NOTE: Although this post was written in the autumn and intended to set you up for the new year by planning ahead, it still contains plenty of useful nuggets of wisdom and inspiration if you are reading this and it’s already the new year! Alternatively, you might like to head on over to this post on New Year Resolutions instead!
It’s almost the new year! Hear me out – I know, I know, it’s MONTHS away yet…I swear the summer warmth is still clinging to my skin and I’ve barely adjusted to wearing trousers again after the shorts I’ve been living in the past few months, but there is an undeniable feeling of change in the air, and already there are Christmas biscuits lining the aisles of the supermarkets…
You just know this last chunk of the year is going to go by in the blink of an eye. In the run-up to the year’s end, when everything starts to get a little frantic, we often find ourselves putting off the things that matter, safe in the knowledge that before we know it, it’ll be a new year, and we can start afresh with our plans then.
We put our health on the back burner – we tell ourselves we’ll begin exercising/eating our veggies/meditating/drinking more water in January.
We give up on budgeting and looking after our finances because hey, it’s Christmas – and you just gotta buy this gift and that, and fill your home with so much food that you could survive the apocalypse.
Read also… Reduce waste and spend less this Christmas
We put off working on our businesses or our big life dreams…
In short, we give up on the current year, and any plans or goals we had hoped to accomplish. We figure we can just push them forward to become the basis of our new year’s resolutions…
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What if we could really apply ourselves for the next few months? What if we gave it our all and ended this year on a high, instead of letting everything fizzle out with an “oh, I’ll get back on with that in January…”?
Can you imagine how much of a head start you’ll be giving yourself in the new year if you commit to getting yourself together now instead of then?
Don’t give up on THIS year!
There is still a healthy amount of time left in this year. Sure it’s gonna fly by – It always does when you’re busy. But if you want to make next year the best one ever, then why not start to lay the groundwork now? The good news is there is still plenty of time for you to make a difference!
New year, new start
Did you start this year with a list of new year’s resolutions? Revisit it now. How did it go? Is there anything on there you will be taking with you into the next calendar year?
Don’t put it off – start now! Make your plans, work out your goals and aspirations for the new year, treat NOW as new years and make the difference to your life by committing to give it your all until this year is through.
12 Week Year
I belong to a blogging group, and a while back everyone was raving about a great book called ‘The 12 Week Year’, which was helping them to make huge leaps and bounds within their businesses. I had to see what all the fuss was about and added it to my (already overflowing) reading list.
The book’s tagline, “Get More Done in 12 Weeks than Others Do in 12 Months” is an enticing one, and the premise is that by focusing on your most important goals, and breaking those goals up into smaller ‘tactics’, you can more easily plan out when you need to execute these tactics and create a more productive workflow.
What I love about the book is that there is a huge emphasis on having a strong “why”, which is something I have always advocated myself, and that it can be adapted to any area of your life. It is written primarily for businesses, but also includes plenty of examples of other ways in which you can incorporate a 12 week year into your home and personal life.
Create a plan and stay accountable
Consider writing your own version of a 12 week year to see how much you can accomplish with what is left of this year:
- Work out your main priorities/goals for this year (or revisit any you may have made earlier in the year)
- Break them down into the steps you need to accomplish to achieve those goals
- Plan out exactly when you need to complete each step over the next 12 weeks in order to achieve your goal by the new year
A key component of the 12 week year is your weekly accountability meeting. Every week you check over your progress and assess how many of your tasks you managed to complete. This gives you a chance to make any tweaks you need to your schedule and make a more realistic plan for the upcoming week.
It is recommended in the book that you do this with someone else, and I cajole the hubby into playing this game with me when I can, but I have also had plenty of success with just holding a meeting with myself if he hasn’t been able to join me for whatever reason. I think the key is just to make it a habit by working it into your routine, for example, sticking to every Sunday eve for your ‘meeting’.
But what about Christmas?
[Note: This post was first published in Nov of 2018, hence the Christmas references… It has been fully updated and expanded this year and if you are reading it now then the festive season is still a way off, don’t panic!]
Don’t worry, I am not trying to ruin your festive fun… If your goal is to live a fitter, healthier life and you’re thinking you maybe want to lose a few pounds, I am by no means suggesting you go on a diet right before Christmas (what kind of MONSTER would do that?!) Eat! Drink! Be merry! BUT if you can keep in mind your goals, and not binge eat ALL the mince pies from now until Dec 31st, then you’ll be in a better starting place come Jan 1st, y’know?
