If you want anything about this year to be different next year, then you have to start planning right now. Your chances for making positive changes increase tremendously if you begin 2024 with a plan. It doesn’t have to be a big plan, but it needs to be a framework for how you’ll navigate this upcoming year.
That’s why in today’s post, I’m sharing how to plan for a great new year.
If you’ve been in my community for a while, it’s no secret that I love planning. You could say it’s my love language.
But if that’s not you, don’t worry. What I’m about to share with you can be done simply and with ease. I don’t want you getting overwhelmed – that kind of defeats the whole purpose of planning.
I have a framework for you that I’m using, and you can use to.
I’m looking forward to fulfilling spiritual, personal and business goals in 2024. And I know that if I’m going to achieve any of those goals, I have to invite God into the process with me.
One way of doing that is by starting the year with a fast – and I’d love to have you join me in January. This is a great way to refocus on God by cutting out certain distractions like social media, movies, TV, or caffeine. Or you can choose to eat only certain foods – like with the Daniel Fast for instance – to concentrate on and make more space in your daily life to hear from God.
But even before starting a January fast, no plans should begin without prayer.
We should be trying to determine where to direct our efforts and how to allocate our God-given resources in the coming year. Our desire should be to maximize the impact of these resources for God’s purposes. So, before we even start planning for a great new year, we should seek His wisdom and guidance in the planning. Prayer is your pre-step before you even get to my planning framework.
And speaking of my framework, here are 10 intentions you can set right now to start planning for a great New Year. Ten might sound like too much, but stay with me!
These intentions aren’t what you might think.
So, here’s the first one.
Step #1 – Intentionality
Pick one thing to change – just one. Picking too many things to change at once is overwhelming. And when you get overwhelmed, chances are you’re not going to achieve the things you want to achieve.
Set a goal for yourself and make it something you really want. Once you achieve that goal, then you can set another one. Ask yourself – what does God want for me at this time in my life?
Don’t make it a resolution that you “should” want or what other people tell you to want.
Don’t focus on what didn’t work out this year. You can’t change that. And when you focus on what didn’t go well, you can get stuck in that negative place – don’t do that.
Learn the lesson and keep moving forward.
Also, don’t give in to the temptation to focus on what you don’t have. Instead, challenge yourself to focus on what’s possible.
Choosing to be lack-focused can cause you to magnify the problem instead of being solution-oriented.
As a Christian, your positive attitude is rooted in your faith, trust, and hope in Jesus.
So, I’m not talking about just positive thinking. I’m talking about being so focused on God and His will for your life that you can’t help but believe that good things are ahead for you.
Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
Step #3 – Grace
If you mess up, try again.
Many people fall into the trap of believing that if they stumble, they should stop trying. That’s not helpful.
Ask God to help you to forgive yourself when you fail and then for the strength to keep moving forward in the change He has called you to make.
Step #4 – Flexibility
Switch things up.
The Holy Spirit has something fresh for you every day. So, you don’t have to get caught up in a routine that you dread.
Give yourself a fresh start every day that achieves the same goal.
For instance, if your goal is to move your body more, on Monday, take a 20-minute walk. On Tuesday, try a workout video. And on Wednesday, take a dance class.
These are all different activities, but they all have the same outcome.
Step #5 – Make your goal a habit first
Here is an example of what I mean: I want to read my Bible more. That’s the goal. The habit could be reading at least 20 minutes eavery day.
Your habits will either help you or hinder you from reaching your goals. Use them to help you.
Step #6 – Be honest with yourself
Change requires commitment.
Choose to be humble and realistic about your process of change. You know you better than anyone else. Don’t focus on shoulds.
Instead, focus on what you know you will and won’t do.
Yes, stretch yourself, but not to the point of focusing on something that looks good on paper, but you know you’re not going to stick with for the long run. You want your change to last and one of the best ways to not get frustrated is to have an honest talk with yourself.
If you view your changes in an exaggerated manner, your change will not last, and you’ll end up frustrated and ready to stop trying to make your chang or reach your goal..
John 8:32 says, “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Step #7 – Celebrate the small victories
Too often we don’t celebrate along the way to reaching our goal. Don’t do that!
Don’t forget to reward yourself along the way. Remember to give God the glory for even your small accomplishments.
Think about what happens when a loved one or a friend reaches one of their goals. What do you say to them? How do you encourage them? What do you do to mark their success?
Do that for yourself.
Step #8 – Find support
God doesn’t intend for us to do life alone.
Not only does He want to be a part of our life, but there are other people who He wants us to do life with. These are people who will encourage you during your highs and lows – your cheerleaders.
Look for other like-minded individuals who share your goals, and support each other.
Get a coach for accountability and encouragement through the process. Sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know. A coach will help you with that.
Step #9 – Review Regularly
Review your goals and plans.
In my community, you know that I recommend that you review your goals at least every 90 days. During your review, you’ll read through your goal, your reasons for setting the goal, and your next steps. And you’ll decide what action you need to take right now.
Luke 14:28 says, “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?”
Step #10 – Pray, pray, pray
Prayer is about relationship and communication with God. Talk to Him with words, drawing, painting, writing, singing – whatever it looks like for you.
Invite God to come along with you on this journey because any positive change you get, will be coming from Him. Any goal you set will only be reached with His help.
Remember 1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to “Pray without ceasing”
If you look back over the past few years and see missed opportunities, abandoned goals, and regret, then this is what I want you to do.
Draw a line in the sand and say, “No more!” Make a commitment right now that you’re going to make a change this new year.
Start with my first intention and don’t stop until you have incorporated all 10 in your new year planning.
Here they are again:
- Positive Focus
- Make Your Goal a Habit First
- Be Honest With Yourself
- Celebrate Small Victories
- Find Support
- Review Regularly
- Pray, Pray, Pray
One last thing.
If you’re looking for a more structured planning approach with step-by-steps, be on the lookout for something I will be offering in the new year. You’ll hear more about it next month.