2017 Master Plan – How to Work Toward Your Dreams in the New Year
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This post is sponsored by Cratejoy.com. Although I am receiving compensation for this post, all comments and reviews of products received are mine and mine alone. I strive to only promote products that I think are excellent.
The New Year is for Planning Big
2017 is around the corner, and there is so much to look forward to! The beginning of a new year always feels like an opportunity to be a better me, so I relish that feeling. Nothing is quite as lovely as the warmth of inspiration in these cold dark months. That’s why I decided that I would create a massive 2017 Master Plan to help me guide this motivation in an effective way. These are not resolutions, but rather general ideals for how I want my year to be and the steps to achieve them. If you think positive things, positive things will come!
Cratejoy Has My Heart
One thing that absolutely sparked some planning creativity and excitement in me was the arrival of my Creative Mercantile box from Cratejoy. I knew when I opened up this package I would feel giddy, but the reality was so much more wonderful! This Creative Mercantile box came with a stylish 8″ x 8″ notebook, washi tape (my first rolls ever!), stamps, stickers, tags, and a great big ol’ clip. Everything that came in the box is just so cute and cohesive, and I knew that I had to make something positively inspiring with these materials. That’s when my 2017 Master Plan was born!
If you aren’t familiar with Cratejoy, you should go check them out yesterday. You can search through hundreds of subscription box services to find something that fits your interests, then have it shipped straight to your door each month! I’ve always loved subscription boxes – which isn’t a surprise since I’m an introvert who struggles with decision making. Don’t have to leave the house? Check! Don’t have to choose the specific items that I want? Check, baby!
And subscription boxes are also a massive relief for people like myself who are horrendous gift givers. I want to get my friends and family things that they will actually use and enjoy, not just panicked gift cards. I’ve heard the tip “Don’t give your friend gifts based on their hobby unless its your hobby too.” I can relate to that, because my family’s gifts have always been a hit or a miss for me growing up. Sometimes I’d get art supplies I really liked; sometimes I’d get art supplies for kids way younger than me. With subscription boxes, you just need to be in the ballpark. Then your loved one can receive gifts based on their passions long after the gift-giving season is over! Doesn’t that sound like a winning present to you?
And if no one gave you the gift of a subscription box from Cratejoy this year, then maybe you should get one for yourself. You deserve it! I mean, just look at the boxes featured in Cratejoy’s stationery collection! Go on, I’ll give you a minute. Now recover from your swoon and grab yourself a box. Planning can get monotonous and boring if you don’t keep things fresh, but a new delivery of goodies each month are sure to keep you inspired.
Let’s Look at the Big Dreams
It’s always helpful when making long-range plans to think about the big dreams. I mean the BIG ones too, not just goals for this year. Think about the things you’ve always wanted to do: travel the world, pilot a plane, scuba dive with sharks, own a restaurant…. don’t limit yourself here. Write them down right at the beginning of your 2017 Master Plan.
For me, I have always wanted to live in Ireland or Scotland for at least 6 months. I’ve also been dreaming of hiking big hikes, like the Grand Canyon or the Appalachian Trail. On the same outdoorsy note, Jon and I have talked about how fun it would be to car camp across the United States like nomads while we’re still young and so unattached. Just camp equipment, the dog, the car, and every state or national forest we come across. What an adventure!
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Since I was a little girl, I’ve always dreamed of becoming an artist. But I grew more cynical as I grew up, and that dream felt impossible. Regardless, it’s been a lifelong dream of mine and it deserves a spot on the list! Writing a novel is a slightly newer goal, but I’ve always loved reading and writing, and it just sounds like fun to create a world.
Below each listing of the big goals, I jot down a couple of things that I can do in 2017 to work toward those goals. The reason I do this is because while some of these goals might be far off, there’s nothing stopping me from taking baby steps. I know that if I put my mind to it, these big goals can be accomplished. This spread is simply the manifestation of me putting my mind to it!
Traveling in 2017
I love traveling and having new experiences. And with my job being so flexible now, traveling seems like a possibility more than ever. So I’ve compiled a list of attractions within a few hours drive from where we live to act as inspiration for fun this year. And I couldn’t resist a page about travel since I got several adorable plane, train, and automobile stamps.
