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Don't set New Year's resolutions. Try this instead.

Three specific tactics to try that make planning energizing—not overwhelming

Like a fresh carpet of snow, a new year is stretching out ahead of us. It's a great time to reset and recommit, but I find the framing of "New Year's resolutions" profoundly unhelpful. Here are three things that work much better for me and my coaching clients.

Plan a season, not a year

The problem with a year is that it's just really long:

In my opinion, a season (aka a quarter) is the perfect length for planning and reflection:

It even has a few more important perks!

Don't set resolutions, set a theme

If you still really want to do a year, try a theme instead of a resolution.

This also works great if you have a goal for a quarter/season that's structured like "I want to do more of X." Speak up more at work, listen better, talk to my parents more, read more, cook different food, spend more time with friends, etc.

What do I mean by "theme"? Here's the video that first introduced me to the idea of picking a theme. It's really great and it's less than seven minutes:

I love themes for so many reasons!

Get accountability and step-by-step guidance

Even after years of doing it, it's really, really easy for me to push off my quarterly reflection and planning in favor of more urgent things, especially urgent things for other people. The only way I get it done is with accountability—there's always someone who knows which day I plan to do it.

I also needed help getting started—specific steps and questions, since a blank page was way too hard. I got started years ago with a "year in review" worksheet I printed off the internet. It wasn't perfect but it got me started, and over the years I adapted it to my specific brain.

If you want a shortcut, I've turned my favorite process into a workshop: Plan Your Quarter with Me. It's based on the quarterly review & planning approach I've honed over dozens of times with myself, my direct reports, and my clients. It walks you through it one step at a time, and you'll come out feeling settled, energized, and less alone. And it happens only on specific dates so you can't put it off. Read more and see if tickets are currently on sale here. 🎟️

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