I always appreciate the quiet time after the holidays have passed, but before we are ready to dive back into our regular routine. This is when I like to do my personal planning ritual.

Pulling Cards

I get out my planner, which I can’t crack open early for some reason, and I pull cards for each month of the year. It’s an easy way to get started while lending a little intuitive magic to the process. I’ve been doing this for a years now but this was the first time my daughter joined me. It was so much fun! We used cards from 4 decks to give each month a word or direction like ‘connect with nature’ or ‘be confident’ depending on the meaning of the card we pulled.

Choosing a Theme

Next, I choose a theme for the year. This is not random like pulling cards. Since I know I’m going to do this, I’ve been thinking about it for some time. My word for this year is Begin. It took longer than usual to arrive at this year’s theme. But it came to me when I finally took out my knitting basket and started a new project. It felt so good! The optimism. The bravery of beginning. Gosh, I haven’t been here for awhile. I’ve been so busy finishing large projects – at work and at home, that I’ve been afraid to start anything new. Especially anything that I didn’t think I could finish in a reasonable amount of time. This is my year to be fearless and BEGIN.

Write My Vision

Once I have my theme everything flows pretty effortlessly from there. The next step is to write your 3-year vision. I am still happy with the one I wrote last year so I didn’t need to change much. I added more specificity here, a bit more clarity there. Writing it down again always feels good and reminds me of the alignment between what I imagine for myself in the bigger picture and what I’m committing to this year.

Set My Goals

We’ve already set our AW business goals for the year and Q1 so in that realm it’s a matter of committing my part of each of them to paper. My personal goals have been broader brushstrokes up until I put them in my planner. I’ve been editing them in my phone as I’ve gotten more clarity over the past month or so. I know the big things I want to get done (house projects). My Personal Foundation (this year will again be focused on self-care) takes a bit more introspection. One thing I do to make sure I’ve got everything right is look at what I was tracking the prior year and see where I landed.

Decide What to Track

I track things that I don’t hold as goals per se but I know that tracking makes me do more than I would otherwise. The three things I’ve been most diligent about tracking are books read (notes app on my phone), alcohol consumed (Less app), and exercise (Apple watch). This year I tracked food (MyFitnessPal) but I didn’t get a ton of value out of it. This year I’m going to let that go and find another way to be mindful about what I put in my body.

Once I’ve decided on my vision, 1-year goals and personal foundation including what I want to track, my plan for the year is complete. I’ll wait to create my quarterly goals and commitments on my planning call with my coach. I know we will do some refining and editing of my 1-year plan as well so this is enough for now. My planning ritual is complete.

Give Myself Time

Sometimes I do this all in one sitting, sometimes it spreads over a few days. I never force it, instead I try to enjoy the pause that is planning, the rest place before the doing. Even though I don’t usually struggle with making decisions, I don’t rush them either. I know that everything I decide to do means there are many other things I will be deciding not to do.

Over the years, I’ve learned that some people love planning, while others are overwhelmed by it. However you feel out the outset, there is a sense of purpose and peacefulness that comes from having gone through the process. Not everyone has a planning ritual but for those that can relate to the value that comes from planning, we are here to help. Check out our planning sessions. They were designed to help you plan, set goals, and to support your goals with mindful action.