I know you want to live a better life in this coming new year, everybody does. Nobody wants to live the same year 75 times and then call it a life. That’s not what we want. As human beings, we’re wired for improvement, achievement, and success.
And this is why it is important to learn how to plan your year in advance. Planning is one of the most important keys to success and living a better life. Yet, most people have no idea how to plan their year and life.
And in this guide, I will share with you 10 simple steps you can follow to plan your year so that you can set yourself up to win in life.
You see, success is about winning your day. When you win your day, you will win your week. When you win your week, you will win your month. And when you win your month, guess what, you will win your year.
And of course, if you continue to win and score every year, you will win your life. That’s how success is created.
Before we begin, I just want to let you know I have a goal-achieving program called Goal Setting Formula, where I shared how anyone can achieve their goals to gain an unfair advantage in business and life. You should check it out.
Below are the 10 steps to help you plan your year in advance so that you can win in the game of life…
1. Envision the Ideal Year in Your Head
The first thing you want to do is to envision the ideal year you want. How do you want your future to look like? Do you want to…
- Lose weight and get back in shape?
- Pay off all your debt and gain control of your life?
- Save more money for investment or to buy a new house?
- Get married and start your own family?
- Stop the unhealthy smoking habit?
- Write and publish a book?
- Start an internet business as a side hustle?
Whatever you want, you can make it happen, if you have the commitment to dream, plan, and take massive action.
So, when it comes to planning your year, always begin with envisioning how you want your year to look like.
And remember to make it as exciting as possible. Why? Because if your dreams are not exciting, you will never look forward to achieving them. And if you are not inspired to achieve your dreams, you will never want to take action.
Take a look at SpaceX’s mission. These were the words from Elon Musk:
Do you see how exciting his mission is? You want to do the same.
You want to create an exciting year ahead so that every morning, you will wake up and can’t think of anything more exciting than taking action and making your ideal future come true.
2. Create a Vision Board
To help you better plan your year and make it exciting, you should create a vision board for what you want to achieve throughout the year.
I have published a complete guide on vision boards, and I strongly suggest you read it below:
Creating a vision board is powerful in helping you turn your dream year into reality because you are making what you want much more tangible.
When you create a vision board, you are giving your dreams and goals a time and space to live in your life. You are turning the visions in your head into pictures and images in reality so that your mind can achieve them.
What you need to do is simple, find pictures that represent what you want and then glue them onto a board so that you can look at them and visualize them every day.
Your vision boards will work as a reminder to trigger you about your dreams and goals so that you will take action each day.
3. Start With 90-Day Goals
The next step to planning your year is to start with a 90-day goal. Yes, you don’t want to start with a yearly goal. Why? Because yearly goals don’t really work.
According to the University of Scranton, 92% of people who set a New Year resolution failed to accomplish them.
This shows that a yearly goal is difficult to achieve and the success rate is too low.
So instead of focusing on a yearly goal, you want to start with a 90-day goal. The reason is simple, when a target is too far away, it becomes harder to plan and unpredictable.
Think about it, it is much easier to plan for an event that is going to happen in 3 months than to plan for something that is going to happen in a year.
Furthermore, when a goal is too far away, it lacks urgency. You will never want to act, and it will only make you procrastinate.
Thus, turn your yearly goals into multiple 90-day goals.
But why 90 days? Why not 30 days or 6 months? Because 90 days is just nice – it is not too far into the future that makes planning difficult, and 3 months is good enough to allow yourself time to create progress and produce results.
Trust me, if you are planning for an entire year, things will not work out well for you. Because that’s what most people will do. They set goals and New Year’s resolutions by the end of the year, but you know what? The majority of them are going to fail.
Recommends: Join me in Goal Setting Formula to set empowering goals that will give you an unfair advantage in business and life.
Luckily, you don’t have to be like most people. You are NOT most people. Hence, plan your year using 90-day goals and then focus on them monomaniacally.
4. Create an Actionable Plan
Once you have identified your 90-day goals, it is time to create an actionable plan for them.
