The Ultimate Guide To Planning Your Year


Before I start, I want to ask a question please leave your answer in the comments.

Do you actually have a yearly goal planning day?

Where you set aside a day, turn off your phone, your laptop and plan. Assessing the previous year,what did and didn’t work and plan out the next year. 

This is a is a critical step that needs to be taken yearly so you can assess where you’re at and plan out the new year based on your findings.

Today was that day for me and I want to run through the process I use that ensures the day is effective and sets you up for success. It’s long and time consuming but the results are amazing.

I’ll start by pointing out my overall goal, so the process makes sense:

$1,000,000 by 03/12/2020

I’ll explain later why this isn’t my only goal anymore….. Although after today, this goal has expanded to bring more fulfilment. Such as helping others with Ulcerative Colitis. 

In order to plan out your year, you need to know what your main focus is and where it fits into your over all plan. 2018, for me, is step 2 of my 3 year plan.

  • 2017 – Develop a foundation
  • 2018 – IS FOR GROWTH
  • 2019 – Monetisation

2017 – Foundation

2017 was for developing a foundation in preparation for growth. It was used for getting out of any holes i’d dug over time and working towards developing the platforms I want to utilise in order to reach my goals.

These are the things I focused on and are suggestions of what you should:

  • Debt – 2017 was for paying off all debt that was unnecessary. This means credit card loans, outstanding bills and paying friends/family back.
  • Positive Habit Building – For the first year, focusing on developing positive habits is an absolute must and doing them this early is needed, so they’re in place when you’re ready to grow. Some that I worked on are:
    • Saving and investing.
    • Making my bed every morning and keeping my room clean.
    • Planning my day around my goals NOT my goals around my day.
    • Utilising a to-do list.
    • Quitting alcohol (cold turkey style).
    • Waking up at 6:00am every morning, regardless of what day it is and what happened the night before.
    • Developing a daily routine and sticking to it NO MATTER WHAT, including writing a blog post and engaging with my audience.
  • Elimination of toxicity – This was one of the most important for me. It includes getting rid of toxic people, activities, distractions and anything that’s standing in the way of your goals.
  • Establishing the channels that will help me reach my goals – This meant finding what gets me up everyday and excites me to work harder than ever. For me, it was writing and starting the business, OAKTRAV.
  • Learning to say ‘no’ – Although this is a positive habit, it deserves to be highlighted. Everything and anything wants to take up all your time. Learning to say ‘no’ is critical to reaching your goal. See how to learn here. 

When finding that thing that fuels you, please remember that it needs to be exactly what you want to do. Not what you think you should do or what you think you’re capable of or what someone else wants you to do. It needs to be what you truly want, otherwise you’ll quit. 

In 2017, I didn’t focus on making money, I didn’t focus on becoming known. I focused purely on setting myself up in preparation to spend 2018 growing the shit out of everything.


Coming into 2018, it’s important to know what outcome you want from it. For my 3 year plan, it’s growth.

So what do I mean by growth?

I mean scaling everything up so I’m in a position to monetise and reap the rewards from all the hard work.

For me it looks like this:

  • Have 25,000 – 50,000 active users on OAKTRAV.
  • Build my blogs mailing list to 2,500 subscribers.
  • Build my social media accounts to an influential position (I have actual figures and exact dates for all of them, which you’ll see further down).
  • Get in a position where I’m in talks about actually becoming a Disney voice over.

As you can see, none actually focus on making money yet, although obviously, if they grow at a quicker rate I will monetise quicker.

Your goals will likely be very different from mine but it’s important not to rush the process. You need a stage to focus purely on growth and strengthen your foundation to increase chances of monetisation.

2019 – Monetisation

This is the year to make money.

It’s when you bring together all your channels and figure out how you’re going to make money from it.

Now, if you’ve done the previous year right you’ll either have them ready to go or have  already planned how.

For me, the day I’ll start planning is the 01/08/2018. This gives me 4 months to plan and build my revenue channels.

Yearly planning day

If it’s your first year doing this. You have a little extra work.

Your planning day will include a large chunk of time that could even take days, where you’re going to decide on what you want out of life and what services you’re going to use to get there. Click here to learn how to develop a goal.  This post will also help you with picking goals. 

