Questions to Help You Plan The Year
“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:15-16
“But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14
A new year. It’s a time to reflect on the past and look ahead to the future. New starts are always refreshing, aren’t they? I think that’s why God built new starts throughout the rhythms of our life. Every minute, every hour, every week, every month, every year begins again at some point. Was last year a disaster? Guess what...you can start fresh! Was last year awesome? Then go for a repeat!
That’s why I love January. It’s a chance to look ahead and chart a course and plan for the year to the best of my ability.
Below are some questions to get you thinking about your life and what’s ahead of you. They are designed to help you take stock of your responsibilities and to look ahead and formulate a plan. By no means try to answer each question. That’s not the goal. Some of you will find this helpful, others will find it annoying. Some will think it’s not enough, others will think it overwhelming. Don’t use these as a weapon to beat yourself up ~ these are just questions to trigger ideas. The implementation of the ideas are up to you. How you develop new habits, start new routines, build extra margin, or change course in an area depends on you. So take 1-2 questions of each section and figure out how you’ll make it happen. You can do it.
Ready? Here you go.
What are 3 things I need to stop doing?
What are 3 things I need to start doing?
What is one word I would use to describe last year?
What is one word I want to live into this year?
What habits do I want to cultivate this year?
What are habits I need to break this year?
Am I doing what I want to do in life?
Am I using my gifts to the fullest potential?
Do I need to change jobs? Do I need a raise? Do I need to get further schooling/training?
Am I going to read through the Bible this year?
Am I going to exercise?
What will I eat? What are eating habits that need to change?
How will I prioritize my health this year?
What’s the biggest time-waster of my day?
Do I have margin in my schedule?
Am I getting enough rest?
What skill would I like to develop this year?
What books will I read this year?
What goals do I want to set for myself?
Will the people of God/Church/Sundays be a priority for me this year? (this is a part of what you choose to say “yes” and “no” to.
How much money am I going to give away this year?
How much money am I going to save this year?
What debt do I need to pay off this year?
What is one category of spending that needs to go away this year?
How can I steward the money God’s given me in a better way this year?
Do I have financial margin?
What’s the next thing I need to save for?
In light of my envisioned future, what do I need to be saving for in the next 5 years?
What relationship(s) do I need to prioritize/invest in this year? (think family, friends)
What relationship(s) do I need to set boundaries in this year?
How will we connect relationally each day/week?
What will do that’s fun this year with just us?
What area of our marriage do we need to work on this year? Finances? Schedule? Sex-life? Work? Extended Family?
Is there an area of our relationship in which we are not unified?
How do we need to love each other better? (speak more kindly, stop leaving the toilet seat up)
What anniversary is coming up? What will we do?
What are things we need to do better as a couple? (Find time to connect each day/syncing our schedules together)
What are areas we need to encourage each other in?
How will I help cultivate my spouse’s time with Jesus?
Are we in disagreement about anything currently?
What agreements do we need to make?
What fun things will we do as a family this year?
What character traits do we need to help cultivate in each child?
How will I as a parent relationally connect with each child this year? (parent/child dates)
What things do I need to specifically pray for my son/daughter?
What memories do we want to make as a family this year?
What will be our weekly routine? (dinner together 4 times a week?)
What will be our nightly routine (prayer? Devotions? Down time?)
What season of parenting are we in currently? (0-5 = learning obedience, 5-11 = cultivating character, 12-17 = learning about the heart, 18-20 = launching)
Finish this sentence… “At the end of this year, I will have regrets if I don’t ______” (spend more time with my kids/spouse, pay off a school loan, change jobs, get my health in a sustainable routine, shoot a Blue Wildebeest on an African Safari).