Mindful Tips for Annual Planning: 3 Ways to Make it More Purposeful & Powerful than Ever!

Posted December 28, 2023

Mindful Tips for Annual Planning: 3 Ways to Make it More Purposeful & Powerful than Ever!

In our fast-paced and always on world, it can feel challenging to find adequate time to do the important work of reflecting and planning. It seems we often feel more pulled to focus our energies and efforts on trying to just keep up, which makes looking and getting ahead feel totally out of reach.

As they say, time is one of your most valuable resources. Perhaps one of the secrets to getting ahead is dedicating a small chunk of this resource to reflecting and planning.

With so much coming at you each day, having a thoughtfully crafted roadmap is key to staying on the path to accomplishing what you’ve deemed most important. Without this, all of the “urgencies” and distractions in life can take you off course and leave you feeling exhausted, stressed, defeated and even dis-eased.

With the benefits of mindfulness becoming increasingly evident, many forward-thinkers are discovering that placing more emphasis on a mindful approach to planning can foster greater creativity, resilience and ultimately success. Adding mindfulness into strategies you might already be familiar with can make this important time much more purposeful and powerful – setting the course for a year ahead that you can be proud of.

While there are many ways to more mindfully reflect and plan, here are a few of our favorite tips:

1. Be Purposeful in Setting Up Your Space

Before diving into any reflecting or planning, create the environment that will allow you to be present and tap into deeper levels of thinking. Essentials for this:

-Book this in your calendar as though it’s an important meeting (and in fact it is) and let others know you will be unavailable during the duration of time you’ve devoted to this work. When possible select a time of day when you typically focus the best.

-Turn off all alerts on your phone and computer or better yet, turn them both off and do your “thinking time” with good old fashioned paper and pen

-Find a quiet space that’s either silent or consider putting ambient background music on. We recommend an alpha brain wave state playlist like this one here, which will play binaural beats geared toward helping you shift into a calmer mind state ripe for heightened creativity. 

2. Reflect First

So much wisdom is contained in our past experiences. While we don’t want to carry our past along with us, it’s important to take time to acknowledge the learnings and appreciate the growth.

“By three methods we may learn wisdom: first, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.”

-Confucius

Before engaging in any future planning, you might first ask yourself some empowering questions that will help you approach the future with greater insights, clarity and wisdom.

What 3 things am I most proud of from the past year?

What are my 3 biggest lessons from the past year?

What 3 things/beliefs/habits/limitations am I choosing to not take with me from this year into next year? 

3. Approach Planning with a Beginner’s Mind

There are a handful of common approaches to setting goals such as the S.M.A.R.T. approach. These approaches may work great for you or they may not. Instead of blindly following a specific approach or doing it the way you’ve always done it, consider a more clean slate approach.

You might start by acknowledging what in fact motivates and inspires you and/or your team? Isn’t this why we set goals in the first place…to help provide a direction that will inspire and influence our daily actions? If the way you’ve been setting goals isn’t inspiring and/or isn’t getting you to where you want to go, then what’s the point?

We can apply Einstein’s thoughts on insanity – doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results – to our planning processes. If there are areas where you aren’t getting to where you want to go, then take a look at the methods by which you are creating the directions. What can you scrap, re-work, approach in a completely new and fresh way in the spirit of creating a better future ahead?

Mindfulness asks you to get so present in what you are doing that you are able to access greater levels of insight and clarity.

Before you go on setting those 2024 goals and plans just as you’ve always done, take a few moments to deeply think and ask yourself if there might be an even better way; a way that will get you beyond what your former self might have even thought was possible. This is how the game changers think. And it’s possible for you to think this way, too!

Here’s to a year of greater possibilities and most importantly, finding joy in this beautiful journey of life!

Looking to upgrade your overall sense of mindfulness this year? Get started with yoga and meditation! With so many in studio and at home options, we make it easier to infuse regular mindful movement and mental fitness practices into your life. Learn more here.