To yearly plan or to not yearly plan?

Here's my approach to 2024

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There is a wealth of content about yearly planning, and I don’t expect this will add anything spectacular.

TL;DR I am only loosely planning 2024 as a whole, and more focusing on quarterly planning.

I’m doing this for two reasons

  1. I’ve had a yearly plan every year since 2019 and it’s never once worked out. Priorities have changed.

  2. I’m expecting more changes to come to life in 2024.

So, I feel like thinking in 4 quarters gives me the grace to run with those changes and to embrace them, whereas setting a plan for 2024 and then trying super hard to stick to it might actually end up unreasonable.

Let’s dig in a bit more.

Why quarterly planning this year and not yearly?

I’ve tried planning my years since 2019, but never once have I ended up with the year I’d hoped for. It’s pretty much always been better, because life’s changed a lot in the past few years and I predicted none of it.

Lots of nice surprises and a whole lot of life lessons too, such as the importance of going with the flow and being present in the moment... you know the usual sort of things I think you’re meant to spend your early 20s learning.

I’m sure one day there will be more rhythm and routine on a yearly basis, but I don’t think 2024 will be that year. Therefore, I think it’s more sensible to take the year in 4 nice 12 week chunks, loosely held together by some overarching goals and a vision of where I think I’d like to be this time next year.

So let’s plan the overarching goals

I do 5 activities most years, and I’m continuing them for 2024.

Choose a word to embody the year. Put this into Notion as a header on relevant pages.

2024’s is flourish

2023’s was expand

2022’s was connection.

DALL-E helped me out with this one

Choose some new hobbies for the year

I have the money and the brain space for hobbies now, so by choosing activities I want to do over the year, I can work them into my plans.

2024 is the year of making my first sourdough starter, going to some pottery classes and baking some fun things again. And note-taking too, but that goes without saying!

Make a vision board

I find this a really valuable process. I just collect pictures, quotes, ideas etc that suit the vibe of the year I want to have. I make a vision board in Canva and paste it into a synced block which gets copied into each quarter, so it inspires me whilst planning down the road.

Make some goals that right now seem super difficult but could be achievable in theory

I will share mine:

  1. Read 52 books

  2. Earn £5000 in one month

  3. Lose enough weight to go riding again (I took the 2023 word too literally oops)

  4. Go abroad

  5. Complete a 75 day challenge

Currently if I achieved any of these I’d be surprised, but that’s not the spirit. The fact I want to do them shows me I need to put in the work to do them, and that need/vision/inspiration is what needs to underpin my planning process.

These will get broken into smaller goals so I don’t feel overfaced but it’s important to have them as that overarching goal to work towards each quarter.

Make some totally outrageous goals. Not ones I secretly hope will come true if I work hard enough. Totally. Ridiculous. Goals.

Right now mine is a self-built house in the country with horses and dogs and spending a lot of time outside.

Whilst this would be lovely in theory, life would have to take a remarkable amount of surprising turns for this to happen.

My totally ridiculous goals exercise is literally just to measure where I’m at and to measure my growth from year to year.

This time last year my literal life dream was to work at a university, study and be self-employed all at once. Oh, and not to be scared of my email inbox.

I am so grateful and honestly privileged that that seems so ridiculous now.

I actually achieved that life dream in May and it was dreadful. The fear of email inbox has gone now too. But, I’m grateful I wrote that down because that alone is a measure of how much can change in a year.

All of this goes into my 2024 page in Notion (the home of BethOS and PKMBethOS) and I will review it every quarter when it’s time to plan it.

I’m planning on some content in January that shows how this year/quarter/month/week planning looks in practice, so I’ll save further detail for then, but if there’s something specific you want to see within there, let me know!

But if you take one thing away from this post, please let it be this: if having a more intense 2024 plan doesn’t feel right to you for whatever reason, don’t feel obliged to make one.

There is undoubtedly something so refreshing about a new year and it’s so tempting to make changes and set new plans in action.

But the best plans are the ones you can stick to, and it’s ok if you get that motivation on a random day in February. Nothing bad will happen if your year isn’t perfectly planned before midnight on 1st Jan.

I personally feel that the activities explained above, plus more focus in 12 week cycles is the way to go for me, as things stand right now. Let’s see what 2024 brings and how this works in practice 🙂

How are you planning your new year?

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