28 tips finishing 2015 and planning 2016

My 28 or 29 notes to myself, for you to take advantage of.

With this year coming to an end, I was thinking the other day; what notes should I leave for myself in order to close off a year and plan for a new one? What aspects are important? Below is a list of 28 - 29 notes to you when finishing a year and starting a new one. Pick your cherries! Here is my year in review, but "just" the takeaways.

Reviewing 2015

Ask: what new things did you learn?

Looking back at last year try to pinpoint for yourself what were the new things you learnt? How did that make you feel? Till what extend did you actually remember anything you've picked up? From there it's a pretty logical step towards asking; what do you want to learn? Is there any knowledge you need to deepen next year, or maybe broaden?

Take a good deep look in the mirror

Set aside 1-2 hours to deeply analyse yourself. What drives you? Where do you want to go to in aspects of life? What makes you get out of bed every morning? What makes you love your job? What do you hate about yourself? What do you dislike about other? Write that stuff down too.

Organize your thoughts, your head is too small (sorry, it really is)

I have a couple of Trello boards, my trusty Evernote stocked with all kind of snippets, brainfarts, plans, blogpost ideas. And my trusty Moleskin. I have created my own little system and paper and online repositories which make me able to get thought out of my head and on paper or somewhere online, to sort it, rewrite it, organize it, dismiss it, putting it to action. The point I want to make is that you need to have systems in place which keep your head empty. If you keep doing earlier mentioned stuff inside your head because you believe "you can take care of it without help or tools", your short and long term memory gets clogged with relevant stuff yes, but also a truckload of useless facts, information, reminder and whatnots. Empty that brain.

Look at back at last year with start, stop, continue

Take a good look at last year. Spend an hour or so on this topic. Ask yourself these three simple words: start, stop, continue. Start: what are the things you have been postponing but you have really start doing? What demands your top focus in 2016? Stop: what do I need stop in next year what I've been doing for the last year(s)? Something that you really want to work on, a habit you want to break? Continue: what did I do last year I need to continue in the next year what I've been doing this year? Something you are super proud of? Please by all means keep doing it.


Planning 2016

Create 1 improvement point for yourself

In order to have a good 2016, you should come up with 1 personal improvement points you want to work on. Do you want to dress different? Lose 4KG? Maybe lower that temper of yours? Pick one, and do not focus on the rest of the things you think are important. Focus improves quality of the outcome and the likelihood of succeeding.

Make lists

If you need to get stuff done, write it down. Make lists. Things you want to do someday maybe, things you need to do now, things you need to do tomorow. Writing it down clears your short term memory, so you have more brainpower availble for the tasks at hand. Equally important for you is to make a to-not-do list. What are the things and activities you don't wan to do, which make you feel miserable? Write these down too, and stay as far away as you can from doing these things.

Create goals

Based on above stuff, create a strong plan of action for next year. I've read a tiny eBook on that topic, so best if you just download it here.

Consider one BHAG

I love Big Hairy Audacious Goals. It really strikes with one of the quotes I really like which goes a little bit like "aim for the moon, land on the stars". Try to set one BIG HAIRY AUDACIOUS GOAL for yourself. Lose 20kg? Start that super new plan of yours? Ask your partner to marry you? Buy that Land Rover Discovery (just because it looks awesome and a lot of stuff fits in)? Try to do one thing big and stretch yourself to the max coming year to reach that goal. You. Can. Do. It.

Don't look back (too much)

Let bygones be bygones. Water under the bridge. What's done is done. Basta. After having a good deep look into last year and the mirror, let last be. Learn from the mistakes, celebrate the wins, and onwards. Don't be looking back to much on what could've been done differently or what you regret. Learn from the past, plan the future and live in the current.


Things to do or stop doing in 2016

See loved ones more

Try to meet the ones that you hold dear more. Doesn't have to be long always, just a cup of coffee is enough, or a simple call sometimes suffices too. Be sure they know that you are there for them, you keep them close and they know they can share their feelings with you anytime. Moments happen in life that people just leave you, and you don't want to be left behind with any kind of regret. 

Eat financial frogs

Write your will. Arrange your estate (what happens when you die?). Get your savings together. Analyse you retirement plan. And if you are a financial illiterate, get your frigging act together and take care of it. These things are super important. You can't do them if you end up underneath a car next week god forbid. Don't leave your loved ones behind with worries! Check the Wealthy Barber for an easy read on a difficult topic. Or more recent, I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi.

Increase your financial wealth

Since we're in the financial mood, create plans to increase your wealth in coming year. They don't have to be pages long. My home-boy Benjamin Franklin once said that there are two ways to wealth. Increase your means or decrease your needs. The best is to both at the same time. Ready to launch a small business in your spare time? Discuss with your employer you haven't actually received a decent raise in the last couple of years (assuming you do a good job)? Take advantage of that extraordinary skill you have? Alternatively, which means can you really cut on? Increasing your means might be less challenging than decreasing your wants.

Have some fun and make people happy

Never forget to have fun and be fun to be around. The moment you stop having fun is the day you die a little bit something inside. Fun opens up new opportunities, put challenges in a different light and makes you glow. People like glowing people, you will be fun to be around, get it? Don't take everything too serious. Seriously.

