures?

Imagine you are riding a bike and you keep getting flat tyres. You have two main choices to make. You can either continue cycling and be stopping to pump your tyre every 5 minutes. At the same time, you can stop, analyse the wheel and change the inner tube. Which method do you think will get you faster and further to your destination?

So take your time now and with honesty to yourself analyse 2016. I will wait.

Seriously, I don’t allow you to read further before you do this.

 

2. Five Steps to Greatness
  1. Set Goals
  2. Find the Obstacles
  3. Analyse the Obstacles
  4. Plan
  5. Execute

Now let’s take it slowly.

  1. SET GOALS

I am sure you have at some point in your life come across SMART Goals:

S – Specific

M – Measurable

A – Achievable

R – Realistic

T – Timely

 

I would like to add to the list F – Fucking awesome

Because the thing is, as Derek Sievers, the founder of CD Baby, points out, whenever you have a choice to make, you have two options. It is either “Fuck Yes” or “No”. As someone else pointed out once, “99% commitment is no commitment”. That’s why your goals should be only of a great excitement to you. This is another way to avoid ‘the dip” (check out my post about the dip here)

That is why I would like to ask you to think of your goals this way. Don’t think of them as if what would your mum want you to achieve. You live for yourself, not for her. So if there is something that is truly important to you, that’s the way to go.

So, breaking SMARTF into parts

Specific

Bad example: Get rich

Good example: Earn £1 million

Measurable

Bad example: Improve my social life

Good example: Go to 30 Birthday Parties

 

Achievable (is it really?)

Here is the thing. One part of me agrees with this but at the same time, I think that a bit of craziness isn’t bad. As Richard Branson said, “If someone offers you an amazing opportunity and you are not sure you can do it, say yes and then learn how to do it later”. That is why although you should think first about achievable goals, remember that the greatest things happen when we leave our comfort zone, so don’t be afraid to go a bit over the edge.

Realistic

See Achievable

Timely

Bad example: Write a book

Good example: By June 2017 write a book and send it to the publisher for the review

Fucking Awesome

Everyone gets excited about different stuff. For one graduation seems like an unnecessary career step while others will be crying all day with the tears of joy when the day comes. Thus I won’t point out any bad and good examples here. But for me, I can tell you it is to start an ethical fashion brand. How fucking awesome is that?!

 

Few more advice

What I would like to recommend you is to focus on 1-2 main big goals and then set few smaller ones, that could be potentially related to the big ones. Remember, we have limited time and attention span so it is all about priorities we set ourselves.

 

When you come up with a goal, ask yourself why it is that you want to achieve it?

Let’s say your goal is to buy a brand new Ferrari by August 2017.

But why? What if your reason behind it is to be more admired by women since you are still single? Maybe better way to achieve it is through going to the gym or starting a charity organisation?

Since all of your goals are clear now, please write them all down on few pieces of paper and distribute around your house, bags, cars, wallets. It’s just a psychological trick that will set you up for the success.

One more piece of advice, no matter what your motivations are, set yourself also a financial goal you want to achieve. Write to yourself a bank cheque for the required amount and put it in your wallet. You can’t imagine how many successful people have admitted that they had done it.

 

2. FIND THE OBSTACLES

At this point, I hope you took the first step (analysing 2016) seriously and now you know in which areas of your life you basically suck and need to improve.

I want you to be honest with yourself. I know it can be painful but deceiving yourself and being disillusioned won’t take you far. Just look at your goals, look at your performance from the past and without analysing deeply or thinking about potential solutions please see what the heck is wrong with you.

Example:

Last year I was planning to spend more time learning languages. But with my busy lifestyle, I couldn’t find often enough time to achieve the goal. At the same time, every day I would go after work to Instagram thinking I deserved a bit of chill. The problem was, “a bit of chill” would often turn to be a time I could spend on Duolingo doing few lessons. I am happy to say I managed through building healthy habits to replace Instagram with Duolingo and now Je parle francais un peu.

So look at your goals and knowing yourself think what could potentially stand in the way between you and your destination.

 

3. ANALYSE THE OBSTACLES

Now it is the time I will ask you to go deeper and analyse what is the cause of the obstacle. Remember the example of a flat tyre at the beginning?

When you find it, go ahead and find the way to improve on it. Each thing can be different that I will just avoid giving you any vague advice here. It’s up to you how you are going to tackle it. What I would recommend though is researching more the power of habits since they are the way to turn bad behaviours into successful ones.

 

4. PLAN 

Now that we know what we are going for and what are the obstacles we have to face, we have to set ourselves weekly and monthly milestones.

Also, divide each goal into smaller pieces and set deadlines for each of them.

For example, my goal for 2017 is to read 52 books. I have prepared a list of dates (last days of each week) and a free spot next to it where I am to write a title of a book I read over the week.  That way, you know how you are getting on, if you are on track and if not, why and what you should change.

5. EXECUTE 

Ok, enough of the theory. Go and conquer.

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