New Year's Resolutions
Well, I'm back from vacation, and though well-rested, for some reason I just don't feel quite ready for the start of a New Year just yet...

Typically, I spend the last few weeks of the year thinking about what I've accomplished this year, and what I wish to accomplish for the next, but somehow 2017 ended in a whirlwind of activity that left me no time (or energy) for planning, so I had to force myself to plan out my goals and tasks for the first quarter of 2018 earlier today...  Fortunately, the act of sitting down to plan actually got me moving, and I do have my first 12-week plan of the year sketched out.

Below are some of my goals and resolutions for 2018, as well as some of the tools I have used to help ensure I will accomplish them, but I'd love to hear some of yours as well! Drop me an email, or chime in on our Facebook page and share your plans for 2018! The simple act of sharing itself is proven to greatly increase your odds of achieving them.  :-)

At the end of 2016, I was introduced to a really cool method of goal setting based on the book, The 12-Week Year, by Brian P. Moran.  The book explains that 12 weeks is the optimal time frame for planning goals - not too long, not too short, and it also helps you break down how to set up your weekly and daily tasks in order to accomplish your 12-week goals.

I read the book, listened to some other training on the concept, and set up some spreadsheets, and I was ready to go! The first 12 weeks of 2017 went very well, and I accomplished most of my goals for that time period. The second 12 weeks also went pretty well, though not quite as well as the first. The last 2 quarters weren't so successful. I ended up "falling off the wagon" and getting hopelessly off schedule. I'm not sure I even completed half of the final 12 week's goals... However, the system does work - I think my problem was that I overscheduled myself, especially during the busy second half of the year, when I have so much going on in the garden and with the holidays that it was hard to focus on anything else. I am resolving this year to try again, recognizing my busier seasons, and adjusting my expectations accordingly.

My first 12-week schedule for 2018 looks reasonably do-able so far, and I am ready to get started on my goals!

If you are very busy or have trouble completing projects, I highly recommend you check out The 12-Week Year and see if it helps.

You can plan out your goals and tasks in an Excel spreadsheet as the book suggests, but I've also found a very helpful (and free) tool that works well for me in planning out each week. Once I create a simple spreadsheet with a general overview of each goal for the 12 weeks, and a schedule of which week each task is due, I then enter everything into Trello - an online visually-based planning tool.

In Trello, I create a master board for the 12-week period with all my 12-week goals and lists of tasks (Trello calls these "cards") for each week, and then a "Weekly" schedule board that simply has a list for each day of the week (Monday through Sunday).

Here is an example screenshot of my 12-week master board:

It is easy to copy each weekly task from the master schedule board into the weekly board at the beginning of each week. I then move the task cards to the days I intend to complete them, and I move them to a "Done" list when they are completed.  You can color code each task to make it easier to see what you are working on that week, and you can create due dates if you like, though I usually don't since I just add tasks to the specific week that I am working on.

Here's an example of my Weekly schedule board (as you can see, you can also set fun backgrounds for each board if you like):
You can use Trello however you want, and there are many other online planning tools as well, but this is how I use it and it has worked well for me.

As for my 2018 goals and resolutions, I just have a few, but they are specific and important. One area of my life that I feel like I have really been neglecting over the past year or so is my relationships with family and friends. (Why is it that these most important areas of life are so often the ones that we let slip by the wayside?)

This year, one of my resolutions is to keep in better touch with my family and friends, and as you can see above, I have, indeed, scheduled these important contact points into my 12-week plan for the first quarter.

I also would like to make sure I work out more often, and I have a goal of increasing my email list subscribers in 2018, as well as my business income.

Each quarter, I will review my overall annual goals to make sure my 12-week goals are moving me towards accomplishing them. With some luck, focus, and these tools helping me, I hope to make 2018 a spectacular year!  :-)

What are you planning for this year, and are there any favorite planning tools that you use to help you accomplish your goals? I'd love to hear from you, so drop me an email or let me know on the Facebook page!

Happy New Year!

P.S. Of course, I'll also have more great giveaways and special events coming your way in the months ahead, so stay tuned for those! 



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