The rules of a planning day 

Before you even start, here are the rules of a productive planning day:

  • Plan your planning day – this means blocking the time out that is needed for each item and doing it the night before. NOT THE MORNING. That’s wasting valuable time.*
  • PHONE OFF – Get your phone off and out of sight. The only time you’re going to look at it is when you have a break and aren’t in the same area where you’re planning. By doing this, you’re eliminating distractions.
  • Go somewhere you can’t be found – This means going off site and moving away from where you work. This is solely to reduce distractions and make it even harder for people to contact you. For example, go to a local library, cafe, etc. This is especially important for people living with their family.
  • Everything gets written down – You’ll need to refer to notes later.
  • DO NOT LEAVE WITHOUT OUTCOMES – Every thing needs to be addressed before you stop, no matter how long it takes.
Planning day plan
* My planning day plan. Do the same so you stay on track and cover everything.

Now, I’ll take you through the steps, and what needs to be achieved at each step in order to have a bloody ripper planning day.


1. Review the previous year

If you’re going to develop goals for the New Year, you need to assess the previous year and go over goals, outcomes, what did/didn’t work, etc, etc.

This whole process should take about an hour. You’re going to look at the following:

Achieved goals and missed goals

At this stage you’re going to draw up a quick table, 2 columns one with ‘Achieved Goals’ one with ‘Missed Goals’. This part is pretty easy, all you’re going to do is write down the goals you did achieve and the ones you didn’t.

Here’s mine:

missed/achieved goals







Review smaller goals

When planning out yearly goals, those goals need to be broken down. Click the link if you want to find out how, but here’s a quick overview.

They need to be broken down to:

  • 6 Monthly
  • Quarterly
  • Monthly
  • Weekly
  • Daily

Using the same table above, you need to identify which goals you stuck to and didn’t stick to, at every level.

This will help you move into the next section.


The next question and the last part of this stage is to ask ‘why’.

You need to assess yourself and your goals and come up with a why to everything that did and didn’t work.

Remember to write down all your answers as they come important later.

If 2018 is going to be the first year of your plan, you still need to do the above. Except your’s just won’t have concrete goals to assess. BUT you will have things like; what you want to improve, what you want to achieve, what bad habits you have, what you don’t like about your life. This is the same with all the steps. You just need to adjust them to suit you.

2. 28 questions

To continue the self assessment, I answer 28 questions that I’ve take directly from the book ‘Think and Grow Rich’.

These questions allow you to get a great insight into how you feel about yourself and how you’ve progressed/declined over the year.

This is a photo of all the questions. I’m not going to provide you with a downloadable PDF as I believe that writing them out causes you to think about them.

28 questions

3. Habit Audit

Positive habits are so important to getting closer to your goals, while also negative habits can be the only thing that stand between reaching them. For that reason, I dedicate some time purely to auditing the positive and negative habits I have and haven’t developed over the previous year.

I develop another table with the headings; ‘Habits Mastered’, ‘Work In Progress’, ‘Didn’t Work’.

  • Habits Mastered – If the habit is truly a habit, you should be able to take it off the list as they will happen automatically.
  • Work In Progress – These are the ones you’re going to focus on throughout 2018 or whatever year you’re looking at this in.
  • Didn’t Work – With these ones you need to make a decision, to cull them or try harder. If you chose to try harder, move them to the ‘Work In Progress’ column.

You’re going to go over the habits that you’ve successfully developed, and the ones you’re still working on and the ones that either failed or didn’t actually get you closer to your goals.

It’s really important to identify the ones that are adding no value. Be honest about which ones your doing because you like them but actually get you no where and the ones that actually add value. For example, a sneaky one is ‘watching one episode a day of….. to relax’ .Read a book instead.

4. Establish New Year goals

Completely different to a stupid New Years ‘I’m not capable of setting real goals’ Resolution. If you’re setting resolutions, you’re going to fail because:

  1. If you can put off a goal than you don’t really want it.

That’s it. Don’t fall into the trap.

Let’s move on….

This is where your plan is going to stem from. I mentioned that you should only focus on 3 things during any given time frame. This is the extended post, you need to read that for the rest to make sense.

Here’s a quick explanation:

During any given time frame a person should only focus on 3 things that get them closer to their goal. For me this is; my blog, OAKTRAV and personal brand. For you it will be different. Every person has an additional 2 categories and they are; self (What do you do to get away from work) and Misc. (Stuff that can’t be avoided. E.g wash car).

Okay, lets go on.

Points to remember:

  • The goals that you set here NEED to all funnel into your overarching goal.
  • They need to reflect the stage of the process you’re at. For me, it was growth.
  • They need to be broken down, as above, to; yearly, quarterly, monthly, weekly and daily.
  • It needs to be done, separately, for each of your categories.
  • Re-assess progress every month.

