One of the great gifts of 2020 is that is required us all to simplify and adjust our rhythms. The drawback being that all those changes were made in a season of stress and out of necessity, rather than thoughtfully chosen based on what would serve us best. The New Year is a perfect opportunity to reassess our plans, rhythms, priorities, and the changes we made in 2020. Maybe you’re thinking twice about ever planning your year after the roller coaster of the past year, but you don’t need to give up New Year’s resolutions all together!
Resolutions Need Balance
The biggest mistake I see made with resolutions is putting too much emphasis on one area of life. Such unbalanced focus is not sustainable and eventually you have to let go of your well-intentioned resolution to keep up with the rest of life. So rather than resolutions, let’s focus on planning holistically for the year and making changes thoughtfully and intentionally.
Holistic planning looks at balancing the needs of your body-mind-spirit, relationships, and work. Our society tends to keep work, home, and health separate – except in 2020 when they all collided! Whatever was healthy in 2020 tended to get healthier, and whatever was already not the healthiest tended to get worse.
This year magnified whatever was there to begin with. So let’s use that insight for the past year and not fall back into the pattern of segmenting our lives and thus our health. When we engage all the aspects of our health together, we actually improve wellbeing in each.
“May the God of peace make you completely whole — may your entire spirit-mind-body be kept healthy until the coming of our Lord Jesus the Messiah.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23
It’s actually a business goal to eat healthfully and drink enough water, when doing so means you function at your peak and are able to get more work done more easily.
And it’s actually a health goal to complete that business project you’ve been stressing over when it means less anxiety and more peace of mind on the other side.
When we learn to think of our lives holistically we learn that we have to plan for business, health, and home together because they exist together in our lives.
Taking Inventory of Your Life
Before you can plan anything for the New Year, you need to know what you have room for.
We often forget how important it is to look back over the past year and learn from our mistakes and triumphs. By looking back you see where you held on too tightly to something that wasn’t really that important, and where you didn’t have room for things that actually are very important for your overall wellbeing.
Even with 2020 not being the typical year, it still provides invaluable insight into what’s working in our lives and what’s not, maybe even more so because of how last year pushed us to extremes!
Taking hold of new things in this year requires letting go of old things from the previous year. In your work/business, in your personal life, in your health body-mind-spirit, you only have so much time and space to devote to the things you choose to hold onto. Choosing to hold onto one thing, by necessity means choosing to let go of something else.
Reflecting On the Past Year
Pause. Think back. Over this past year:
- What have you held onto tightly?
- What should you have let go?
- What do you wish you’d spent more time on?
- What do you need to grab hold of this year?
Setting Your Priorities for the Year
A common way of thinking through priorities is a jar full of rocks, pebbles, and sand.
If you put the sand in first you will never be able to fit it all in the jar. But if you start with the rocks, the biggest, most important things, and then add the pebbles, the next biggest and important things, there will always be enough room for the sand, the things that are not as important but we need or want to get done.
Be careful as you fill your “jar” that not all your rocks come from the same life area. This is where it is important to think holistically in what you decide are the biggest priorities.
After you have planned your priorities for the year be sure to check in with your goals every month and keep planning. Planning your year really means planning the trajectory you would like to set out on. Your priorities might shift throughout the year and that’s okay. As long as you keep checking in with your plan and your goals, adjusting where needed, you will stay on track to having a successful year.
Tools for Successfully Planning Your Year
Holistic Priority Planer
These worksheets use the jar method to walk you through identifying your priorities for the year in each area of life and planning holistically how those priorities need to fit together. Subscribe to get the worksheets in the free resource library.
My favorite calendar is the NeuYear wall calendar because it lets you see the entire year at once. No more forgetting something that happens the first week of the next month or losing track of how overall sense of the year.
Write on your calendar with pencil because plans do change, but go ahead and mark out your goals for the year. Washi tape is great too for visually blocking off sections or marking specific dates. And mini post-its are great for reminders, to-do lists, and more! You can see how I use my NeuYear calendar here. There’s also a special coupon for Shelemah subscribers in the free resource library!
Decide right now that this year is going to be a great year and get to planning for it!