The end of the year is my FAVORITE. Like, I love Christmas and the buildup to it and kids during Christmas are awesome, and I love the break from school (read here about how we chose to take six weeks off during this time!). Another thing on that list of things I love about the end of the year is planning for the next year. Especially once we became business owners, I loved the idea of writing down what I wanted to see happen, and then watching it happen because I made it a priority!
There are a few steps I try to hit every year towards the end of December. It's never been a firm, step-by-step process, but I've found myself in this rhythm as we wrap up work things before Christmas that gets me in the mood for creating my plan for the coming year. Read on for more information about each step, and how I implement them.
Pray about it.
Decide on a Word of the Year.
Talk to my people about it.
Make the plan.
Since the end of November, I've been in constant conversation with God about what the next year could look like and how I could serve Him in it. I start writing down words that I hear repeatedly or are brought to my attention by people in my life. This year more than ever, it has been others speaking into my life. In one instance, it was an acquaintance who saw some things for us that made me aware that I need to be open to what the Lord has for me.
Decide on a Word of the Year
Decide on a word for the year that will help guide my goals (both achievement and habit goals) as well as find areas that I could use some growth in. Several years ago my friend wrote a blog post that changed my entire outlook on new year's resolutions and why they don't work. She introduced me to the concept of having a Word of the Year to dwell on and use throughout the year to grow and make habit changes, then she wrote a super in depth blog post about creating one. I'll link it here because Jen does a much better job of introducing the concept.
Sometimes my word is comforting, like Enjoy (2018), or Arise (2020). Sometimes my word is hard, like Obedience (2019) or the Year of No (2018 for Josh and Sara). It's been fascinating to see how God uses the word to bring new growth and awareness to me.
At this time I take dedicated time aside to pray about my word and ask for the Lord's guidance and where He wants me to grow. I also research my word: I find antonyms and synonyms and bible verses to reflect on all year. Usually, I end up writing the verses many times and memorizing them. This is not always feel-good and lovely, and this is a point where I find myself wanting to sweep this whole business under the rug and forget about having a word of the year. As I said before, sometimes my word is exciting, sometimes it's terrifying (Obedience!). But I take it to the Lord and ask for specifics...and then I listen and journal everything.
Talk to my People
I consult my close friends and get their ideas about how I could grow or use the word, and bounce any goal ideas off of them. Josh is a great person for this because he's a visionary and knows my heart behind my plans as they all work together. I have a few women in my life who help me to see areas I could improve in and recommend books or verses for me. This makes it feel real and exciting!
Make the Plan
I set aside at least a few hours to get all of it on paper in one place. I get out of my house with my roll of kraft paper and I write it all out. It's not pretty. It's hardly legible. Then I create a focus wheel for my year with the word in the center. I write it in my journal and on paper to post on the back of our bedroom door.
Part of this step is choosing how I'll plan for the year. I've been a staunch paper planner girl, settling in with either a Happy Planner or a bullet journal (my favorite journal linked here) every year, plus a solid online shared calendar, and last year we added Basecamp to our lives (more on this to come!). Next year, I'm excited to use a Full Focus Planner plus my bullet journal. I've tried other goal specific planners in the past and I feel like the Full Focus Planner has fixed all of my problems I've had with past ones. This is where my enneagram one nerdiness goes wild, and I've had to learn to keep it simple or I won't use anything to its full potential.
Now your turn.
I have my personal planning day scheduled for December 28th, so it'll be around the very last few days of the year before I spill all the beans on my word for this year as well as my plan. God gave it to me almost two weeks ago and I'm still on the research step. I'm excited for the next few steps and SUPER excited to share this process with you!
So who's in? Who needs some help getting this moving? Sign up below for emails right to your inbox with super approachable action items and questions to ponder over the last two weeks of the year, and we'll set you up for an amazing year of joy, rest, and rhythm. This is just the preview, subscribe and we'll go in depth on each step together.
Can't think about it yet? Save the emails and do it in January. Usually we don't get to our business planning until the first few weeks of January. That's another beautiful thing about this method is that you can apply it to all areas of your life! Work, home, homeschool, side hustle...it all works. Keep in touch and let me know how this goes for you!