This is where most people fail because they stop at the ‘goal-setting’ level. They set goals, but they don’t plan.
If you want to achieve your goals, you must plan them and create an actionable plan so that your mind knows exactly what you need to do to create the results you want.
How should you plan? I used the 3-column technique.
- Take out a piece of paper and draw two lines to separate the paper into 3 columns.
- The first column is for your projects and goals.
- The second column is for your strategy and plans.
- And the third column is for action steps and things you need to do.
Take a look at my example below:
This is how you can plan your goals and projects throughout the year. Planning your year doesn’t need to be complicated, but you must make sure your goals are specific and the action steps are clear.
When your action steps are not specific, your mind will never know what you want it to do, hence, it will either do nothing or procrastinate.
Don’t let that happen to you. Make sure your actionable steps are clear and specific so that you can act on them.
- 10 Effective Action Plan Templates You Can Use Now
- 10 Tips How to Plan Your Day and Live a More Successful Life
5. Turn the Actions into Habits
You cannot solely rely on motivation alone if you want to achieve your goals. Planning your year in advance is just the first step. The most important step is in taking action and making progress.
No matter how great your plan is, your plan will fail if you don’t execute them.
This is why you want to turn repeatable behaviors and actions into habits.
For instance, if your goal is to lose weight and you should exercise for at least 30 minutes every day, you want to make this behavior into a habit.
When a behavior becomes a habit, you will do it automatically when the time comes, with or without motivation.
This is why if you want to stick to your goals and plans, you need to develop good habits to support the action.
Most people only take action and work on their goals when they have the motivation. But when they lack motivation, they will just procrastinate and do something else instead.
And this is the key difference between someone successful and someone who is not. Successful people choose to take action regardless of whether they feel motivated or not. They do the work even when they don’t feel like it. And that is why they are successful.
You have to be the same. And the only way to make sure you take action and work on your goals and plans is to build good habits out of it.
But, how do you build good habits? The answer is in this amazing book. Read it because it will change your life:
6. Review Your Progress Weekly
When was the last time you review your progress? Most people don’t, and that’s why most people are not successful.
To make sure you are on track to your goals and are making your perfect year a reality, you must constantly review your progress.
My suggestion is to at least review your goals, plans, and progress once a week. You don’t have to do it every day, but at least once a week.
Simply reconnect yourself with your goals and plans. And then learn from what you did wrong in the previous week. After that, you want to create a better plan for your coming week.
This is how you keep improving and making sure you are always on the right track.
You see, if you want to lose weight, the first thing you need to do is to weigh yourself. You stand on the weighing machine and track your weight.
Unfortunately, when it comes to planning and achieving goals, most people don’t measure their progress. They thought that goal setting is one-time work. They think that all they need to do is to plan once and things will magically appear.
No, this is not how things work. You want to review and re-plan your goals every day, or at least every week.
When you look at your goals and create a new plan, you are re-engaging yourself with what you want to achieve in your life. And this will make you motivated and proactive to take action.
7. Celebrate Your Progress
Next, you want to celebrate your progress, not just your wins. As long as you are taking action and moving forward, you want to celebrate.
And when I say celebrate, I don’t mean having a party all night. For instance, once you have completed a small task, such as writing an article, you can pat yourself on the back and celebrate it as a small win.
You don’t have to wait until you achieve the big goal only to celebrate. The more you celebrate, the more you will have to celebrate.
When you feel good about making progress, you are training your brain to do more and to achieve more.
Most people wait until they achieve the goal only to feel good. They say things such as…
- I will feel happy when I have gotten out of debt.
- I will feel good when I lost the extra fat.
- I will feel great when I become a best-selling author.
No, you don’t have to postpone your happiness and fulfillment. Instead of feeling good only after you accomplished something, feel good right now and happily achieve.
You want to change from: Set goal –> achieve goal –> feel good
To this: Feel happy now –> achieve goal –> continue to feel happy
Do you get that?
