How to Transform Your Year (with a "Personal Plan")

It’s that time of year: New Year’s Resolutions.

It’s just another form of goal-setting really - and that is something you can do ANY time.

But I do like the symbolism of the new year: a fresh start, with all those blank pages of 2020 waiting to be written on…

Of course, the problem with New Year’s Resolutions is not the MAKING of them - it’s the STICKING to them.

I’ve written about this before:

Avoid New Year’s Resolutions Failure (Again) with These Three Easy and Effective Steps.

And if you’re interested in doing some in-depth goal-setting, I have some blogs that will help with that too:

I have used these processes to set my business and career goals for the year.

But today, I want to talk about something even more simple: a Personal Plan.

This is the process I am going to use this year for my personal goals.

I always have things I want to do more, or differently, for my health and wellbeing.

After my experiences with stress and illness, I am very conscious of the need to look after these - both mental and physical.

So this year, I have turned these into a 12 month Personal Plan.

The idea is very simple.

Research suggests it takes 30 days to make a habit.

So I will use each month to focus on a new habit I want to introduce, and concentrate only on introducing that for the month.

And the reasons for only one per month?

Because of overwhelm.

The temptation (especially for recovering perfectionists like me!) is to take on too many things at once.

You want to overhaul EVERYTHING, all at the same time!

And then of course, you can't sustain it, and all your new habits go by the wayside.

So by concentrating only on one thing per month, you reduce the possibility of overwhelm, and really give yourself a chance to make that one habit stick.

So here is the process:

1. Brainstorm the new habits you'd like to introduce.

You could include in this particular habits you'd like to stop, but I prefer to focus on introducing new positive habits: it's a more positive, abundant mindset.

2. Decide which 12 are going to make the biggest difference to you.

So for me, which 12 are going to make the biggest positive impact on my physical and mental health and wellbeing.

3. Allocate 1 habit per month, using your knowledge of yourself and your year ahead to allocate them.

For example, if your habit was to eat a salad for lunch every day, it would be easier to do this in July than in February, when it’s cold and salad is out of season…

4. Define your new habits clearly.

So for example, rather than “drink more water", my new habit for January is going to be to drink 1 litre more of water than I do currently, every day.

5. One final recommendation: a very useful process to really help you implement these new habits is "habit stacking”.

This is where you build a new habit onto something that is already a very fixed, settled habit.

So for example, brushing your teeth, commuting to work, meal times...

In January, I will be drinking one litre of water more per day by drinking half a litre with breakfast, and half a litre with lunch.

I can do this wherever I am, and whatever I am doing.

And the mealtimes will act as the triggers to remind me to do it.

So here is my Personal Plan for 2020 :)

(Apologies for the fact these aren't very original! But the habits we want to introduce often aren't learning Japanese, but instead are just getting fit or relaxing more…):

  • Jan - Water: drink an extra litre per day (500ml with breakfast and 500ml with lunch)

  • Feb