How to Plan for a Great New Year – 3 Simple Steps

A Better YOU Means a Better Nonprofit Organization

We are almost 2 weeks into 2014 and I am still excited about and working on my goals and intentions for the New Year.  Many people made resolutions and are working hard to build new habits and make their goals a reality.  As we all work towards those accomplishments, here are three simple steps that you can take to plan for a great year.  These will help if you have already made resolutions or not.  If you have already made resolutions, use these steps to reorganize how you think about them.  Starting with the successes that you accomplished in 2013 will help remind you of your strength, power and potential.

1.      Start with a review of your successes from 2013.  Categorize them.  For example:

  • Self
    • Family- I strengthened my relationship with my Mom.
    • Friends – I am scheduling more time (lunches and coffees) with my friends so that I can build and/or maintain these friendships.
    • Health – I finished my first half marathon.
  • Organization/Work
    • I spent more time getting to know my boss.
    • I began to enjoy doing phone interviews with my clients as I find it more efficient.
  • Greater Community
    • I volunteered 3 times this year.  One of these volunteer efforts was with a new charity and I had a great experience.
    • I made 5 donations to charities that I support.  This is 2 more than last year.

2.      Determine what you want for the New Year in broad terms, then work your way to specific SMART goals.  For example:

  • Self
    • I want to be closer to my partner.  I will plan a monthly date-night that involves getting a babysitter and leaving the house with my partner.  We will spend at least half of our date-time doing something where we are communicating.
    • I want to lose 10 pounds.  I will continue to maintain my running schedule and I will cut out eating dessert during the work week.
  • Organization/Work
    • I want to improve my work/life relationship.  I will stop work at 5:30pm to have dinner with my family and I will not go back to work until after my children are asleep (if more work is needed).
  • Greater Community
    • I want to continue to support local charities.
      • I will maintain my volunteering work and will volunteer in the community on 3 occasions.  I will also work with CCT Atlanta and spend time working on a consulting project with a local nonprofit organization.
      • I will donate money to 7 charities at the same monetary level or more than I did in 2013.

3.    Incorporate your goals into ASKS.  State, out loud, what you are asking for.  Practice in a mirror if this helps.  Then start asking people.   For example:

  • Self
    • To babysitter: Can you commit to a monthly appointment with us?
    • To anyone: Do you know of low cost child care options that will allow my partner and I to spend more than 1 time a month out together?
    • To partner: Can we both cut out dessert after dinner during the week?  We can have treats on the weekends, though.
    • To anyone: What is your favorite health-tip that works?
  • Organization/Work
    • To boss: I would like to leave at 5:30pm every day as I need to connect with my family.  I will ensure that my work gets done daily though.  Does that work for your needs?
  • Greater Community
    • To someone you respect: What charity do you think is really making an impact in our community?  I want to support more local charities.

Starting with your successes from the previous year, will allow you to build on what you have already accomplished.  When you define what you want in the New Year and voice those goals, to the universe and to people, you are one step closer to making your resolutions a reality.  Wishing you a prosperous 2014!


Photo credit to: Microsoft Office Clip Art

Jeanne Ward is a Consultant and Personal Strategist who brings her knowledge of psychology, strategy and personal fulfillment to her current work. Jeanne started her career by helping mentally ill inmates to ‘get their lives back on track’ as they integrated back into society from jail in NYC. She leveraged this experience with a Social Work degree to manage teams who were supporting people trying to move back into the workforce. She later lived in Atlanta, GA and Frankfurt, Germany where she began consulting with nonprofit organizations to guide them on their strategy, volunteer development, and organizational development as well as to support the development of their leaders and board of directors. After the jolt of a divorce, Jeanne found herself doing a lot of soul-searching. Digging deep, she arrived at a new-found appreciation for herself and the world around her. This journey taught her that when we start with improving ourselves, the benefits multiply. Jeanne realized that her strengths of strategic thinking, relationship building, and implementation planning could be combined into her ongoing passion of personal leadership. Hence, her personal strategy work was born. Jeanne helps men and women between the ages of 35 and 55 who are fed up with their corporate jobs to create fulfilling professional and personal lives through the development of a personal strategic plan. This work ensures that her clients identify their professional and personal goals as well as create a plan to make those goals a reality. Jeanne is also the Executive Director of the Atlanta Road Trotters Kid’s Running Club, a nonprofit organization that provides a platform for children to build a foundation of running health and fitness which leads to a better connection to the organized running community as well as a strong foundation of Discipline, Self-Esteem, Respect and Team Work. She has also co-authored a workbook on networking, founded and organized the National Association of Social Workers-Georgia-sponsored ‘Social Service Career Network’ and organized a summit for the National Alliance for Mentally Ill attended by over 100 organizations from 6 Atlanta counties. Previously, she sat on the board of NASW GA as their Secretary as well as on the board of NAMI GA/DeKalb as their Co-President, was a senior consultant for the Georgia Center for Nonprofits and helped to run a capital campaign for an independent school. Jeanne has an MSW from Hunter School of Social Work (City University of New York), an MA in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice (City University of New York) and a BA in Psychology from Emory University. Jeanne lives in Atlanta with her ten-year-old son.

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