How to plan for your best year yet

Make this year your year for really getting to grips with your work-life balance.

Written by Clara Abson

4 Minute read

3 January 2020

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New year, new you

I get a real sentimental feeling about the new year. I’m not one for huge celebrations but I do always get a feeling of calm at midnight as the chance to forget any mistakes or disappointments of the year before comes round again. It's a time to let go of the past and have a fresh start. I also love getting a crisp new diary, transferring over contact details and important numbers from the old book to the new one and making a new year plan.

I don’t think of myself as a particularly organised person, much more of a go with the flow easy-going spirit. But when I decided to write this blog about new year goals I realised that actually everything I do is very much planned in advance and for me it really does work. The last few years have seen a rise in shops stocking a great range of snazzy new planning diaries and bullet journals so it’s easy to find one that suits you if you enjoy adding a creative edge to your diary.

Make this year your year for really getting to grips with your work-life balance. Follow my guide below to help you make a plan and stick to it!


Plan time for friends and family

Due to several moves over the last few years my friends and family are spread far and wide. I am known for making social plans far in advance to make sure that I get a chance to see everyone a couple of times a year. Birthdays and special dates are scheduled in and weekends are then pre-booked for these occasions.

Filling my calendar up quickly can make the year seem so short, but I know that when I look back over the past year I am always grateful to have made the time for the important people in my life.

A short-term fitness goal

I have got to a time in my life now that the years zoom past me, the saying "the days are long but the years are short" is the closest way to how I feel. I always like to reflect on my previous year by what things I have achieved. Important life events like a new job, house, marriage, children are always great milestones to take note of, but I like to add fitness achievements too and the older I get the more proud I get of these achievements.

It can be too overwhelming or easy to dismiss when you give yourself the goal of 'this year I’m going to get fit!' Entering a race or a competition is an ideal goal to work towards and a great motivator to keep yourself active. Even better, if you can find a couple of challenges to do throughout the year you can keep yourself motivated for longer. This website is great for planning in some races throughout the year.

Improve your time management

I know I’m not alone with my bad habit of procrastination and it definitely answers the question of “where does all my time go?” But just think of all the extra things you could do or sleep you could catch up on if you could stick to a plan and eliminate any time wasters.

A great tool to try is the well-known Eisenhower matrix, it will aid in better prioritisation of your to-do list. Make a new matrix as often as you feel necessary, daily, weekly etc. BUT don’t use this as just another excuse to procrastinate!

For more in-depth help with banishing bad habits and managing your time better, try our popular Effective Time Management course.

Learn something new (every 30 days!)

Learning new things is great for improving your mental health and your confidence. Learning helps to keep all your cogs whirring and your brain ticking over. Finding a new hobby could give you both a well needed stress relief and also a great sense of achievement. But rather than committing to just one new topic to learn or hobby to start, why not plan to learn or try something new every month.

Matt Cutts suggests trying something new for just 30 days in this inspirational short TED talks. He notes that “instead of the months flying by forgotten, the time was much more memorable”. This idea will help you reflect on your year in a much more positive way as you remember all the things you learnt and achieved.

A career goal for each quarter

What are your career goals for this year? Are you looking for a new role outside your company or do you want to work towards a promotion in your current position? Or rather than always looking to jump ahead would you just like some time to really get to grips with your role or start a new project?

Break the year down into smaller chunks again and plan an achievable goal for each month or quarter. For example:

  • Update your CV or even re-do it from scratch ensuring that you're always tailoring it to the specific job you're applying for.

  • Take your lunch break every day to help increase your own productivity.

  • Develop a new process to improve your teams workflow.

  • Connect with your colleagues and strengthen relationships.

Breaking up your main goal into smaller stages will help you go about achieving it in the right way.


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