Planning Tips for the New Year

Plan for New Year

The Christmas Season brings great joy to most people, sadness to some and trepidation about planning for the New Year to many.

I hope you are in the first group, share your pain if you are in the second. I have been there for too many Christmases in the past. And assure you that if you are in the third group, you are not alone.

Why should some of us be sad at this supposedly happy time of the year? Why do many face the New Year with anxiety?

Sadness can have many sources, family breakups, accidents, children growing up and leaving home, death of a loved one. The first Christmas in a new city or country, hundreds of miles away from familiar faces and places. For those of us in the Boomer generation, a feeling of melancholy because Christmas can remind us of happy times as children when our parents were alive. Or reminders of memorable Christmases before our children grew up and left home.

Mine was the murder of my father by terrorists between Christmas and New Year many years ago. The sadness intensified by the loss of my home, destruction of my homeland and the forced move to a new country.

After living in the Southern Hemisphere for most of my life where we celebrated Christmas in mid summer, the cold, white Christmases of Canada are both strange and magical, certainly different.

I can’t do much to help you be happy or stop you being sad in one short article. However I can share my ideas for reducing anxiety for the New Year.

The celebrations of Christmas, both religious and social are followed for most people by a quiet week of recovery from over indulgent, eating, drinking and spending, catching up with family and friends. Then the New Year festivities, another day or two of rest, recovery and the reality of a new year ahead.

It’s that yawning chasm of a whole year of uncertainty in front of us and for many the realisation that in the year just gone, we didn’t get as much done as we should have, that causes the anxiety, the trepidation, the niggling uncertainty in our core.

Planning tip for 2017

One of the ways I prepare for the New Year is to use the quiet week between Christmas and New Year to review the year just finished. I go through my diary, my journal where I write each day’s action plan, my journal of daily entries of 5 things I am grateful for and 10 things that were right the previous day. Then I make notes of what I did, what I achieved, people I met, what I didn’t do.

Then I review the notes and write what I learned about what I did right, what I didn’t get done, what I could have done better. Those lessons help me create my plan for the new year.

Once I have finished the exercise, I literally and figuratively put the old year behind me, the notes go into a folder. This year it will be marked “archives for 2016”, the folder goes into my filing cabinet and the failures, regrets and disappointments of the year are wrapped up and archived in that folder, not my head.

Then I get on with the plan for the New Year, some simple goals, action plans, 3 words to live by for the year. That will be the subject of another article.

One of the major reasons we don’t get enough done in any given year despite careful planning, is procrastination. It’s becoming an increasingly serious challenge in our electronically connected world.

Here’s a link to an excellent article by James Clear on how to beat procrastination.

How do you approach planning for the New Year? Leave a comment.

Graphic courtesy Stuart Miles /

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  2 comments for “Planning Tips for the New Year

  1. Roberta Hunter
    December 12, 2016 at 4:09 pm

    I gave up making New Year Resolutions years and years ago. I just try to live a honest and good life to the best of my ability.

  2. December 14, 2016 at 8:42 pm

    I don’t do anything special. But I really like your ideas. Writing down the things you are thankful for and things that went right. Too often I focus on what is not good or right – perhaps making it a task to remember the positives will be helpful. And then, wrapping up your regrets and putting them away – that is brilliant!
    As always Peter, you make me think,

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