Enjoy the journey as much as the destination

It sounds cliché but in our world filled with distractions, high energy, social media and buzzes we are so super focused on reaching our destination (physical or figuratively) that we forget to slow down every now and then and  enjoy the ride. So a word of advice. Slow down. Take it easy. Enjoy the journey as much as you do the destination.

Tell them you love them

Just because it's super important.

Don't be to hard on yourself

Pulling yourself down with bad thoughts is self-destructive. You need to stop that in 2016. Be happy with yourself and who you are. If the first thing you think when I say this is "yeah whatever but I..." then stop complaining and start doing something about it. Don't leave it drifting in the middle between solving and being OK with the way things are. That's killer.

Don't be to hard on others

It's really important to keep people sharp. In the professional and private world. But the fun thing is that we judge ourselves on our intentions, and we judge other on their actions. Realizing that fact is a micro-lifechanger and a super important one. So don't be too quick on the gun on judging others on their actions. What was the intention behind it?

Keep your cards close

This might sound like a counterintuitive advice right? I understand, you want to be as open and honest to everyone. But don't. Realize that for some things there are times and places which work better. Not everyone has to see all the cards which you have been dealt. Hold on to some of them for the right time.

Do something exciting

Ever wanted to jump with a parachute? Take a flying class? Drive a rally? Run the iron man? Book it. Jot down the date and save some cash. Take the leap and scrape something off of your someday/maybe list you've made a while back. Surprise yourself (and others, but that's not that important, is it?). Go for it!

Quit doing something useless or unsatisfying

Find something that really bores you, feels like a pure waste of your (expensive) time, or which is just plain unpleasant to do. Stop doing it. It you can afford it an option could be outsourcing it. There are other people who can do boring or satisfying stuff much better than you probably. Which frees up time and brainpower to spend on things that love and yield much higher return in all kinds of aspects.

Embrace a new hobby

2016 is going to be your year to embrace something structurally you've been wanting to do for a long, long time. Playing Guitar? Learning a new language? Whatever. Kill one darling TV-night in the week, and focus that night on undisturbed hobby stuff. Your significant other can understand, if you did your home-chores first that is. Heck, why not do something you both like, or help him / her to finally start that things that's always been on their mind!

Destroy limiting beliefs

Limiting beliefs are like poison. I am not good enough... - I don't have time to.. - No one's listening to... Screw that. You're awesome and can do anything you set mind to (sort-of.). Don't let anyone tell you otherwise, including yourself! Try to top up limiting beliefs with reasons, personal traits, skills you CAN do it. Don't give yourself the chance to be stuck in your own sphere of negativity. It's not worth it.

Learn new things or learn something better

There are a lot of sources nowadays to learn something new for the fraction of the cost it was say 10 years ago. You can get trained on the basics of yoga for €20 instead of taking 10 classes of €50, if you want to. Heck you can even do a complete master by stitching online classes together! Sources such as Skillshare, Udemy, Creativelive, Coursera and much more open up up thousands of learning opportunities. Take that opportunity which is offered to us and never stop learning. Broaden your knowledge or deepen existing knowledge with all the tools at your disposal. It will only enrich your knowledge.

Finish stuff you've started, or take it off "the list"

There is either a to - do list (or a to-not-do list), or a finished list. Don't let stuff simmer in the middle, it will fester. Get it done, or take it off the list, as it might not be that much of a priority as you thought it was.

Choose, don't linger

Cut cords. Book trips. Buy books. Order that pare of trousers. Quit jobs if you don't like them (or perhaps you might want to think that one over). But for god sake, don't decide on deciding. It is such a waste of valuable energy. Make the decision, go all in on it and don't regret choices you've made.

Done is better than perfect

Not everyone might agree with me, but getting things done is a really motivating and exhilarating feeling. So in order to get the feeling you need to get stuff done. With some stuff in life we are waiting for it to reach perfection and then the whole things turns bad. It's like a piece of red meat. It's rare (I love my steak rare, fyi) but you want it to be perfectly medium. So you wait a couple of minutes and you know what? It turned well-done. WTF. The point is, sometimes noone will say wow it's perfect. And while you are waiting for Christmas and easter to fall on one day to complete your "thing", people are becoming frustrated including yourself, or in business someone else ships their product earlier than your (better) product. Damn.

Stop talking, start listening

People are born with one mouth and two ears. That's not a coincidence. The balance of listening and talking needs to be that way too. Franklin Covey said that most people don't listen with the intent to understand: they listen with the intent to reply. Don't be that kind of person. Be the one who listens carefully, asks clarification if you don't understand (that shows you're listening) and compliments. Listen more, it makes conversations much more fun, interesting, rewarding and fulfilling!

Stretch your comfort zone

The comfort zone is a interesting thing. Depending on your personality, you might be really OK with where you are at the moment. You might be a little bit more like me. Restless, quickly distracted, and always ready for the next step. Eager to learn and to grow, up until the point you are getting a little annoyed with yourself. But the nice thing about the comfort zone is that it isn't a rigid circle, square or diamond, but it stretches along with you. When learning something new you don't forget what you've learned up untill then. You can go back too. Don't worry.


the end. My year in review!


Do you like what I write? Subscribe now for future updates, and get you copy of Planning a Rock-Solid 2016.


No spam, pinky swear.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *