Planning Your Next Year Right


Are You Planning Your Next Year?

We're just a couple of days from the new year. And if you're like me, you can't wait for a new year to start so we can get past what's been two very long years. But if you're planning your next year right now, I want you to press “pause” for a second so we can be sure your plans are motivated the right way.

Right & Wrong Motivations

A lot of people create new resolutions for their next year because they want to achieve something. There's nothing wrong with that. But it's what's under that want that will impact whether you're successful or not.

Check out this YouTube Clip from The Italian Job.

Did you catch the dynamic I'm writing about? If not, here's another version that showed up in my inbox this morning from James Clear, author of Atomic Habits.

“You have no responsibility to live up to someone else's expectation of you.

Spend as little time as possible chasing other people's preferences instead of your own.”

James Clear, in today's newsletter

Now you see what I'm talking about, right?

It's easy to look around and see what other people have, and want that. But you're just chasing their dreams, not your own. There's no internal motivation other than matching what someone else has.

The problem is when things get tough.

[Tweet “If your objectives for next year are defined by others, you won't have the internal drive or desire to reach your destination when things get tough.”]

Because then there's no internal fortitude to make things happen, because it was never your own drive, desire, or destination. It was someone else's.

My Three Part Approach to Planning Your Next Year the Right Way

I learned this approach years ago, the first time I read Stephen Covey's book on 7 Habits. In other words, between that book and James' (listed above), you can already know one thing – I think success is built upon great habits.

So first I start with roles, then goals, and lastly timeboxing.


You are not just a founder, entrepreneur or employee. You're more than that. So make sure you're looking at all your roles – family roles, friendship roles, work roles.

Pick the top five roles that you value (3 if you want to get really focused). That's what you'll take into the next step.

Why narrow things down? Because if you create goals for each of your 25 roles, you'll get nothing accomplished. Getting things done next year is about focus and you can't have focus if you're spread out too much.


This is where the planning for next year takes real shape. What are the goals you want to achieve next year?

Now before you do this, remember that goals don't have to be results.

I say this because a lot of people think the only way a goal is useful is if you can articulate the results. I wrote a new blog post every day this year. That was the goal. What that results in (pageviews, revenue, etc.) wasn't the goal. The goal was the process.

With that said, for each of your roles (that you'll focus on), what is one goal for each that you'd like to accomplish next year?

Notice I said one goal, not three or five.


I referenced timeboxing in a post last week. My take on schedules is that either you will run your schedule or your schedule will run you.

[Tweet “One of two things will be true next year about your schedule. Either you will run it, or it will run you.”]

Timeboxing is the way I stay on top of my schedule. Because what I'm really doing is pushing my values and goals into my calendar. I've giving the things that matter to me the time they need.

So for next year, don't just “hope” that things will work out. Put time on your calendar – make appointments with yourself like you were a client.

Wrapping Up

Let me wrap up with the wisdom of my buddy John,

Whatever your vision of the future is, start working on it now. You have the rest of your life to make it great. The sooner you start, the longer you’ll have. You’ll use up all of the time you’ve got. Passion and commitment are magic keys that unlock every door in your path.

JJJ, Tweeting this 3 days ago

I added the emphasis of “commitment” because I think he's absolutely right on. To make anything happen you're going to need more than just a great idea, and some supportive friends. They can't do the work for you. So when the going gets tough, it's all about your commitment (and that's why habits make it easier).

Good luck!

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