Closing off 2019 and Planning 2020: How to?
Updated: Dec 24, 2019
One thing is a fact: With the end of the year just around the corner, many of us start to look back at and try to reflect on the main achievements, learnings and also to plan the year that is about to come. However, this can be a difficult task, and our New Year resolutions can easily become a piece of paper that we never look at again. This can lead to a lot of frustration, and many of us lose hope on even trying to plan for the new year.
For this reason, and also because you have asked, I have worked on the following guide to wrap up your 2019 the best way possible, and to set realistic goals for 2020.
I am specially excited for this one: after all, we are talking about the end of a decade and beginning of another one! Awesome, right?
Before anything... a couple of disclaimers:
I used a mix of "methodologies and guides" I have learned from over the past years. Some things might not be that new to you, and some of the content is certainly not "original";
Don't expect the process to be perfect! It will be messy, but embrace it and it will eventually work out
Don't expect to have all the answers coming very easily: you need to take time for this process and to take it seriously.
Getting started: What will you need?
In case you are ready to start, here is what you will need for the process:
A couple of hours (at least 2 hours - I needed 3:30h for the whole process)
A quiet spot, preferably outside your home (I like going to a coffee place, but this year was crazy and I did the whole process from the plane)
A notebook and a pen (if you're into cute stuff, maybe some colorful pens)
Access to your calendar and your phone (in case you want to browse through appointments and pictures to remember stuff)
Part 1: Wrapping up 2019
Let‘s start looking back. Take a couple of minutes to visualize your situation in the end of 2018. Where were you when 2018 was finished?
How were you emotionally & Physically?
What were your hopes and ambitions?
What did you want to achieve in 2019?
After this, we can move to understanding what 2019 was like to you.
How was 2019?
Now, it's time to look into 2019 month by month. For that, I suggest you go through your appointments on the calendar, photos, or any memories you have. Then, write down for every month what have been the highs, lows, and learnings you had/experienced. On the left side, there's an example of structure you can follow.
Recognizing yourself & your achievements
After this, reflect on the following questions:
What are you most proud of?
What are you grateful for?
Try to list down as many points as you can. Then, before moving on, stop for a second, take a quick look at the list, and feel the positive energy you get from it. Enjoy the moment a bit - you deserve it!
The people that impacted you
Now, it's time to acknowledge the important people for you during this year.
List down the names of the people that impacted you the most, be that on your personal or professional life. But don't stop there! Try to write a bit more about them: Why were they important? Why did they impact you? How did you feel?
You can list down as many people as you want. However, for the top 3 people, I would add a small challenge: write them a message and thank them for whatever they've done.
You have no idea of how much that can add value to their lives to know that they were important to you. And you will feel amazing too :)
One word to describe 2019
If you could describe 2019 in one word, what would it be?
Time to say goodbye to 2019
It is finally time to say goodbye to 2019, so you can start thinking about 2020. This is the final moment for you to debrief whatever experience you had, and to move forward. For this reason, I would recommend you write a goodbye letter to 2019. Feel free to write whatever comes to your mind! And then, after you've done so, say goodbye to this year, thank it for your learnings and experiences, and take a break.
Go grab yourself a cup of tea/coffee/water before moving to 2020.
Part 2: Moving to 2020
Now that 2019 is "gone", lets focus on 2020!
And which better way to do that than seeing what areas you need to focus on to have a more balanced life?
For this reason, I recommend you start with the "Wheel of life". The aim here is that you assess where you stand x where you want to be in the end of 2020. This exercise will help you think about your goals afterwards - actually, if you do this right, moving from the wheel of life to objectives will be sort of a natural process.
How does it work?
Start by drawing a circle divided in 12 areas. Then, try to score yourself from 0-12 on the following aspects at this point of time (in my case, as you can see below, I decided to represent my score in color on the wheel itself. Anything works :))
1. Love Relationships
This is a measure of how happy you are in your current state of relationship
This is a measure of how strong a support network you have. Do you have at least 5 people who you know have your back, and you just love being around (mostly!)?
How much time do you get to travel, experience the world and do things that open you up to new experiences and excitement?
This is the quality of your home, your car, your office and the general spaces where you spend your time during the day and night (eg: café’s, bars, schools, etc), even when travelling.
5. Health and Fitness
How would you rate your health, given your age and any physical conditions?
6. Intellectual Life
How much time do you set aside to learn new things, and how fast are you learning? How many books do you read/podcasts do you listen to/tutorials do you watch? How many seminars to you attend yearly? Are you seeking to learn from others?
How fast are you improving the skills that make you unique and help you build a successful career, or enjoy a meaningful past time? Are you growing towards mastery or stagnating?
8. Spiritual Life
How much time do you devote to spiritual, meditative, or contemplative practices that keep you feeling connected, balanced and peaceful?
Are you growing, progressing and excelling? Or do you feel stuck in a rut?
10. Creative Life
Do you paint, write, play music, or engage in other activities that channel your creativity?
11. Family Life
How is your relationship with your partner, parents and siblings? If you don’t have immediate family, how is your relationship with your alternate family (dearest friends, extended family)?
12. Community Life
How much are you giving, contributing and playing a definite role in your community?
After you've done that, do the same exercise, but for 2020: where do you want to be in the end of 2020?
Setting your goals
Based on the wheel of life exercise you've just gone through, what are your main objectives for 2020?
List them out the way you prefer, but don't make too many of them: try to prioritize. You can also see some of my goals on the picture on the right.
Disclaimer: In case you want, I would recommend making these goals more measurable. For that , you can use the SMART Framework. Here's a bit more about it.
Your BHAG (Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal) for 2020
A big hairy audacious goal, or BHAG, is a clear target for anyone to strive for - generally used for organizations, but here I am suggesting you try it on yourself.
In case you are curious, the term became famous because of the book “Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies” by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras.
How do you know if your goal is a BHAG?
Try having a goal that fits the following criteria:
Does it stimulate forward progress?
Does it get you going?
Is it stimulating, exciting, adventurous?
Are you willing to put your energy into it?
If so, then feel free to move forward. However, there are a couple more questions I'd like you to answer:
- What is the goal?
- How do you know when you're successful?
- What do you need to get there (try to make it as detailed as possible, like a timeline)
- Who do you need/ Who can help you?
- To achieve it by the end of 2020, when do you need to get started?
Last but not least... your affirmation for 2020
If you had to read the same sentence every single morning of 2020, what would it be?
This is the final step of the process I want you to work on: A powerful affirmation about the year of 2020. An affirmation that gets you going when times are hard, or when you are just a bit tired.
If you've never written an affirmation before, here's a quick guide on how to start with it.
Conclusion: Work for it, but don't forget to adapt on the way
In case you read this far, congratulations: you've made it! However, I wanted to leave you some final messages:
1. Keep your notebook and your goals somewhere you can visualize and look back. Some people even create visual boards and leave them in the office, for example. The more you look at it, the better.
2. Goals are amazing, but the most important thing is your attitude towards them. Sometimes, you have to change your plans due to unexpected things happening in your life, and that's okay. That's why I recommend you take some time every quarter to check where you stand with your goals, and to adapt them accordingly. Goals are not rigid: they can be changed based on reality. So, if something doesn't work according to your plan, try to learn from it and to get better on the way.
3. Apart from that, as we all know, in order to achieve our goals we have to be willing to do the work. If you want to go where you've never been, you have to go the extra mile and do what you've never done. Don't forget about that!
I hope you enjoyed this article, and I am looking forward to hearing what you have planned for 2020!
Good luck and happy holidays!