A Framework for Planning the New Year

A few years ago I started a habit of blocking some time in Decemeber to review the previous year and plan ahead for next. This has been really useful for me. It serves as an excuse and an aid for stopping and re-orienting myself. Although the process was imeditaely useful, it was also painful as I experimented with finding a framework to hang my thoughts on. After a couple years, I finally have one I like. I wanted to share it in case it might help someone else who is inclined to take a moment to reflect and plan around the new year. 

My approach is inspired by Tim Ferriss' Past Year ReviewLinus Lee's yearly goals, and probably a number of other things I can't remember. I go through and fill in each of the prompts below. I often like to do this quickly, first jotting down preliminary thoughts. Then I'll sit on it and come back to iron things out. 



Past Year

What went well this past year, what contributed to my happiness?


What took away from my happiness and satisfaction this past year?


What are some big decisions I made this past year? How did they work out?


What do I wish I did more of this past year?



New Year


What's the general direction I'm trying to point myself in? Who do I want to be?



Things I want more of in my life. 



Things I want less of in my life. 


Big things on my mind

Space to jot down the big things I want to keep in mind or am working on figuring out. 


10 Concrete Goals

Should be a mix of achievable, ambitious, and probably impossible.


Habits, Practices, and Skills

Can outline things like fitness habits. Some others here for me meditation and playing guitar.


Work / Career

Elaborate on goals and processes I’ll use to get there.


Rough Year Plan





A good year if

A handful of bullets that, if I check off, would mean it was a good year. 



And that's the review. I like to then condense this into a one page format of the important stuff and put that in my bookmarks bar to check in on every so often. You might also considering linking a note to the home screen on your phone and setting a reminder to check in on it every so often. You could even schedule an email of these goals to yourself once a quarter. 

I had to consider, adjust, and combine a few systems before I found one that works for me. Chances are you will too. Feel free to pick up any peice of this that might work for you and ignore the rest.