Neither am I saying you shouldn’t spend your money on your loved ones this Christmas – just don’t get yourself into debt over it and then wake up to the new year in a cold sweat, panicking about how you’ll pay the rent.
Christmas is about the time we spend, not the money. If you want to save money and budget better in the new year, then the time to begin is absolutely now! Set yourself a Christmas budget and stick to it. The first year I sailed into January with money still in the bank was one of the most mind-blowing feelings ever!
Considering starting a blog of your own next year?
One way to take control of your life is to start your own online business. This is awesome as a side project because it is so much cheaper to set up than a “conventional” business, meaning you can work on it in your spare time alongside your regular job and not really be risking too much. (Unless like me you get a little reckless and quit your job on a whim…oops!)
Go for it!
I get asked from time to time how the blog is going, does it make me enough money to live on, how does it make money etc…To answer these questions fully is gonna take a whole post (one which I do intend to write eventually…) but for now, let me just say it is a long process, and I am still constantly discovering things which I wish I started a gazillion years ago instead of now.
Starting a blog takes a TONNE of work – sure you could begin in January – January is an awesome time, filled with hope and possibility, but believe me when I tell you there is a lot to learn – so start doing your research now and you’ll be giving yourself the gift of knowledge in January so you can start right, and that wonderful, shimmery vibe of hope and possibility won’t get lost amongst the confusion.
I spent loads of time tinkering and fiddling with my theme in WordPress before I even started thinking about writing posts, just trying to see how it all worked and playing with the look I wanted.
The great thing about doing it now is that if you were starting out in January, you might feel the rush to get going already! If you start slow and just let yourself have a little play around with your theme in your spare minutes, then you can find your way around and get a feel for how it all goes together without the pressure, play with your style and branding a bit, and start in January already a little more confident about what you’re doing.
If you fancy this and want to get started, I heartily recommend Tsohost for hosting. (Bag yourself a 10% discount with the code: LifeSpotter)
Having done that, get yourself an awesome theme – I use Ashe Pro – they have a variety of different themes which are fully customisable, lending themselves to any niche, and their customer service is fab! Get yourself in and have a little play! Who knows where it could lead??
I know, I know, as the final quarter of the year sets in, so does panic…it becomes super busy as you rush to tidy up all your loose ends – you barely get time to breathe, let alone write out a master plan for next year… The last thing I want to do is add to your load by suggesting you take on an enormous new project on top of all the other things you want to get done right now.
But that is not what this is! I just strongly believe that a little bit of planning goes a long way. If you don’t want to commit to actually smashing your pre-existing goals this year, just giving yourself a head start on them could make such a difference! You don’t have to DO all the things this side of the new year, just know what the things are. And if you can put the necessary steps in place to fulfill your goals later on, all the better.
Commit to giving the best of yourself, giving the best to yourself for what is left of the year, rather than abandoning it all and putting off your goals until January.
Give yourself a breather amongst the chaos. A pre-Christmas gift to yourself, a little self-care and love.
Big up your beautiful self by taking a bit of time to go over the year so far, what have you achieved? What have you still yet to work on? Where do you want next year to take you?
Start working on this now and you can already be on your way when the new year arrives.
Read also: Change Your Life Challenge!
Team awesome – get your buddies involved
Tell all your friends, make a pact, start a club!
I’m a big fan of accountability buddies… Brainstorm your goals together, work out how you can support each other, reach out and lend a hand and take the world by storm! You could even arrange regular meetings throughout next year to recap and check your progress, or suggest you all create ’12-week year’ goals and rope them into weekly accountability meetings. Sometimes knowing that someone else is going to be checking up on you really helps to keep you on track!
Hit the New Year hard!
If you can get a head start on your plans and goals for the next year, you will be in the best position to run full steam ahead into January, filled with enthusiasm and inspiration, having already got a handle on how to begin.
If you can get down on paper now what it is you want to achieve next year, and start making plans as to how you are going to achieve that, you are so much more likely to be able to stick to it.
This is a BUSY time of year. There is a lot going on and a lot to do… I know you will have commitments to friends and family and that is a beautiful thing – but commit to yourself too. Give yourself the gift of foresight this Christmas.
Know with absolute certainty that you can go into the new year like a rock star because you already know what it is you intend to do.
Let’s make the new year now!