In years gone by (let’s be honest, annually throughout my teens, twenties and early thirties) New Years Eve was all about big parties, late nights and a very sore head on New Years Day.
For the past couple of years, celebrating the new year has looked rather different to that. Toasting to both 2022 (with a pregnant wife) and 2023 (with a 9-month-old baby) occurred closer to 7pm with a couple of friends before retiring to bed by 9pm (trying to figure out how we ever stayed up until midnight!).
One of the benefits of waking up with a fresh head on New Years Day is the opportunity to think with lots of clarity about the year ahead and how we want it to look (of course this doesn’t have to happen on the 1st of Jan, but you have to admit there is something poetic about it).
I have always been a planner and a goal-setter, but this year I wanted to design a new system for setting up 2023 in a way that I could see visually every day and know that I am on-track.
One of the biggest reasons people fail to achieve the goals they set each year is because they put them in a draw (if they even write them down at all!) and never look at them again.
I have created this planner by drawing inspiration from a few different sources, and I’m quite proud of it! It allows me to analyse various aspects of my life to ensure I’m creating balance, and avoids me biasing goals in one category over others.
Despite it being a slightly daunting thing to do, I’ve decided to share my own personal “Yearly Power Planner” with you here (minus a few specific personal goals), as one of my driving forces is to do authentic and courageous work that helps people become healthier.
P.S. An unexpected but MASSIVE benefit of going through this process was that it triggered some highly beneficial conversations with my wife about how to ensure we maintain an outstanding relationship.
Becoming parents in 2022 meant a huge shift in our relationship dynamic, and when you’re in the trenches of new-parenthood it’s hard to reflect on the intricacies of your relationship in real-time! Working through my Power Planner over this holiday period led us to ask each other questions like:
– What’s working well in our relationship?
– What’s not working well?
– What are each others roles & responsibilities in our family unit?
– What do each of us need as individuals and in our marriage to thrive?
– If our relationship has 3 key areas of Lovers, Partnership/Parents and Friendship (I believe it does), how do we ensure we are balancing all 3 areas in order to keep them alive and thriving?
The conversations were intense, challenging and at times painful, but were also some of the most beautiful and enlightening moments in our relationship.
If you have a partner, I highly recommend taking the time to work through this planner both alone and with them (but be prepared for some triggering chats)!
So without further ado, here it is, my 2023 Power Planner (AKA bearing my soul to all!):
Instructions for use:
The 3 circles represent self, relationships and work, and you will notice that in my planner all circles are the same size. This represents my desire to dedicate a similar amount of time to each area of my life, but feel free to make one of these circles bigger or smaller depending on your priorities!
In each of the 3 circles there are 4 subcategories (you may want to change some of these), with my goals for the year written under each heading.
You’ll notice I haven’t used the classic SMART goal setting method (other than listing some specific financial/work goals). I’ve become less of a fan of this over the years and now tend to set more “open goals”. I’ve therefore listed my goals as a “menu of options” under each category, that I get to select from and live each day.
The benefit of this is that you get to “win” on a daily basis, rather than delaying your happiness until you reach a destination in the future. By hitting a few of the items on my list each day and making sure I nurture all 3 circles each week, “failure” is impossible.
Underneath the circles I have chosen 3 words to focus on this year: PRESENCE, PURPOSE, GRATITUDE. When inevitable challenges arise throughout the year, these words will be your guiding light to help you make the best decisions and bring you back to a resourceful state of mind. Choose 3-5 that resonate with you.
In the bottom left I have written my life purpose. This is something I have worked on over the past few years and it seems to expand and update as time goes by, but it’s something that I look at most days and draw a great deal of inspiration from. If you aren’t clear on your purpose (don’t worry, most people are not) then there’s no better time than now to have a think about it!
Lastly, in the bottom right, I have my power questions. These are 3 questions I ask myself each morning which help me set up and get the most of out my day, and 3 questions I ask myself in the shower at night to help me reflect and grow. Choose any questions that help you get excited, stay focused and continually expand.
It’s not perfect and you may like to adapt it to suit your own needs, but it works well for my personal goals (and ensuring they stay well-balanced). If you have any suggested improvements then I’d love to hear from you!
I hope you get as much out of this self-analysis process as I did and and find that my Yearly Power Planner tool sets you up for a game-changing 2023!