How Planning Your Year Will Make You Happier

After I had achieved one bigger goal I was stuck – what am I going to do further? I seemed to be doing something, but I was seldom satisfied with the outcome. I was fighting with that by reading esoteric stuff, meditation stuff (but not so much doing it), doing yoga, writing a journal, I was going up and down, and there was no evident improvement.

How Planning Your Year Will Make You Happier

Up until this year. I finally understood what was making me not so much satisfied with my life. Funny, but it doesn’t sound huge. It was just as simple as … planning.

“As long as you’re planning a journey, you own the journey” (Old Chinese Saying)

How others deal with their goal setting

How I dealt with a goal setting in the past was probably similar to how majority of people usually deal with their goals:

  • not doing any planning, just following their subconscious wishes

I just had a main goal / dream in mind which came to me naturally, without thinking, I was having no doubts that I wanted to achieve it, but then I was just forgetting about it and going with the flow. So somehow I put it directly to my subconsciousness and it fulfilled itself in some period of time without any of my obvious effort. So when I noticed that the goal is now achieved, and recalling that some time ago I was very much wanting that, I was always surprised, holy cow, everything that I wanted came true!

I didn’t take control of my life in terms of discipline and planning.

I’ve also been involved in something totally opposite of a goal setting. And that was:

  • acting without realizing what the goal is

I had an idea and as a fast starter I immediately dived in in order to implement it. But once I’ve created the first MVP (minimal viable product) I got stuck. That’s because once you achieve something, it’s very hard to move forward if you don’t have next steps planned. 🙂 That made me really tired of all my ideas. I had many half-baked ideas but none of those were edible. My guess is, that it was due to a bad planning habit!

So, what I’ve experimented a couple of days ago with, was creating a whole year plan and breaking it down into smaller goals. I did that in the Google spreadsheets so that I can open the file anytime on any device.

Three Simple Steps to Smarter Yearly Planning

Here are the three simple steps to smarter yearly planning for all of you who would like to do the same experiment:

1. Think of what you’d like to achieve by the year end in one specific area.

For sure you can wish something in a “business”, “family”, “habit growing” niches, but for each of those I would recommend creating a separate plan.
It took me some time to find what my yearly goal was. In fact, I think it is the most catchy part! This should be something you really want, this should be feasible, realistic (at least from your point of view!), and it should be exciting! For example, your yearly goal could be to launch a new business.

Trap: If you don’t specify it as much as possible, the goal may be achieved differently than you’ve envisioned it. For example, you may launch a new startup, but the launch may be unsuccessful. To avoid that, describe everything around the goal as detailed as possible – add the word “successful”, a deadline (by the end of a year), with what people you’d like to do that and by what means, whatever seems important for you.

2. Then plan quarterly.

Start in a reverse mode from the last quarter. What should be already done by then so that your yearly goal comes true? Then move to the third quarter, and so on.

3. Continue planning months, weeks and even days.

I didn’t do all months, because I found it difficult to imagine. You can focus just on the current month or the next one, and do the current month weekly planning. As for the days planning, my husband found this pretty detailed! He said – wow, you’ve got days as well here! But sincerely, daily planning turned to be most useful thing after the yearly one! I am easily striking through those tasks I was done with and moving incomplete ones to the next day if needed. Next I am just hiding columns which are in the past and my plan is always up-to-date;)

A little trick: to avoid being disoriented after achieving your big yearly goal, always have the next one in your pocket. I put it just above the yearly goal and made it greyish so that’s less visible. But it’s always on my mind:)

I’ve created a template based on my version that you can use yourself. Just save it and share, if it was useful for you, too!


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