Over the past week I began planning in earnest for 2020. How is that sentence even possible?! How is it possible that we are so close to the end of another decade? I know for some of you the thought of planning for next year already seems extreme and that you are barely managing to plan for tomorrow. I get it! Simply managing the plans for the next week feels exhausting right now.
So why am I doing this and doing it now? I feel the tailwind blowing. You know the one. It seems to propel us forward at breakneck speed towards Christmas and New Year and suddenly you realise that it’s February. It would be so easy to get swept along by this force. I have allowed that to happen many years. I don’t want to be like that anymore. I want to be intentional with taking time to look at what is important and not only what is urgent.
I am learning that planning for a new year doesn’t mean locking myself into specific time frames, plans or even goals. I can pivot and change as I go and generally do. The difference that planning ahead makes is that I actually start walking the path to the goals I set. I am in motion and active. That is when the opportunities to pivot come up. That is when learning and growth happen to help me to be the person I need to be to say yes to new opportunities and build the life I desire.
I don’t know what next year looks like yet. There are still some big unknowns looming, apart from the other usual twists and turns that life throws our way. I could let that stop me. Honestly, I almost did. I almost postponed looking at any planning until I could tie up all the question marks. Then I recognised fear’s subtle workings. What if I set these goals and I don’t end up doing any of them? What if that situation doesn’t turn out like I hope and my plans have to completely change? I want to be in control. I want to have a neat little checklist that gets ticked off at the appropriate time to make me feel like I am ok, I am capable, I am worthy.
I will not let fear drive me either to avoid planning altogether or to hold on to those plans with an iron fist. I will dream, I will calculate, I will plan, set goals and even assign time frames to work towards. I will hold the tension of pursuing these plans while letting go of the results and being ready to release them and pivot if needed. (I think I need to print those words and put them up somewhere! Can you tell I’m speaking truth to myself?)
For me, my faith is intricately woven throughout this process. My relationship with God is the central foundation that holds the rest of the goals and plans in the right place. My planning starts with a lot of conversation with God, times of sitting and pondering, times of listening. The goals I have for my business, my organisation role and my family life all build around the calling I feel to encourage and equip, to communicate and to live a life of intention- keeping what is important first. I know I will mess up and fall short time and again. I know I will let my priorities get out of whack and have to recalibrate more often than I want to admit. My faith in a gracious God who continually lifts me up and strengthens me keeps me going.
Maybe for you, looking ahead to 2020 is too much. Maybe you want to be intentional and practise this skill of goal setting but need a smaller target. I created “Finish With A Flourish” just for you. Set aside some time to focus on what you want life to look like in the next few months until the end of the year. Maybe it is creating a plan to tackle a goal you had wanted to achieve this year and haven’t. Maybe it is creating a plan to build in some whitespace in a busy season so your soul can function in the chaos. This framework steps you through the process. (And stay tuned for a free Advent planner coming soon to the inboxes of my email community.)
I am excited to start trying out the Full Focus Planner for myself for next year. I have long been drawn to the concepts of breaking down bigger goals and focusing on a 90-day cycle, with ways of prioritising tasks each week and day.