As 2023 came to a close, I spent a lot of time thinking and dreaming about things I wanted to do differently here at LSP. Don’t get me wrong, 2023 was a good year around here. However, there is always room for growth, no matter how good something already is. So, I took a deep dive into planning for 2024.
While I was excited for what’s to come, and had a rough idea of the direction I wanted to go, the process of how to do that was a bit cloudy in my brain. Whenever I would tap into that train of thought it kind of felt like I was trying to clean up the playroom after 10 children had been playing for hours – pure chaos, but with positive connotations. Deep down, I knew that everything had a place and that it would eventually get sorted out, but it was going to take a lot of sifting and weeding to get back to square one and get a grasp on planning for 2024.
So, oddly enough, this post isn’t really about the direction that LSP is headed in 2024 (although we will get to that later on) it’s more about the process of getting from point A to point B. A guide map for the year, so to speak. In the end, the reason I am even sharing this ultimately boils down to what I want to be doing anyway – serving my clients in more ways than one.
I, too, am a mother of littles. The every day grind is not foreign to me. In fact, that is what causes my brain the most strain. Therefore, I think I can confidently say that you have days where you struggle to think straight. Some days feel like you are wading through mud. Some days feel like a giant Sour Patch Kids metaphor. Other days are just plain hard. While I hope and pray that this year has more good & easy days than hard, I know that might not be the reality. With that in mind, I want to invite you to take some time to sit down and map out what you want to focus on this year. And, no, I don’t JUST mean set goals. I want you to look at the bigger picture – to think about how you want to feel throughout the year. What headspace you want to live in. What theme you would love to play out.
The Process for Planning for 2024
Take out a piece of paper and a pen (or pens if you are like me) and draw a quadrant or grab my freebie for this planning for 2024 exercise here.
In the top left corner, make a list of things you KNOW are set to happen this year. This can be things like birthdays, anniversaries, trips that are already planned, milestones that will be hit, job changes that are on the horizon, etc.
In the top right corner, make a list of things that you think MIGHT happen. Some examples might include career changes, moving to a new house, trips you have talked about but haven’t planned, lifestyle changes that you have been considering, etc.
In the bottom left corner, make a list of things that you are worried about, things that feel unknown, or fears you may have. This might look very different from one person to the next because these hit a little closer to home. This could be personal things, work/business related things, family things, etc.
In the bottom right corner, make a list of all your dreams for the year. Think big here. Write things down that you think have a very slim chance of happening, but also write things down that feel realistic. There is no right or wrong answer here. This a space to let your mind wander.
On another piece of paper, I want you to make a 2 lists. The first being of people you have actually had a real, meaningful conversation with in the last 2 months (this can be in person or via phone – not all important people live within reach). The second being a list of people who are still important to you, but you haven’t connected with recently. This may feel a bit random, but I promise we will circle back.
Now that you have your quadrant filled in and your lists have been made, take a second to read it over. Take a quick skim and pay attention to any words/phrases/commonalities in any of the quadrants. If you are a visual person, I recommend highlighting these! Now, go back over it and read each section more intently.
Based on what you have gathered from your skimming and more thorough reading, I want you to answer the following questions:
- What is my theme(s) for 2024? This can be a word(s) or phrases.
- What are my top 3 priorities this year?
- What 3 relationships do I really want to focus on this year? Spouse, child, parent, friend, etc.
- What is one dream I want to pursue this year? Go big or go home (or go little, that is good too :)
- What things do I need to surrender? What worries do I need to let go of? What burden can I give to Jesus?
While there are a lot more questions you could answer by looking at your quadrant, I think these 5 are a great starting point for planning, preparing, and looking ahead at 2024. You could easily stop here if you are more of a bigger picture kind of person. Or, if you like a little more planning and direction, you could break it down even further by month and even week. If that sounds helpful, keep reading after this paragraph! If the thought of breaking it down even further makes you start to sweat, just stop here! Take some time this week to mull over what you have written down. Tape this sheet up somewhere you will see it. The more you look at it, the more commonalities you will start to see. Pray over what feels confusing or worrisome. Celebrate the things that are exciting. Ultimately, this is meant to be a reference point. My hope and prayer is that this is a place to help you dive into the year. If you are the sentimental (or performance driven type) keep your sheet for end of the year reflection and beginning of year planning in 2025.
Breaking It Down
For those of you who want to break it down even further, look at the answers to your questions above and start thinking about how you can incorporate those things into your week (or even days). What small things throughout the week could you help you accomplish your large scale goals/dreams/etc.
Maybe you choose one of your priorities and focus on one of those each week of the month – and then the fourth week of the month can be used for whichever one feels like it needs more focus that month.
Thinking about the 3 relationships you want to focus on – how can you reach out to those people throughout the month? If you are a “meet for coffee” kind of person, maybe you schedule one coffee date per week with each of those people. Do those 3 people include your kids? Plan a monthly date with each of them.
Looking back at your list of people – map out a little “plan of contact” for each month/week. Set reminders to text or call people you often forget about because they aren’t someone you see on a regular basis. Set a reminder to send a little “thankful for you” text each week. Reference those lists when you pray throughout the day, this can help you focus and go deeper in your prayers.
Lastly, do a weekly or monthly check-in. Reference these lists and sheets. Do a little self-evaluation. This will help to keep goals within reach, people on your mind, and Jesus at the center of it all.
I will be the first to admit that my area of expertise has more to do with documenting moments, but I do know that this exercise has helped me get a grasp on my thoughts. So, I wanted to share in case in gives some peace and clarity to even just one person.
If you have reached the end of this post and your brain is reeling, head this way to see some raw, real, and happy moments that I have documented.
Best of luck planning for 2024!