2021 is almost here. Are you ready?
Over the last three weeks, we’ve been walking you through our yearly planning series to help you reflect on the past year and clarify what matters most to you as you head into the new year. If you haven’t downloaded and worked through the first three parts of the series, back up and start there.
Here are the links to the first three worksheets:
Now it’s time to take all of your ideas and turn them into smart, actionable goals that you can accomplish next year.
This step right here is where it all happens — it’s your blueprint to a successful year, and the beginning of the map that will guide you along the way.
Download your worksheet right here, and let’s get started!
Your five-year vision
Mapping out the bigger picture and working backward toward the present often makes it easier to see what needs to happen in the short-term.
While it’s true that new year’s resolutions are typically just about the year ahead, we want to do you one better — we don’t just want you to have a great year, we want you to have a great *life*. And that starts with thinking and planning on a really big scale first and then making choices every day, week, month, and year to move you closer to that vision of the life you want.
So let’s start with the big picture: What do you want your life to look like in five years? Where will you be professionally, personally, and socially?
Breaking down big goals
Now that you’ve gotten an idea of where you’d like to be five years from now, let’s start breaking those big goals down into more actionable steps.
What are the major milestones you’ll need to hit to accomplish each goal?
If one of your five-year goals were to buy a house, for example, here are some major milestones you might list:
- Select the area/neighborhood you’d like to live in
- Get your finances in order
- Find a realtor
- Buy the house
Now let’s break those down even further! In the next section, you’re going to list even more specific goals that you could conceivably accomplish this year. Ideally each of these bullet points would be something you could do within a month. Here are some examples:
- Open a dedicated savings account
- Begin depositing X percent of each paycheck in your account
- Research the area/neighborhoods you might like to live in
- Get pre-approved for a loan
- Research realtors
- Begin attending open houses
Creating your action plan
The second page of this week’s worksheet is probably the most important: It’s here that you’re going to detail your action plan for each and every goal you set for the new year.
Make sure you print out a copy of this page for each of your goals — you will likely need more than just one! Remember that your goals should take into account all aspects of your life, professional, personal, and social.
We’re big believers in setting smart (and S.M.A.R.T.) goals. That means your goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. (Read more about setting smart goals here.)
Every goal that you set should start with a goal statement: What do you want to achieve? By clearly writing this out, you’re setting yourself up for success by clearly defining your priorities and guiding your focus.
A good goal statement should be specific: Instead of “exercise more,” try something like “join a gym and go to classes two times a week.” Instead of “eat healthier,” try “cook dinner at home three nights a week" and "bring my lunch instead of buying it".
Next, you should explain the benefits of achieving your goal. This is your why. Refer back to this section on the days when it feels like the going’s getting tough or you’re just not feeling motivated.
Now it’s time for your plan of action. This is where you’re going to list out the specific steps you’re going to take to make progress toward your goal. We’ve also included space for you to list the resources you have at your disposal to help make it happen and some notes of encouragement.
Let’s say one of your goals is to take on a leadership role on your team. What are some of the small, realistic steps you can take every day, week, or month to make sure you’re on track for consideration?
Maybe it’s making sure you’re on time (or early!) to your weekly meetings and prepared to contribute, no matter how small the meeting or your role. Maybe it’s starting the practice of sending your manager a weekly status email. (Resources to help: your planner!)
Once you have your specific, realistic plan of action set for every single one of your goals, it’s time to celebrate! You are well on your way to making this your most successful year yet, and we can’t wait to see what you achieve.
Our yearly planning series is the perfect complement to our Ink+Volt Goal Planners, and it’s not too late to get yours! Our planners are based on proven systems to help you achieve your goals — we’ll help you carry the progress you’ve made here today forward all year long with monthly and weekly planning (and review) sections to help you make real progress every step of the way.
Happy planning, and happy new year! May this one be your best one yet!