Living in Champaign, IL is actually quite convenient for travel. We are only about a 2-3 hour drive from three major cities and there’s tons of camping/hiking opportunities nearby. I really want to push the camping this year for two reasons: we finally acquired the necessary equipment and I absolutely love it. In 2016, Jon and I went hiking a handful of times and camped once. I want to really explore this year because there are so many amazing places in the area that I need to see. And by golly, I’m gonna see them!
Personal Goals for 2017
Every year, I take the opportunity to look at where I am in life and assess my desires. I try identify my ideal self and how I can get closer to that ideal. This spread is that thought process put on paper. This year, I decided that I want to tackle some fears that are holding me back. I list out my five biggest obstacles (aka fears) on a geometric patterned sticker, then dismiss those fears as being irrational. For example, one big fear is that I am wasting my time on something that fails. The way I dismiss that fear is by noting that every failure is a learning experience, so no effort is wasted.
After writing out my obstacles, I write the mentality that will see me through: “Done not perfect.” I’ve been telling myself this phrase lately and I’ve been actually seeing progress in how I take on projects. For example, I have several nice journals and sketchbooks that have collected dust on my bookshelf for years. I felt certain that nothing I could write or draw in these paper temples could be good enough, so I never tried.
Well, the other day I finally tarnished the first page of one of these sketchbooks despite overwhelming fear. I want to take this inch I’ve gained and carve out a mile in the coming year. I want to be the queen of doneness and abandon perfection for good. Perfection never did anything for me anyway (because it doesn’t exist).
After my written pep talk, I listed out all the progress I want to make in 2017. Some are health related, some are art related, and others still are nature related. I really feel that 2016 was a year of movement for me personally and I want to ram it into the next gear. Also, can we talk about how cute that washi tape is? I am loving it with those stickers so much!
Business Goals for 2017
I have business goals as my next spread, but of course this can be changed or omitted if desired. My business is one of the most important things to me and I want to pour as many resources into it as I can. That includes peppy new year motivational planning! I kept this page fairly straightforward, but couldn’t resist adding one of those hexagon pattern strips. They’re basically baby washi tape, which is super handy.
Since I’ve started blogging as a full time gig, I have really felt in my stride. This job feels like more than a job – it feels like a career. So I want to build it as best as I can and keep this rolling. I feel confident and strong and professional. I feel good. That is some inspiration worth exploiting for the big dreams. Especially my one big dream right now: my very own office. Currently, Jon and I live in a bitty apartment with only one bedroom. That means my “office” is a desk crammed in the living room. It worked fine for a while, but now that the blog has grown and my business has really bloomed, this girl needs some office space. That’s left me dreamily browsing Pinterest looking for the perfect office for me. One of these days!
Spot the Motivation
All this dreaming is nice and all, but it doesn’t do much good to just dream without a desire to move forward. You need that burning passion to see you through and keep you from falling into the same routine as last year. That’s the reason I make Why Statements! Usually, I try to pick one powerful Why, but this spread felt like it needed a shotgun blast of Whys.
I created a Why mind map for both personal and business motivators. Some overlap to the other category a bit, but that’s the nature of entwining your business so closely with your life. For each, I write out reasons why I want the goals I listed out before, then connect it to the center with washi. I dig into my gut feelings here, not just logic. How would it make me feel to accomplish these goals? How would I feel if I failed? I wrote down emotional Whys and connected them together. These can be general or specific so long as it makes you feel something. For example, one good Why for me is “I never want to clean toilets for a living ever again.” That evokes an emotional response of frustration, which is definitely an emotion to avoid.
This brainstorming activity helps solidify my commitment to making a better me. After all, it’s easy to covet another life, but it takes guts to go after it. And going after it is scary! These whys back me up though so I don’t feel so afraid. They remind me of what I feel and how I want to feel. And that makes them effective.
Put Your Dreams into Action
This is going to be your year. You know why? Because you can make it so. With a thankful heart, an open mind, and the stomach to roll up your sleeves and do some hard work, you can achieve anything. And I have one big secret for you if you are scared of failing all your big goals: Make little tiny daily changes and you will see amazing things happen. You don’t have to overhaul your whole life at once. Just tweak some daily habits and watch the magic happen.
