Typically going into a new year I feel totally unstoppable. I get so jazzed up about seeing how far I’ve come from the year past, and then setting new ambitious goals and dreaming up what I want to achieve in the year ahead. It’s my most favorite time of the year and nothing makes me feel more on fire than this time of reflection and planning. 

This year I was still very much looking forward to dreaming, planning, and goal setting for the new year. But if I am being completely honest, I didn’t get that “I’m totally unstoppable” feeling before starting. If I learned anything this year, it’s that life is completely unpredictable, shit happens and you can be thrown entirely off course. 

Coming off of the year we just had, my personal and professional worlds were turned upside down. I was almost afraid to set any goals that were too big or beyond my reach, not wanting to feel that disappointment again.   

Obviously, that’s not the mindset you want to have when going into a new year. But because of that unknown, and because of the past year we had, I also believe it’s okay and normal to feel these feelings of uncertainty and doubt.   

BUT I DON’T believe that it means we roll over and play dead until the world finds it’s footing. Just like we have been since March, we continue to march forward and do the best we can with what we got.

With these two things in mind, I took my planning approach differently this year.   

I wanted to walk you through exactly what I did during my planning/dreaming, and what helped me get excited for the year to come.

I am going to give you a little hint as to what my theme was, start small. =] 

Start with what went right.  

I think this part is essential because looking back at 2020 it’s easy to JUST see what went wrong or to hone in and focus on the negative. But like in anything in life, there is always a silver lining. There are always gifts that we were given and little nuggets of light and goodness that helped us along the way to endure the bad.  

Even if it was something really small like a good long call with an old friend, or perfecting a chocolate chip cookie recipe. These “wins” or moments that went right don’t have to be huge. In fact, I find the best moments are the small ones. 

So start there, start small, and list out all the great little moments that went right this year. Force yourself to continue to write things all the great things that happened, for at least 15 minutes. The longer you write the more that will come to you and the better you will feel.  

Once I did this I was feeling pretty dang good about myself and the year we just had. I started to see all the amazing things that went right. I started to feel a little bossy and started to get that mojo back and ready to take on the year ahead.

Write out what “living the good life” looks like to you.  

This was something new I did this year. I heard Rachel Hollis talking about this in her recent podcast, and she talked about what it was like to “live the good life”. It looks different for all of us, but it’s just the little things we do or we did in the past year that made us happy. 

Maybe for you, that consists of long walks with coffees during the summer, or reading a book while taking a bath, or making a delicious meal. 

Whatever that is, list off what those things are for you and do more of that next year. Pencil it in, make it a mandatory thing in your life. Because once you do, you might see that you are already living the good life and you don’t NEED that big stuff, but the smaller stuff is what sets your soul on fire. 

For me, writing it out it made me realize that there is no use in waiting. There is no perfect time and there are no guarantees. You gotta do what makes you happy TODAY. Or as my friend and author, Shannon Leuko says “don’t save the good wine”. Don’t wait for the right time to do what makes you happy, do it NOW. There is no better time of year to make sure you are doing more of what you truly love. 

Now finally let’s set some goals.  

I was watching a movie, Love and Monsters, with my husband last night and there was a line that said “don’t settle, even if it’s the end of the world.” I thought that was very applicable here. Now obviously it’s not the end of the world and that is a bit dramatic, but I like the point of it which I imagine is “Don’t settle. Even when times are tough”. 

Times are tough right now, there is no question about that. There is a vaccine on the way and things are starting to look better for our future, but we still have a ways to go before we get there… but that doesn’t mean we give up until it’s over. We do the best we can with what we got.  

When setting my own goals, once again, I started small. The small goals that I wanted to achieve would make me feel good or get me one step closer to a bigger goal I had in mind.  

For me that looked like cooking 1 new meal a week, and reading 1 book a month, continuing to blog weekly. These were small goals that felt right, and would keep the needle moving toward my bigger goals. 

So, how to plan for 2021? Just start small. Start by writing out all the little things that went right, what small things you can do today that will make you feel like you are “living the good life”, and what small goals can you set for yourself to keep you moving forward one step at a time. 

Ultimately you may find, the small stuff is the big stuff. The small stuff is what really sets our souls on fire, warms our hearts, and slowly but surely gets us to that ultimate goal.  

Start small, keep moving forward, and never ever give up. 

So much love to you my friends, cheers to a new year. =]