December 15

Purposeful Planning for a New Year

Purposeful Planning for a New Year

By Deborah Johnson

December 15, 2023

adaptability, core values, Deborah Johnson, evaluation, flexibility, free download, Goals, long term goals, plans, podcast, priorities, purposeful planning, short term goals

Purposeful planning when looking toward a new year involves setting clear intentions and goals to guide our actions and decisions throughout the upcoming twelve months. It's a deliberate and thoughtful process that takes into account personal values, aspirations, and the lessons learned from the past year. This type of purposeful planning encourages us to identify our priorities, break them down into manageable steps, and create a roadmap for achieving them. It's about aligning our actions with our aspirations, whether they pertain to career, relationships, health, or personal growth. Purposeful planning allows us to enter the new year with a sense of direction, motivation, and a greater likelihood of turning our dreams into reality.

In addition to setting specific goals and objectives, purposeful planning also involves evaluating past experiences and acknowledging areas for improvement. It encourages a reflective approach, where we can assess what worked well in the previous year and what could be done differently. This self-awareness is crucial for making informed decisions and adjustments to our plan as circumstances change.

It includes building in flexibility, recognizing that unexpected challenges or opportunities may arise during the year. By considering these factors and crafting a plan that adapts to the evolving nature of our life, we can navigate the new year with a sense of purpose, resilience, and the ability to make the most of the opportunities that come our way. Here, we’ll cover core values, priorities, a roadmap to success, evaluation and flexibility. Make sure you get the free download!

Women at Halftime by Deborah Johnson Purposeful Planning for a New Year with Deborah Johnson 12-19-2023
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One: Personal and Professional Core Values

When circumstances change, our core values should remain consistent, offering us stability as we reset our course. Even if you’ve already defined your core values, it’s a valuable practice to periodically re-evaluate them at least once or twice a year. These values serve as the bedrock for both our personal and professional lives. They are the guiding principles that not only propel our life’s journey but also lay the groundwork for a well-defined purpose. (See: Stop Circling book appendix)

In a world where discerning what is genuinely real or true can be challenging, having a principled foundation characterized by consistency and authenticity is more valuable than ever. When circumstances shift, our core values should act as the unchanging anchor that provides the stability to navigate through both difficult times and prosperous times. They serve as our moral compass, helping us make ethical decisions, fostering resilience in the face of adversity, and ensuring that our actions are in alignment with our deeply held beliefs and aspirations. In this way, core values become the guiding force that ensures our path remains true, even in the midst of an ever-changing world.

Two: Priorities

Priorities and a plan are essential components in achieving a fulfilling and balanced life across various domains, including career, relationships, health, and personal growth. We will briefly touch on each of these but first, identifying our priorities aligned with our core values is the foundation of our journey. As to our career, it might include setting specific professional goals, developing new skills, or defining long-term ambitions or dreams.

In relationships, it could involve nurturing meaningful connections to foster open communication with those we care about. Also, allocating time for family and friends can strengthen relationships and contribute to a fulfilling social life.  Next, prioritizing health includes maintaining a balanced lifestyle through regular exercise, a nutritious diet, and ample self-care. Finally, in personal growth, it's about continuous self-improvement, whether through education, self-reflection, or pursuing hobbies and passions that nourish the soul. Once our priorities are clear for  career, relationships, health and personal growth, creating a roadmap is the next crucial step.

Three: Roadmap to Success

A roadmap to success involves breaking down our priorities into manageable, actionable steps and timelines. For career success, this could involve setting short-term and long-term career goals, identifying the necessary skills and qualifications needed, and mapping out the path to achieving them. Serena Williams, the tennis legend, has consistently prioritized her fitness, training and mental preparation. Her goal-oriented approach has helped her win numerous Grand Slam titles and maintain her status as one of the greatest athletes in the sport. (Get FREE Purposeful Planning Download)

Purposeful planning-Deborah Johnson

In relationships, it might involve setting aside quality time for important people in your life and proactively resolving conflicts or misunderstandings. (See relationship circles in Women at Halftime book) Health success is about developing a structured wellness routine, which could include setting fitness goals, adopting a balanced diet, and making time for regular check-ups. Also, adequate sleep, and stress management can lead to improved overall health and vitality. Personal growth is achieved by mapping out a journey of self-discovery, setting educational or personal development goals, and actively pursuing opportunities for learning and growth. With this roadmap, you not only navigate the complexities of life with purpose but also increase your chances of realizing your aspirations and dreams in each of these crucial areas for a well-rounded and successful life.

