Planning for the year ahead

As we move out of 2020 and into 2021 (thank goodness), many of us will be taking the time to think about what’s next. This year didn’t go to plan for most of us but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take the time to write the plan for 2021. Many of us have a bit of catching up to do!

Every year I take some time out to think about what I want to achieve in both the near and the distant future. I start with a vision of where I hope to be in ten years’ time, and then break that down into achievable mini-goals.

I have a simple process that involves writing a letter to myself as if I were a long-lost friend with ten years of history to share. Using the technique of visualisation, I date the letter in the future – for example, 20th of January 2031 – and write in the present tense, as if from that future date, telling my current self what I have achieved over the last ten years.

It goes something like this:

So today is the 20th of January 2031 and I am looking out my window at Central Park in NYC. I love a white Christmas! I have been exploring this part of the world since 2026 when Lucas moved over here to study …

As I create this vision, I tell stories about different aspects of my life, including:

  • My family – where they are now, what they are doing and what they have done over the last ten years
  • My health – any great feats I have achieved (e.g. running the Boston marathon or getting my black belt), and how long I took to achieve them
  • My finances – whether we’ve paid off the house, extended or moved again, whether I’m retired (although we know that that will never happen!), a billionaire or working for the fun of it, and the steps that got me there
  • My business and career – you won’t be surprised to know that I spend a lot of time on this area, creating a vision of what I might have achieved in ten years, and how I achieved it.

This letter is the framework of my future. I then break down the steps I need to take each year to achieve these goals. You get the picture.

As we say goodbye to 2020 and think about new ways of working and living, take the time to start planning what your future might look like.

Is your career going the way you would like it to? What is working, what is not working and why? What actions will you take to move the dial the way you want it to go?

Is your health in the state you would like? What is missing? What are your goals? What commitments will you make and what actions will you take to achieve them?

What is your team and work environment like? What changes need to be made? Why? What resources do you need and who do you need to speak with to create the team you need to thrive in 2021?

Asking these questions is the first step towards formulating a plan to achieve the future your ten-years-older self would want to be living.

In the meantime, have a great Christmas and New Year!