Plan the New Year in 10 Simple Steps

Plan the New Year in 10 Simple Steps

Making New Year resolutions is passe! We usually don’t stick to them beyond a few days and that leaves a faint sense of failure for the rest of the year. Instead, use the New Year as a marker for taking stock and planning ahead to see how things can be different. Don’t let the year happen to you. You make the year happen for you. Like it’s said, if we always do what we always did, we will always get what we always got! Just make sure, whatever you plan is in sync with who you are, achievable and simple. To make things different, here are some tips:

  1. Reflect on the year that was. What was most satisfying? Which area of your life did not work well? What moved you forward? What tripped you up? How did you spend your time? Was it aligned with your goals? Identify three wins and three areas that you need to work on.

  2. Drop the dead weight. Write down old resentments, regrets and mistakes from the past that you’ve been carrying around. Choose to let them go. De-clutter your living and working space—give away excess clothes, broken things, irrelevant items and unused stuff. Make space for energy to flow.

  3. Plan an effective morning routine. When and how we start our day decides how the rest of the day will go to a great extent. Align your routine with your lifestyle. Just because something works for someone, doesn’t mean it would necessarily work for you. So, plan something doable and sustainable.

  4. Fit in spiritual and mental health. We tend to focus a lot on physical fitness, completely forgetting about these two very important health areas. Decide what you will do regularly for your spiritual and mental health—attend satsang, read daily, chant, perform a short puja, travel, do japa…anything.

  5. Define a successful day for you. There is a lot that needs to be done and that can be done, but we can’t do it all. List the few things which if done, would define the day as successful. Eg. writing in your gratitude journal, walking 6000 steps, doing japa, planning your day every morning, etc.

  6. Plan your personal and professional years separately. Separate lists are easier to keep track of, though of course they may overlap and be interwoven. Having one list may be overwhelming and some items may overshadow others. Be kind to yourself and list achievable goals and plans.

  7. Decide on a gadget-free time slot. Considering the number of gadgets we have, the amount of time we spend with them and the health hazards they pose, it's necessary to fix a slot in the day for gadget-free time. Figure out what works for you—in the morning, as soon as you get home or before you sleep. Whenever.

  8. Fill your cup regularly. Mark time for hobbies, creativity, recreation, holidays, solitude, reflection, retreats, time with friends, reading, family time… anything that you love to do and helps you enjoy, relax and connect with people. Schedule time to relax and enjoy every week.

  9. Learn something new. Surely there is something you’ve always wanted to try your hand at or something you wanted to learn? Maybe a language, a skill, an art, a game… but have always put it aside for ‘some day’. Make that ‘some day’ happen in 2024, fix the time. You have over 300 days to choose from!

  10. Remember Him at all times. We believe we are the doers and the achievers, but is it really the case? Everything that we have—our life, body, intelligence, objects, abilities, skills, people—are all His gifts to us. Right living is acknowledging this and living a life of gratitude through service to others.

Chinmaya Udghosh