New Year's Motivation Waning? Here's a Checklist to Help!

Every year since 2016, I've followed the same routine to plan my life for the year. The planning typically takes me the entire month of January (yes, all 31 glorious days). I like taking time to sit, simmer and sift through all my ideas and options, without forcing or rushing.

Curious what I sit, simmer and sift through in my yearly planning routine?

Well, it's your lucky day! Today, I'm sharing my Yearly Life Planning Checklist, along with a little background information about the WHAT and WHY of yearly planning to help YOU get motivated and inspired to take action!


First, let's look at WHAT is yearly planning:

Yearly planning, in the grand scheme of life, is all about intentionally setting the stage for your personal growth and development over the next 365 days. It's not just about calendars and dates it's your roadmap to ensure every move you make aligns with your big picture vision for the future.

Here are the essentials most planning guides focus on:

  • Reflection: Take a moment to look back at the past year. Celebrate your wins, acknowledge areas for improvement, and gather insights that fuel your personal growth.
  • Goals: Define clear and achievable goals for different aspects of your life – be it your career, health, relationships, personal development, or adding a bit more fun and play into your days.
  • Priorities: Not all goals are created equal. Identify your top priorities and make sure your time and energy are invested where it matters most for maximum impact.
  • Holistic Self: Consider all facets of your well-being – emotionally, mentally, and socially. Nurturing these dimensions brings true fulfillment to your life.


Now that you know WHAT yearly planning is...

Let's shift gears and explore WHY yearly planning is a valuable use of your time:

  • Direction and Focus: Yearly planning isn't just about dates; it's your personal compass, guiding you toward your long-term goals. It's the roadmap that keeps you on track through life's twists and turns.
  • Motivation: Goals aren't just checkpoints- they're fuel for your growth journey. Yearly planning injects motivation into your daily grind, giving you a reason to reach higher and strive for continuous improvement.
  • Unleashing Your Potential: Think of yearly planning as your growth strategy. It pinpoints areas for self-improvement, fostering a culture of lifelong learning and skill enhancement that propels you toward your best self.
  • Time & Energy Management: Ever wish there were more hours in a day? Yearly planning is your time-management magic wand, helping you allocate precious minutes strategically, reducing stress, and boosting productivity.
  • Better Decision-Making: (this is my favorite WHY) When life throws choices your way, a clear plan becomes your compass. Yearly planning aligns your decisions with your values, ensuring you navigate opportunities and challenges with intention.
  • Measure Your Progress: Yearly planning isn't a one-time thing; it's your progress tracker. Reflect, measure achievements, and celebrate victories – this consistent cycle will keep you moving forward.
  • Improved Work-Life Flow: By considering various aspects of life, yearly planning is your ally in crafting a work-life flow that prevents burnout and nurtures your overall well-being.
  • Enhanced Resilience: Life's unpredictable, but yearly planning makes you resilient. It's your flexible armor, helping you bounce back from challenges and get back on track with a realistic plan that keeps your journey steady.


Now that we've explored the WHAT and WHY of yearly planning, let's get practical, tactical and applicable (I love saying those 3 words together. really gets my juices flowing!).

Here's my Yearly Life Planning Checklist: (in order from start to finish)

  1. Review Previous Year: I acknowledge my wins, my challenges and savor the lesson learned.
  2. Review/Update my Personal Values: My values are my guiding principles. I use them to reflect, refine, and align my actions with my vision.
  3. Review/Update my Needs, Boundaries, Standards: I check for unmet needs, then set boundaries and elevate my standards to get my needs met.
  4. Brain-dump Goals in the 8 Core Life Areas: From career to health, relationships to personal development – I dream big, then dream even bigger by including 1 STRETCH goal in each area.
  5. Brain-dump and start a fresh Tolerations List: I identify the energy drains that I tolerate on a daily basis, physical and emotional. Clearing the clutter (even out of my head for starters) makes for a smooth journey ahead.
  6. Brain-dump my list of 100 Things I Want: I let my imagination run wild here! Dreaming big sets the stage for extraordinary achievements!
  7. Select my Top 8 Goals: I focus first on the goals that align most closely with my vision for the year, my Point B.
  8. Choose my Theme/Word of the Year: I give my year a theme, the North Star that guides me on my journey.
  9. Choose my Who Factor words: I identify WHO I will become as a result of achieving my goals, then I create positive affirmation statements to reinforce the meaning behind these characteristics.
  10. Design my Daily/Weekly/Monthly/Quarterly Habits: Habits shape my days and nurture the essence of WHO I am becoming.
  11. Design my Rituals and Routines: My rituals and routines amplify the power of my habits by efficiently integrating all my "doing" into my daily life.
  12. Design my Weekly Flow: My time is precious. I won't ever get it back, so I practice time-blocking to protect my vision and ensure focused, purposeful actions.
  13. Create Visuals to represent my Theme, my WHO factor and my Goals: I bring my entire plan to life and create visual anchors and a full vision board. Posting my visuals in a highly visible place serves as a constant inspiration and reminder of what I want most and WHO I want to become in the coming year! 

After reading this list, you're probably thinking, "Holy Canoli! Does Debby J. really do all this stuff on her checklist?" And my answer would be, "Yep. Now do ya get why it takes me 31 days?"

In all seriousness, this list may be lengthy, but it comes easy to me now. Like any habit, I've stayed committed to working through this checklist year after year, and it's become something I really look forward to doing.

From a ROOTS perspective, the steps in this checklist guide me to solidify and strengthen my Personal Foundation on a yearly basis. When I complete all 13 steps, I feel CLEAR, READY and UNSTOPPABLE! I credit this foundational "work" for transforming some of my wildest dreams into my current reality!


Now what?

With the WHAT, WHY and my Yearly Life Planning Checklist, you have the knowledge and tools for HOW to start or complete your own yearly planning.

Start with what you already know how to do and get resourceful to do the rest:


With a thorough, intentional and clear plan, you can shape your own narrative, cultivate personal growth, and navigate the complexities of life with resilience and focus! AND you can expect a greater sense of fulfillment, purpose and satisfaction as you live out the next 334 days!

Cheers to a year full of meaningful moments, purposeful strides, and the watching your vision unfold!




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