Have you ever waited until January 6th to start your New Year's resolutions?
"Holy smokes, how is it already the New Year? I didn't even think about what I'm committing to. I guess my weekly thank-you notes and my diet can start in a couple days. On January 6th.”
I’ve done it. I bet you have, too.
Because every year, we do the same thing. We waltz our way through holiday parties, travel plans and family functions right into January. Then January 1st hits and we're slammed with the New Year already upon us. It's here. It's happening. And we haven't given the slightest amount of time to figuring out what we really want for the next 365 days. I'm not talking about casual resolutions, but rather how we can truly have the best year yet.
Enter November. Your new month for setting a strong foundation for the coming year.
“November is the perfect time to be thinking about next year. Why? Because it gives you time to start thinking of your plan, lay down a draft, step away from it, let it breathe a little and iterate through before you close out the year and go into the new one," says business coach Alison Gilbert.
Your best year yet doesn't have to start on the first day of 2016. It can, and should, start right now. Whether you want more progress in your career, or more love in your relationships, or more confidence in yourself, there's no time like November to begin paving the way to success.
Here are a few ways to spend the rest of this month preparing for next year:
Review the Past 10 Months
You did more than you can imagine last year. There were lessons you learned, things you achieved, and moments you'll treasure forever. Too often, though, we rush into the future without taking inventory of the past. Leadership coach Jacqueline Twillie suggests taking a deep look at all you accomplished in the past year.
“What have you achieved and what contributed to that success? What did you miss the mark on, and why. And most importantly what have you learned?" Twillie says, adding that this type of deep reflection will allow you to make a more meaningful impact in the coming year.
Another tip: Figure out how your past experiences can influence your actions for next year. That can only happen by creating the space to remember what went on and pull out the nuggets of insights needed to inform you.
Actually Do the Planning
How many times do we think about all the pre-work and planning we want to do for something, but not actually do it because it seems to consuming? Creating plans for the new year is no different. You have to actually set aside time to explore how you'll go after your goals for next year. Gilbert suggests mini work sessions so the pressure isn't all on one giant day.
“They can be a few sessions in one week or spread out over the first few weeks of November. However you're 'planning energy' thrives, work around that and put the time on the calendar to meet with yourself. It will take the pressure off of feeling like you need to hammer out a full plan in one sitting," she explains.
Whether this is an excuse to buy new journals or cool markers and giant poster boards, planning for the new year can be as fun and easy as it is thoughtful.
Laying the Foundation (to #killit in 2016)
So how do you actually plan? What should you ask yourself, and how do you go about laying this awesome foundation for the new year. While there's no one answer, there are a variety of awesome way to go about this.
I always develop my foundation through declarative sentences. Who are you in this new year, and what are the few ways you'll go about executing that? For example, “I'm financially thriving. I check my bank accounts daily. I follow my budget. And I focus my gratitude on abundance."
Who will you be in 2016 and how can you tactically create that?
Gilbert suggests picking a theme for the year be asking yourself some juice-flowing questions like: How can I improve myself and where do I want to be?
“Reflect on your answers and pick one theme that you feel energized to focus on. You will know you are energized by that theme because you get a little movement or positive response in your body," she says.
Twillie has advice for the more traditional goal-setters: “Use the SMART goal format to set the foundation for the new year. I find the most useful part of this process to be really specific and realistic. Hammering out the small steps that you need to take to achieve goals and then plug in dates with reminders on your calendar."
However you go about creating your plan for 2016, don't wait another day to set intention around what next year will look like for you and begin planning for it. You'll be amazed at how doing this allows you to attract and work toward the things you'll need to begin executing on the greatness come January 1st. It's never too early to begin planning for your future.