Four: Evaluation of Past Experiences

Evaluating past experiences is a valuable practice that offers insight into our personal and professional growth. Celebrating successes is not only a way to acknowledge achievements but also boosts self-confidence and motivation. It's an opportunity to recognize the hard work, determination, and skills that led to positive outcomes. By reflecting on what went well, we can identify patterns and strategies that contributed to successes, and hopefully aspire us to replicate these actions in the future. Successes also serve as a source of inspiration, reminding us of capabilities and potential, which can encourage us to set higher goals and strive for continued excellence.

On the other hand, assessing areas for improvement is equally crucial. Identifying areas where we fell short or encountered challenges provides an opportunity for growth and development. It allows us to pinpoint weaknesses, gaps in knowledge, or unproductive habits that may have held us back. Tony Hsieh (Shay), the former CEO of Zappos shares the story of LinkExchange, an internet advertising company he co-founded. Despite the financial success, he realized he wasn’t happy with the company’s culture and working environment. This realization led him to prioritize company culture and customer service when he later co-founded Zappos.

Self-awareness is a powerful tool for personal and professional development, as it helps us learn from mistakes, make necessary adjustments, and continuously refine our approach. Learning from our failures and recognizing room for improvement, we can then transform setbacks into valuable lessons, ultimately leading to more significant successes in the long run.

Five: Flexibility for the Future

Flexibility is a critical attribute to cultivate for navigating an uncertain future successfully. In an ever-changing world, the ability to adapt and embrace unexpected challenges or opportunities is paramount. A flexible mindset allows us to respond to shifting circumstances with resilience and creativity. It means being open to different perspectives, methods, and approaches, rather than rigidly adhering to our preconceived plans. This adaptability not only helps us cope with unexpected setbacks but also positions us to seize unforeseen opportunities that may lead to personal or professional growth. I have had many chances to apply flexibility with the changes in the technical landscape. Whether it’s been recording music or podcasts, there are constant challenges with connections and different technical issues.

Mentally, I’ve chosen to take a proactive approach to life with resilience that lets me bounce back from setbacks and view them as learning experiences rather than failures. Instead of being fearful of the unknown, with a flexible mindset, I can proactively shape my future by staying receptive to change. This is possible for everyone to pivot and leverage abilities to learn and adjust quickly. As an example, Jeff Bezos, the founder and former CEO of Amazon was a key figure in transforming Amazon from an online bookstore into one of the world’s largest and most diversified e-commerce and technology companies. He recognized the potential of e-commerce to disrupt retail and was proactive in developing and diversifying the company’s offerings.

As we see in the success of Bezos’ decisions with Amazon, flexibility for the future is a mindset that not only prepares us for the unknown but also empowers us to thrive in an ever-evolving world.

Application and Action Items

  • Define and prioritize core values to guide decision-making and actions.
  • Set clear and specific priorities in career, relationships, health, and personal growth.
  • Create a roadmap to success with well-defined goals and strategies.
  • Continuously evaluate past experiences to learn from both successes and areas for improvement.
  • Foster adaptability and flexibility to navigate unforeseen challenges and opportunities while staying aligned with core values and long-term aspirations.


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Purposeful Planning is a deliberate and thoughtful process that takes into account personal values, aspirations, and the lessons learned from the past year.

deborah johnson

Thought Leader, Keynote Speaker, Author

If you are interested in growing and learning, check out our online courses here: Online Learning

1,429 words

Deborah Johnson

About the author

DEBORAH JOHNSON, M.A., creator of Hero Mountain® and former president of Los Angeles National Speakers Association, is an international award-winning music artist, author, speaker and National Media Commentator. She also hosts the popular podcast "Women at Halftime." Deborah provides tools to create your ideal lifestyle and work at mid-career or during the halftime of life, getting unstuck. You can live your second half fulfilled, focused and free! Up for multiple GRAMMY Awards and spending over 20 years in the entertainment industry, she's an expert on how to constantly reinvent yourself in a gig-economy. She is also the recipient of the Women's Economic Forum Exceptional Women of Excellence Award. Deborah is the author of multiple books, over twenty albums and musicals and speaks and performs in both live and virtual events.

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