There’s a crispness in the air which can only mean one thing… Annual planning season is here!!!
Ten years ago I started the practice of annual planning. With a hot pink three ring binder and eyes twinkling with lofty goals and big dreams, I set out to change the world. Through the years I’ve learned what it means to annually plan. It’s more than just writing goals or New Year’s resolutions… It’s about a setting a vision and creating daily actionable steps to move you towards that vision.
Instead of trying to do #allthethings, Annual Planning keeps me FOCUSED on the few things that are most important for my work, my goals, and my progress. It cuts through the clutter and I’m a big fan of that!
Let me take you back to 2007. I was driving around in what I called “the blue bullet”. It was a royal blue Saturn Sedan my parents bought me in high school. Not that I wasn’t grateful for this reliable ride, but I felt my new college-graduated, big-girl-job self needed a more sleek ride. Ahem, a black Infiniti G-35 coupe with a sunroof (of course). I sat down with Matt, my business mentor, and he said, “just remember, that payment now may keep you from a bigger purchase you want later.”
“Thanks Matt” I said, “but this is what I want now.”
Fast forward one year and I’m trying to purchase my first house. “Well, if only you didn’t have this car loan payment” said the loan officer. Hmmm…. Wouldn’t you know that small payment really did end up coming back to bite me.
This is what I missed in the whole ‘Shanna wants a new car’ scenario. I was so focused on my now goals, I lost sight of my later goals. I am sure you can relate. We all too often get caught up in spending our time and money on the here and the now goals, only to forfeit those bigger dreams.
As business owners, wives, mamas and friends, we have a LOT we carry every day. Something I love about annual goal setting and then monthly reviewing those goals is cutting the clutter and giving my attention to what is most important. Each month when I sit down to review my previous month and then plan for the month ahead, it’s like a mini reset. I truly believe this has been integral in achieving bigger goals in my business while simultaneously taking more trips, reading more books and having more date nights at home.
Ok, so I’m an idea person. I have new ideas like … daily! During my annual planning process I spent intentional time jotting down all these big ideas and then mapping each one out. This process narrows down my ideas into the 1-3 big ideas I want to pursue the upcoming year. I’ve found more ideas just get me zig-zagging all over the place without ever making real progress. But narrowing down my ideas and committing to less than three for the year allows me to FOCUS on those few great ideas and make massive progress on those! Any new ideas I think of throughout the year go into a google doc called “big ideas” and I revisit them for the coming year!
Planning keeps my eyes set on that bigger picture, giving clarity to my decisions today. It keeps me FOCUSED.