Planning for Next Year

It is November, which means it is time for my wife and me to think about next year. In our annual planning process, we like to revisit what we wanted to accomplish this year, check in on our direction, and then think about what’s next for the coming year. Today, we drove home from Nashville, TN. The 6+ hour drive afforded us some much needed focus time, so we used it for our annual planning process, which I have described below.

Be, Do, Have

I mentioned this in The Business of Relationships, but to save you the extra clicks, I’ll revisit here. When we talk about our goals, we like to use the format of Be, Do, and Have – in that order. Like most people, when we started out in life as young adults, we approached things from the opposite direction: Have, Do, Be. We decided what we wanted to Have, which then dictated how much money we needed and therefore what we Do, which in turn informs who we will Be. Now that we’re older and a little wiser, we like to approach things in the order that works for us these days: Be, Do, Have. Like Stephen Covey, we want to start with the end in mind. How do we want to be remembered? That’s the Be. Who we are (Be) dictates what we will then Do; for a living or as we give our time and money to various causes, which then informs what we’ll Have – whether that means things we need to acquire in order to support our goals or postponing personal purchases in order to direct funds towards the big stuff.

Direction

Consistent with the Be, Do, Have approach, this year we gave some extra thought as to who we are. What are the things that we spend our time and money on? We affirmed our statuses as spouse, parent, family member, business professionals, and then dug into our hobbies and other items on which we spend time and money. Then we revisited our direction as a couple to make sure we’re still aligned. We agreed to continue our direction from last year:

  • Simplify our lives
  • Reduce our impact on the environment
  • Choose experiences over things
  • Participate in our community
  • Be life-long students
  • Reduce stress / improve the quality of our lives
  • Improve our financial future

Current Year Progress

Last year, under each of the directional bullets, we listed out sub-bullet goals. So we took the time to check in on our progress for each one. For instance, under the heading of Simplify our lives, we said that we wanted to declutter and organize several specific areas of the house to help keep from buying things that we didn’t need. We checked off the parts of the list that we accomplished and sustained, which provided a great sense of accomplishment as well as a little motivation to have another great year in 2019.

Planning for Next Year

As we came across goals that we didn’t accomplish for 2018, we reevaluated them. Do they still fit with who we want to Be? If so, we moved them forward to 2019. Then we thought about what else we want to accomplish under the directional bullets detailed above.

By now, I think it is clear that this is not a New Year’s Resolution process. We’re not looking to lose 20 lbs. or finally quit smoking. This is really more of a balanced scorecard approach to the business of our family. We sign up for a lot of goals, some of which stretch us beyond our comfort zone and we have no idea how to get them done. We don’t always get everything done. But if it is worth pursuing, then we carry it forward and try again.

This coming year, we’re excited for some big goals. Melanie is making great progress on her fitness goals this year and she’s looking to hit her target measures in 2019 while figuring out how to sustain them. She’s looking to do that while working full time, volunteering with her sorority, and pursuing a Master’s degree in the evenings. This year, I’m looking to step up my involvement in my hometown community as an Alumni with my college alma mater; I’m looking to run my first ultramarathon, and summit Mont Blanc to name a few. Like I said, we may not get it all done, but it should be one heck of a ride just trying!

What are your goals for next year?

Do you have a similar planning process?

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