It’s the time of year when we tend to pause and think about the last 12 months, as well as the year ahead. I like to take time off from work between Christmas and New Year’s. I typically use some of that time to review my previous new year’s resolutions and think about changes I want to make in the next month, quarter, or year. It’s helpful for me to keep things manageable. I try not to create too many resolutions or I will surely fail. Typically, I choose one goal for each of seven areas–fitness, nutrition, business, career, finance, spiritual, and personal. Seven is a lucky number for me, too, which starts my year off on a fortunate note! Some past goals I’ve had include say a Rosary daily, complete a specific large cross-stitch project, get certified in something new, or do five unassisted pull-ups.
I brainstorm a bunch of goals first, then narrow them down. Once I’ve done that, I chunk them down into what needs to happen each month, followed by each week. I like to have a variety of timelines so everything isn’t taking an entire year to complete nor does it need to start in January; sometimes I might want to get a certification by a certain date, for example, or complete a project over the summer. Once I have the action plan outlined, I draft out any challenges I may face, as well as how I might address them. For example, if I want to save $5,000 by March, a challenge might be the additional travel costs I incur for cheer competitions. I could mitigate that by reducing spending in other areas, choosing inexpensive hotels, and being careful about eating out while traveling.
I find that writing things down is the best way to not only reflect on progress, or lack thereof, but also to commit to new habits. There is something about writing it down that locks it into your brain and makes it real. For the past three years, I’ve used the same planner. What I like about it is the space provided each week for me to write down appointments, meetings, and my work and personal to do lists. It also allows me to track behavior so I can keep tabs on the new habits I’m trying to build. Each month, there is a way to assess how you did the month prior, and there’s plenty of room to ideate and brainstorm and create goals and action plans for yourself. The stickers are a nice bonus and I usually purchase more to get me through the year.
The past two years, I’ve integrated my workout tracking into this planner but this year I’ve decided to keep the two separate. This way, I can keep a workout journal right in my gym with me. There was really no benefit to me having to record my workouts in one place only to have to transcribe them in my planner! I am going to try a fitness planner (linked below). I made sure there was room for all the exercises and sets I might do. This is only a three-month planner but I figure it’ll be a good pilot to see if I even like it!
To keep things fun and organized, I also purchase colored pens each year. These don’t bleed through the page and they keep things interesting and color-coded. I typically keep my work and personal content separate, using different colors there. I also take notes at work using a different color each day. It makes me happy! These are my favorite pens.
I hope my suggestions are helpful to you as you take stock of your own health, fitness, work, family, and personal life. You can be as creative as you need to be or as basic as necessary to hold yourself accountable. In the new year, carve out weekly and monthly time to keep these plans on track. You will thank yourself later!