One thing that helps tremendously is planning your life regularly. You don’t need to plot out every minute of your day, but having a plan ahead of time works wonders. That way you aren’t hurtling by the seat of your pants every day; instead, you are mostly in control of your circumstances and have more room to maneuver when life throws a monkey wrench your way. But planning can become tedious if you don’t keep things interesting. That’s why I’m seriously in love with Cratejoy. Getting new goodies on a regular basis keeps your brain thinking and exploring. It’s amazing what a few new sheets of stickers or fun new stamp can do to breathe new life into what some consider a chore.
Whatever your big goals are for the new year, make a 2017 Master Plan and begin building your ideal future. Because it’s not going to just happen to you tomorrow unless you work toward it today.
Another great article! I’m going to do this. I think you should be taking this blog and turning it into that book you talked about writing…I personally like books better. Something I can sit down with and reference easily.
Thank you for the compliment Christine! You never know what’s ahead.
EXCELLENT ARTICLE!!! Thank you!!
Thank you, I’m so glad you enjoyed it!
Love the article Shelby! The process you go through to write down all your goals is so inspiring and creative – makes me excited to start planning my goals for next year. And your quote ‘Done, not perfect’ – LOVE IT. I think it reminds us to take a bit of pressure off and just make sure we start something instead of procrastinating and putting it off.
Thank you for the read!
Thank you so much for your comment, AJ! I’m so excited to sink my teeth into the new year and really start to realize some long-standing goals. Part of that is just figuring out how to take the pressure off, just like you said! I hope you find a ton of inspiration in the new year!
You had me at Done, Not Perfect!!! That reminds me so much of my favorite grad school professor’s favorite saying: Practice Makes Better. Loved that guy, even though it was years later before I could appreciate his wisdom. Your article was SO timely as I say good riddance to a really awful year and prepare to move forward in 2017.
Thank you so much for sharing!
Your professor had a fantastic saying! I’m with you – goodbye 2016! I’m so ready to take on this new year. Thanks so much for commenting, Genie! It’s always wonderful to hear other people reinforce such a positive mindset. Good luck kicking butt in 2017!
I absolutely love this article. Years ago I thought things like goal planning and vision boards were kinda pointless or “hippy-dippy” because I figured they didn’t for me or at least not in my past. Then 5 years ago at a Conference for a home-based business I was working we had an amazing speaker. I am very creative and can imagine things very well. The speaker was describing what sounded like the most amazing trip ever. A cruise around the Hawaiian Islands. Snorkeling, amazing food, passing lava flows at night and seeing them touch the ocean, etc. This was our company’s next incentive trip. Our activity with that speaker was to create our own vision board. I wanted that trip so badly. My husband and I never had a honeymoon and other than my income from that home-based business and caring for the kids I felt like I didn’t contribute as much as my husband did so I wanted to earn that trip and take my husband as a thank you for all he does for our family. I took that vision board to the extreme when I got home. I am a visual person and I felt in order for that vision board to inspire me it needed to be big and somewhere I would see it everyday! So I built that vision board over our 2 bifold closet doors and a year later out of a company with over 10,000 consultants I was one of just over 100 that earned that trip!!
And I love that you have learned to embrace “Done. Not perfect”. Because that has been a huge one for me too. I have learned “Good enough, never perfect” because the fear of not being perfect would either stop me from completely trying or just get stuck trying to make something perfect and feeling a failure. I now say to myself “Good enough. Now move on”
Planning and taking those baby steps leads to bigger steps which will eventually lead to those goals!
I hope this article plants a fire in the belly of many as we head into 2017 and I hope for everyone it is their best experience yet!!
Thank you so much, Jennifer! Your trip to Hawaii sounds like it was incredible. It’s amazing how far a little bit of visual reminders can go toward a goal. I’m so glad you got to go with your awesome work ethic! And yes, you totally understand the perfectionism problem. I was (and sometimes still am) the exact same. I’d gut projects before they got off the ground because I was afraid of imperfection. It’s getting better now, but it’s still a work in progress. I’m so glad you enjoyed this post, and I wish you all the luck in the world with the fresh new year!
Scotland is a beautiful country! It would be awesome to see you over at this neck of the woods! I’m probably biased because I live here, but nothing beats being so close yo Glasgow but also having the quiet peace of Loch Lomond just a 10 minute drive away! <3
Ah man, I’m so jealous! I visited way back when I was eighteen and it captured my heart! Stayed up at Lickleyhead Castle in Aberdeenshire. Everything is just so darn charming! I’m definitely planning a trip back, but boy would I love to live there for a while. I am jealous of your location for sure!