7 Steps to Create a Personal Strategic Plan for 2022 — Womanhood Unwrapped
January always comes way too quickly for me. Every single year, around December, I start to think and think about all the things I want to plan for in the new year. Then I put off actual planning, thinking that I have all the resolve and time in the world to do it. Without even giving me a fair warning, January proceeds to show up at my door, taunting me like an uninvited house guest. “I’m here! And you can’t rewind the clock now, so let me come on in!” Stupid January.
Now I know what you’re thinking. I do! You’re thinking, “Aren’t new year’s resolutions so three years ago?” And you’re right! If you read the trending posts out there and listen to any of the current podcasts talking about the concept, it’s clear; resolutions are OUT, and acceptance is IN. And that’s great! I’m all about acceptance. I’m also all about NOT accepting that life is ever finished or good enough. I mean, come on; if Sarah Blakley or Oprah had just sat back in the early stages of their businesses or careers and been like, “um, yeah. I’m not growing right now, I’m just going to accept my life as it is, and that’s good enough,” do you think they would have developed into the immensely impactful leaders they are today?
MOST IMPORTANTLY, ASK YOURSELF THIS:
Are you really satisfied with everything in your life the way it is, with no improvement or growth required? And if you are, good for you!
Here’s the thing though, new year’s resolutions, in the traditional sense, are set up for failure. I wrote a post a few years ago about Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail, and my viewpoint hasn’t changed much — but it has evolved, as have I, and I hope you will too!
Instead of resolutions, I believe that you need a plan. And not just any plan, not some loosey-goosey list of high faluting things you’ll never accomplish, or a gushy statement of acceptance that is actually just stunting your growth. I mean a real personal strategic plan that looks at your accomplishments, strengths, weaknesses, and realistic goals for the new year. Will you accomplish all of your pursuits in one year? Likely not, and that’s OKAY! A well-thought-out personal strategic plan isn’t about pressure or dooming yourself for failure; it gives you an incremental path from point A, where you are, to point B, where you want to be. And at the end of this year, if you sit down and create this personal roadmap again for your life, I will bet you that you’ll be amazed at how far you’ve come!
If this is an effort you think you can dig into with joy, and passion, then read on — but note, if you’re going to half-ass it or lie to yourself about what you truly want and need, just exit now, because you’ve got other hurdles to leap over before you’re ready to transform your life.
For my die-hard, data-loving, ready-women (and men), here are the seven steps I take at the start of each year to strategically plan my new year’s goals, wishes, and intentions.
SET UP YOUR PLAN
I know this may sound elementary or eye-roll worthy. Still, if I don’t set up a dedicated document to this effort each year, I end up with a bunch of half-written notes, stickies, and emails to myself — none of which actually provide me with insight or direction. Get your Doc titled and saved at the outset, so you feel more comfortable returning to it to do the work.
WRITE A PURPOSE STATEMENT
I always start my annual strategic plan by writing an introduction or purpose statement. I know, I know, I am the only one viewing it, so why is this necessary? I’ll tell you why. Because sometimes, when I start writing out my “purpose” for the year, I realize that what comes out on the paper is much different than what I had in my head, and as Sheryl Sandberg said, “We cannot change what we are not aware of, and once we are aware, we cannot help but change.”
REVIEW THE LAST YEAR
The next, and most critical step, in my opinion, is to review a) your accomplishments and b) your unmet goals from the previous year. The wonderful thing about having this step occur early in creating your strategic plan is that you’ll find that you accomplished A LOT in the last year, which feels genuinely good. It also makes it easier to get inspired for what you want in the new year! How often do you sit down and write out what you’ve done to improve yourself, your life, and your career? It’s a step I definitely wouldn’t skip because it absolutely informs what’s next.
Tip: Don’t write out a long story of your accomplishments and failures. A short bulleted list for both achievements and unmet goals will do.
VALUES AT YOUR CORE
What values do you currently have, and what do you want to foster in yourself this year? You know who you are and who you want to be at your core. List these out. Some examples include:
Tip: Here’s an extensive list from James Clear that you can use if you need inspiration.
ZONES OF ACTION
Pick 4–6 areas or zones where you will focus your energy throughout the following year. Don’t get too hyperfocused here. The goal is not to lay out every task but to look at the broad areas in your life where you desire to concentrate your energy for the next twelve months. Finally, list out the percentage of time you wish to put toward these zones. An example is below!
GOALS FOR THE YEAR
Here’s where you can get tactical and into the details. Evaluate your focus zones, then list the goals or steps to get you there.
Tip: If you’re not sure what the steps will entail or where to start, begin with the first indicated thing, like, “research how to become an opera singer.” (Just an example from a friend. 😉)
Conclude your beautifully written and constructed personal strategic plan with a few dates where you will check in with yourself and record your progress. I like to check in quarterly (every three months). Then plug those dates into your calendar with a reminder, so you do it!
I wish you the best of luck with your goal-setting through this strategic planning exercise. If you get started and realize this isn’t for you, don’t beat yourself up. Planning for your year is meant to set you up for a happy and productive twelve months, not add more stress and anxiety. There are many other ways to set goals for yourself; this is just the process that works for me.
I’d love to hear your feedback when you complete your personal strategic plan. Let me know your thoughts in the comments!
Originally published at https://womanhoodunwrapped.com on January 5, 2022.