productivity reflections

5 Components of My New Year Planning

December 31, 2012

While planning for the 2013 year, I broke down my goals and plans into several components:

1. The Year-Long Goals

These are done over the course of the year, and don’t necessarily have any time constraints. (Though, holding off until the end of the year would make achieving such goals improbable.)

Examples: Items like read 75 books in 2013, run 300 miles over the course of the year, lose 25 pounds this year, etc…

2. The Bucket List

The stuff I want to do this year that I can check off and say “hurray, I/we did it!” Generally, it’s a one-time thing, though getting to the point of checking it off may require a process.

Examples: visit a certain museum, run a 5K, take a class, get certified as a PADI diver, etc…

3. The Daily Habits

These are things that are daily goals/accomplishments, though they may contribute to a bigger overall goal.

Examples: read my Bible, do my exercises and stretches, drink 2.5: water/day, etc…

4. The Month-Long Developments

If you tend to have a lot of goals to start a new year, but also feel compelled to try to work on all of them at once, this is a helpful way to avoid becoming overwhelmed and experiencing a sort of choice paralysis.

This is where I feel the development and change is really felt. For each month, I choose a goal area (that may have many sub-goals) and focus my energies on improving in that area and establishing healthy habits. It frees me from trying to pursue everything at once, and becoming so distracted and overhwlmed that I merely end the year with 12 half-finished projects. (I also recommend using margin, as well: there are 12 months, but it may be better to just aim for 9 or 10 (or less) areas of improvement, rather than 12.)

Planning month-long goals is a concept that is well demonstrated in the books The Happiness Project and Happier at Home

Examples: Working on fitness for January, focusing on strengthening a marriage for February, working on improving writing skills during March, etc…

5. Family Goals

Particularly, as a parent, there are certain goals I also have for my family. Most of these consist in habit-training for our children. Obviously, this applies to my older children the most, and this aspect will fade again as they grow older.

This also applies to something we may wish to set as a family goal, or work on together.

Examples: Teach my children to consistently put away their clothes, drink adequate amounts of water daily, set the table, etc…


There is overlap in these, of course, and several goals may fall into multiple categories. Different people may choose to arrange the same goal into different categories. If I take a month to focus on fitness, running a 5K or marathon may fall into that category, depending on where I already am in that area. For others, January may be the month to jumpstart into fitness with the end-of-the-year goal being to be able to run a race.

I’m excited about my goals for this coming year, but also thinking about what I wrote last year: “Resolution Reflections: to Come, to Rest, to Be Still, to Trust.

Do you make new year’s goals, plans, o resolutions? How do you plan and organize your new year’s goals?

(photo, new year planning during my mini-personal retreat)


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  • Chelo December 31, 2012 at 11:13 pm

    I like how you organized your goals into 5 categories. I have yet to put things in paper and a more organized way. I have a huge list of things to accomplish. This year is another transition year for my family. We are moving back to the States in the summer. Both Madelyn and Seth have to see specialist doctors and Saipan has none. We look forward to another Beazley adventure though. God’s grace is more than enough 🙂

    • Keren January 3, 2013 at 12:10 am

      Thanks, Chelo. Seeing them this way really helped me process them in my mind.

      Oh, wow! What a full time of transitions for you in the past year. I’ll be praying for your little family–keep me updated. Do you know where you’ll live back in the States? (no need to share here, though.)

  • Johanna Hanson January 1, 2013 at 9:23 am

    Loved this, Keren.
    I approach things somewhat similarly, but this year I am going to do a little more intentional monthly goals. I did that for the kids this past year, but for myself I tended to just have the big picture. I loved Rubin’s thoughts on that and definitely see that as something I would benefit from implementing. Happy New Year 🙂

    • Keren January 3, 2013 at 12:11 am

      Thanks, Johanna. I didn’t do my entire year like that last year, but what I did do by intentional monthly goals was much more successful.

  • Susanna January 1, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    Love this approach. I have yet to define any specific goals as I’m wary of falling into measuring my righteousness by my ability to keep a list {my default} . . . as you wrote about last year. But I’m hoping to write up a few specific goals over the next few days and this categorizing of goals seems really helpful. 🙂