So, celebrate your progress, no matter how big or small they are. Here are some additional resources to help you in this:
- 13 Ways How to Celebrate Small Victories and Make Progress
- Reverse Gap Thinking: How to Encourage Yourself to Achieve More
- How to Reward Yourself for Your Hard Work and Effort
8. Time Block to Make Sure You Act
One of the most powerful techniques in planning your year in advance is time blocking. This is a technique that will make sure you get the work done.
I have covered the time blocking technique here, make sure you read it.
What you need to do is simple. Once you have planned your day, you know what action steps you need to take, you just block off time to make sure the action happens.
Here’s an example. If you need to write an article today, you can time block 2 hours to do that. You can block out 10 AM to 12 PM solely for writing the article.
And during these 2 hours, you will do nothing except writing the article. This will give you 100% focus and a distraction-free environment to work on your task.
If someone needs your attention, you will have to reject them and tell them you are not free during this time and you will get back to them at another time.
This is how time blocking works.
Imagine you time block an hour or two to work on your goals every day. Within a year, you will have taken so much action and created so much progress for your goals. You will get the results you want.
I first discovered the time-blocking technique from this book called The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results. It is a great book and I suggest you read it too.
9. Commit to Improvement
Now, you may think that this step is not necessary for planning your year. If you think so, you are wrong.
You see, planning your year and achieving your goals is not an easy task. And to achieve big goals, you need to constantly develop your skills and improve yourself about it.
It is not about how big your goals should be, but instead, it is about how big you can grow.
The better your skills, the more you can achieve. As Harv Eker used to say:
“If you want to make a permanent change, stop focusing on the size of your problems and start focusing on the size of you!”Harv Eker
I always love to use the gaming metaphor to explain this. Imagine you are playing a game and your character is at level 3. You face a level 7 enemy, and the fight will be difficult.
But once you leveled up your character in the game to level 13, the same level 7 enemy will not become a threat to you anymore.
So, it is not about the problem or the size of the success you desire. It is about growing yourself and becoming better and better each day.
Therefore, commit to improvement. Read and learn as much as possible. Time block learning time and make it a part of your action plan.
If you are serious about improving yourself and getting to the next level, I suggest you take this web class from John Assaraf. He will show you how to let go of your limiting beliefs and fears that are holding you back from achieving your goals and dream life.
10. Review Your Year
Finally, the last step you should take is to review your year. That’s right, you start your year with planning and then you end it with a review.
As you already know, reviewing what you do is important because it tells you what went wrong and what went right, so that you can make adjustments to live better.
Reviewing your year doesn’t need to be complicated. There are 2 methods on how you can do this…
1) The 3 Questions Review:
Simply ask yourself these 3 questions to review your year:
- What were the things that I have done wrong in the past year?
- What were the things that I have done right in the past year?
- What are the things that I can improve and do more in the coming year?
2) The Start, Stop, Continue Method:
Here’s another way you can review your year. Just list down 3 to 5 things that you will start, stop, and continue to do:
- What are the 3 things that I will start doing in the coming year?
- What are the 3 things that I will stop doing in the coming year?
- What are the 3 things that I will continue to do in the coming year?
Although it is called a “review your year”, but I recommend you do it once every 3 months. Again, review your life every 90 days.
Why? Because you don’t have to wait until a year to evaluate what is working or if you are on the right track. You can evaluate and review every quarter to make sure you are in the right direction.
Planning your year in advance is a skill. And there is no right or wrong way to do it, only what fits you best.
If you have no idea where to begin, just use these 10 steps given above. The more you plan, the better you will become. And the better you are at planning, the more likely you are going to reach your goals and achieve your dreams.
Just like what Larry Winget said:
“Nobody ever wrote down a plan to be broke, fat, lazy, or stupid. Those things are what happen when you don’t have a plan.”Larry Winget
So, start to plan your year right now.
Before you go, make sure you check out Goal Setting Formula to learn how to achieve your goals and gain an unfair advantage in business and life.