I’m going to go through one of my categories to make it easy to see how to do it.

I’ll use my blog as an example.

The main goal of my blog is to become and influencer in the motivation and chronic illness space. So my goals reflected this and have kept GROWTH in mind.

  • Yearly
    • Grow all social accounts
      • Instagram – 20k followers
      • Facebook – 3000 followers
      • Twitter – 3000 followers
      • Medium – 3000 followers
      • LinkedIn – 2000 followers
    • Have 400 pieces of organically created content pieces on my blog
    • Develop my revenue plan for 2019
    • Have 2500 people on my mailing list
    • Move into public speaking and motivational talks
  • Quarterly (Q1)
    • Grow all social accounts
      • Instagram – 5000 followers
      • Facebook – 1000 followers
      • Twitter – 750 followers
      • Medium – 900 followers
      • LinkedIn – 1250 followers
    • Have 130 pieces of organically created content pieces on my blog
    • Have 500 people on my mailing list

Note – it’s really important to have actual measurable goals otherwise you can’t benchmark. Hence, the exact number of followers I want or the exact number of blog posts I want.

  • Monthly
    • Grow social accounts by:
      • Instagram – 1000 followers
      • Facebook – 300 followers
      • Twitter – 300 followers
      • Medium – 250 followers
      • LinkedIn – 100 followers
    • Introduce a new feature to my blog
  • Weekly
    • Grow social media accounts by….
    • Practice public speaking
    • Write content daily
    • Reach out to 5 other bloggers for colaborations
    • Submit weeks best post to publications
  • Daily
    • Post to all social accounts
    • Post to Instagram story
    • $1.80 Instagram strategy
    • 20 Medium comments
    • Write a blog post
    • Respond to all audience comments and interactions
    • Reach out to 2 LinkedIn connections

As you can see the ‘yearly’ goals are scary as shit but when you break them down to daily, it seems easy and the further you break down your goals the easier it is to visualise what you need to do in order to make progress.

5. Bring it all together

Bringing it all together is combining the pages of notes you’ve written into a straight forward one-page document that tells you exactly what your goals are and how you’re going to do it.

Download the outliner here

Fill out all the sections, put it somewhere you can see it and read it every single day.

Note – It doesn’t need to be fancy or flashy, it just needs to tell you want you’re working towards, why you’re doing it and how.

After you’ve done this you can use this as your self assessment the following year. It speeds up the process dramatically.

6. The ‘How’

The final step is defining how you’re going to reach these goals on a day-by-day basis. With this section, you’ll create a ‘daily to-do list’ which outlines exactly what needs to be done on which day of the week.

This is where you need to take action and I cannot stress that enough. Anyone can go through this plan and develop this to-do list but if you’re not going to do it, do us all a favour, stay in bed tomorrow and let someone else seize the day.

Here’s mine for reference:

Daily to do list

Apart from the spelling mistakes, this is a great way to outline exactly what you need to do and when.

But how did I get there?

Well, this is where writing down everything from the day becomes important. Once you’ve completed steps 1-5 it’s very obvious the things you need to be doing daily/weekly in order to reach your goals.

Here’s where you’re going to pull this information:

  • Your daily/weekly goals you’ve set for each of your focus categories.
  • The positive habits you want to focus on.
  • Your answers to the 28 questions.

Another point I want to stress is that this to-do list needs to become a habit in itself (which I kind of already did). It needs to be done everyday! PLAN YOUR DAYS AROUND YOUR TO-DO LIST, NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND.

Eventually, you’ll start to build momentum and the second you miss something is the second you lose it.

Planning day complete!!!

Once you’ve got the daily to-do list and the GOAL OUTLINE, you’ve successfully planned for the next year.

There’s one last step and that’s to type up all your notes, yes, type them up. In an order that makes sense.

They will be referred to on a weekly basis, every Sunday evening, to help plan for the week ahead. These notes are just as important as the final product as they offer the depth behind the goals.

  • Write the category goal break downs on separate pages.
  • Place the 28 questions somewhere you can see them.
  • Write your habit audit out in the sections mentioned.

If your going to reach your goals, you need a plan. This process will ensure that your plan is as good as it can be.

If you think I missed anything or require any help at all, send me an email here:

One comment

  1. I have read two of these books and have to admit they do make a difference if you apply what you read. I agree with you that reading a book as opposed to being on the computer all day and night is much better for you as well as being much more healthy too.

Comments are closed.