When I asked my friends, family, and followers to reflect and tell me what the best part of their year was their responses all fell under 5 categories.

  1. Experiences
  2. Career Milestones
  3. Personal Growth
  4. Fitness and Wellness
  5. Finances

As the new year gets closer I decided to focus and reflect on those 5 categories. I acknowledge that life throws us all curveballs and no matter how much I plan I cannot control how life plays out. However, if I fail to plan, I plan to fail.

Don’t forget to bookmark this page and save it to your Pinterest board. I will continue to share more tips and update this page as the year goes on with tips from my readers in the comment section.

Step 1: Identify your best experiences of the year.

Reflection: What were your favorite memories this past year?

Once you identify those moments that you cherish the most you can plan for them for the new year. If you didn’t have the greatest memories this year identify moments you would like to experience in the new year.

Tips:

This past year was easily my best year when it comes to making lasting memories. I’m choosing to share the best moments because I want to focus on the positive as I go into the new year. Here are things I did that helped me create some of my greatest experiences.

  • Keep Google Flight alerts to notify you when the cost of a flight dropped.
  • Visit Facebook Events monthly to see free or low-cost events near your area.
  • Subscribed to your local football, basketball team, and soccer team to get notified of games.
  • Keep a list of local places that you want to visit.
  • Start group chats with your friends or family to plan a family getaway well in advance.
  • Use google calenders to invite friends and family to events.

Step 2: Identify your career milestones

Reflection: What were some of the highs of your career this past year?

Tips for the best year in your career:

Before reading my list of tips keep in my that my highest career moment was only made possible by my biggest career low. Friendly reminder that life is far from perfect. Do not judge or compare your life to someone else’s.

  • Push yourself out of your comfort zone.
  • Ask for help.
  • Take online courses. This year I took a couple on Lynda.com.
  • Listen to an audiobook or read.
  • Reach out to companies.
  • Keep your LinkedIn updated.
  • If you are not happy at a job to find a way to leave, the worst thing you can do it continually talk about it and not make any changes. I highly recommend reading the book “Blink” if you’re not happy with your current job situation.
  • Go to networking events even when you don’t feel like it.
  • Face your fears. For example, I have a fear of public speaking. This year I’ve been saying yes to every opportunity and overly prepared. It has been rough but I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Step 3: Identify areas in your life that you’ve experienced self-growth.

Reflection: What are some areas of your life that you have gained more wisdom in or a better understanding?

Tips for the best year of your self-growth

  • Identify the ways that you want to grow.
  • Find groups of people who were on your same self-growth journey. For example, I found a women’s bible study group that could help me in my spiritual journey. My husband and I joined a married bible study group to grow in our marriage.
  • Replace a bad hobby with a good hobby.
  • Take online courses.
  • Watch documentaries.
  • Listen to podcasts.
  • Remember that self-growth is a journey, not a destination. Each day can contribute to your journey if you are mindful.

Step 4: Identify ways you protected your health and wellness.

Reflection: What are some of the best things you did to stay physically and mentally healthy?

Tips for the best year in your health and wellness:

  • Prepare – whether it is setting up your gym clothes so that you don’t have to think about it in the morning or prepping your food. It’s those that prepare that succeed.
  • Find something that works for you. Is it pilates, cycle, walking your dog, home workout? A fitness routine is not one size fits all.
  • Have at least one person you can talk to about anything. Sometimes you need another perspective to bring you some clarity.
  • Find balance in your diet. I live by the 80/20 rule. I will eat clean 80% of the time and 20% of the time I will eat things I love – like pizza and mojitos.
  • Schedule coffee dates with your friends they can be incredibly therapeutic.

Step 5: Identify ways you secured your finances.

Reflection: What are some ways that you helped my future self financially this past year?

Tips for the best year in your finances:

  • Use technology to help you. I actively use the apps Mint, Acorns and Robinhood to know exactly where my money is going.
  • Pay off your debt.
  • Keep an eye on your credit score.
  • Talk to your HR representative about your retirement fund options and your benefits.
  • Negotiate your salary.
  • Unsubscribe from promotional store emails.
  • Don’t fall into fast fashion. Buy quality items over quantity.
  • Cook at home.
  • Unfollow people who make you feel like you do not have enough.

Final Step: Plan

Planning an entire year is overwhelming instead I decided to do something similar like I did last year and plan my year in an hour. This year I also decided to add quarterly plans so that I take the time to reflect regularly versus only once a year.

Before I start I want to preface by saying that this plan is tailored to my needs. The last thing I want to do is make you feel like this is how you should live your life. My plan might be too simple for you or it might not be what you need. I hope my plans inspire you to think outside of the social norms. Remember the answers to the reflection questions and assess what might require more of your attention.