I start planning for the new year in October. I adore new planners, calendars, books, pens, stationery, and everything that goes with planning and organizing. But the hard part comes when I have to follow through and implement those ambitious ideas. Many of us love the planning process but lose momentum when it comes to putting those plans into practice.
Here are a few ways that I’ve set myself up for success in 2024 that may work for you as well:
Create a Vision Board
I created a Vision Board that is covered with words (my focus word for 2024 is “Rise”), images, etc. that help motivate and keep my visions and plans in front of me all year. The Canva website has a plethora of templates for this. (You can sign up for free.)
Here’s what I created (some areas removed for privacy):
Use a Physical or Digital Planner
There are digital resources you can use to stay organized (just do a Google search). You can also set up simple time-blocking on your Google calendar or other online calendars you use.
I’m a paper-gal myself and use a physical A5-size planner. I prefer most things in one place, so I’ve set up sections in my physical planner for a reading log, birthdays, big projects for the year, daily gratitude, health and habit trackers, a writing log (I’m putting another book out this year–yay me!) and even a bucket list. There are monthly and weekly sections as well. Add stickers, quotes, photos, etc. Make your planner something you enjoy looking at every day!
Plan Bible Reading
If you don’t have a plan, you’re more likely never to get started or stick with something. This year, I chose a year-long chronological Bible study plan book. I also purchased the matching journal and use a commentary and Bible handbook for extra resources. However, I am taking as much time as I need to absorb the material and not push to finish the Bible and journal in one calendar year. If it takes me two years, I’m here for it!
There’s an App for Everything
I personally use the Reminders and Structured apps on my phone to help me follow a basic timetable throughout my day for taking meds and vitamins, meetings, etc. (both are free for iPhones). I’ve also set up weekly reminders for grocery shopping and feeding my sourdough starter.
There is also an unlimited choice of apps and devices for keeping you on track with your exercise. The hardest part is getting yourself motivated to get up and do it! I use the Apple Watch for tracking my daily exercise. On the iPhone, the Health app has charts to reflect and monitor your health progress. I’m positive Android and other devices have similar apps available.
Never Stop Learning
I have a Goodreads list of books I want to read this year and have set a book goal (50 books). I’ve already picked out most of the books I plan to read, but I like to start my year off with books that inspire me and propel me into my plans for the year. Each year, I kickstart my reading with Atomic Habits by James Clear. I like to journal as I read to help me retain what I’m learning. Do some research and find books that inspire you!
Let’s be honest. We can make promises to ourselves all day, but we are more likely to keep those promises if we’re accountable to another person. There are Facebook groups you can join or health apps and websites where you can connect with other people who share similar goals as you have. This year, my family and I created personal challenges that we enter into an app (told you there are apps for everything!) and where we log our progress each day. It’s a way for us to encourage one another and hold ourselves accountable because we know our family members are trying to do the same thing. Plus, it’s just fun and keeps you connected!
Whatever works for you and however you approach getting organized and being effective in this new year, put action behind the plan. Imagine who you want to be in six months or a year. Don’t try to do all the things, but do something different–something better–each day.