Get Ahead of 2019—Set Your Intentions Now

It’s never too early to get a headstart on the New Year. Planning ahead can help you to feel in control—and able to achieve your wildest dreams. Here’s how.

It seems like only yesterday you were basking under a hot summer sun after jumping in a lake on the countryside. Or sipping a mocktail at the newest hotspot downtown on a warm August night. Time slowed down. You felt relaxed.

Now, here you are. The temperature has dropped several degrees. Your bikini is stored in the back of your drawer. Booties are covering your non-pedicured toes. You’ve switched your order from a half-sweet pumpkin spice latte with almond milk to a peppermint mocha with whipped cream while wearing your coziest bulky sweater, and you’re feeling festive. You’ve booked flights to arrive just in time to surprise family on Thanksgiving—not to mention that you’re feeling ahead of the game with a holiday list already made. You even mustered the courage to step into the holiday shopping jungle.

Suddenly it hits you. Perhaps while sipping that peppermint mocha and overhearing the ladies next to you complain about all that they have left to do before year-end.

2018 is almost over. 2019 is right around the corner.

That sweater doesn’t feel as comfy anymore. Despite it being ten sizes too big, you feel everything around and within you tighten. That latte you were enjoying moments earlier is now cold and you start feeling guilty for spending $6 on a beverage as the thought of holiday expenses overwhelms you. You quickly respond to this feeling by channeling your “I’m gonna get sh*t done” attitude, and decide that you need to make your 2019 plan. Stat.

Not only do I have what you need to make said plan, but I also have what you need to feel loose in that sweater and give the best gift of all this holiday season: Your beautiful presence. Read on for how to savor it all.

man jumping over two rocks with sun behind him
Photo by Doran Erickson

Slow down. Set a date.

Before you start trying to figure out what you’ll have accomplished by this time next year during the five minute break you have between meetings, relax. Slow down. You wouldn’t want your mechanic putting your winter tires on while he’s feeling rushed, stressed, and doing 10 other things at once; you make an appointment knowing that he’ll be taking his time and focusing on nothing else but your car. One tire at a time. It’s intentional and efficient. It’s safe and decreases the likelihood that you’ll slide off your path into a ditch.

Be like your car mechanic. Start by making an appointment when you’ll be creating your initial 2019 plan. You’ll need anywhere from one to three hours to a full day depending on which of the following elements you want to include.

Show up.

Don’t blow yourself off, keeping that anxious mind of yours partying like you did at your first college party. Instead, get dressed up for the occasion. If you want 2019 to be your best year yet, you must treat this date with the kind of love and respect that you expect 2019 to show you in return. Show up early—even if you’re doing this at home on a Sunday afternoon. Be punctual.

Have what you need prepared and ready: Pen, paper, smooth jazz, a pot of chai tea, and your calendar.

You may even get in the mood by creating your own version of Wanderlust 108: run, yoga, meditate. You’ll feel invigorated after hitting the pavement. Open after you’ve flowed. Clear minded after sitting on your cushion.

Take a step back before getting ahead.

You’re excited to put down on paper a long list of goals that make you feel good now but burnt out by mid-February. So we’re not going to do it as you normally would in 2019, ok?

Before you look ahead, root your feet firmly into the floor, sit up straight, and acknowledge where you are right now. You are not behind by any means. You’re where you are and that’s the only place you can start from—don’t waste time wishing you were somewhere else on your life path. From there, take a few steps back. A lot has happened in 2018. Take time to celebrate what was in order to create what will be.

Complete this short and powerful review to see what truly mattered. Answer these questions to guide you:

  1. What are you most proud of having experienced, learned, contributed, accomplished, started, or stopped in 2018?
  2. What have been your most memorable moments this year? Note at least 3–7.
  3. Who has made the biggest impact on your life and why? Cap this to 3–5 people.
  4. What would your best friend celebrate about who you have been and what you have done in 2018?

Resist the urge to rush through this exercise. Slow down even more. Review your answers. Let them sink in. Smile. Laugh. And if tears come, let them. Chances are they are simply a sea of gratitude. Surf them.

Lean into the future.

With your heart full and your soul calm it’s time to lean into the future. To do this, imagine yourself one year from now or at the end of 2019. Ask yourself:

  1. What will you be most proud of having experienced, learned, contributed, accomplished, started, or stopped in 2019?
  2. What memorable moments will you have created?
  3. Who will be part of your soul tribe?
  4. What will you be celebrating about who you have become?

Capture anything and everything that comes up. Make a list of all the ideas, goals, and projects that you want to focus on. I often have clients write down their Top 25 list. Write yours. Then do this next muy importante step: choose your top three items. Not five, not 10, three. Max.

Create Your “Absolutely Do NOT Touch List.”

The three items selected become your core priorities. What remains becomes your “Absolutely Do NOT Touch List.” Give yourself permission to devote yourself fully to your top priorities. Play full out for these to become a reality and bench the others till it’s their turn to play. If FOMO tries to creep in, kick it out in order to experience the magic that comes from channeling your time, energy, and love on what matters most.

Here’s the secret: When you focus on core priorities and let go of the rest, you actually end up accomplishing more than if you were to try to do it all at once. If you don’t believe me, I dare you to try it and prove me wrong.

Reverse engineer.

Now that you’ve chosen your top priorities, it’s time to reverse engineer. Start with the end in mind and work backwards till you arrive at today.

  1. Get crystal clear about what you want.
  2. Put all the details down on paper.
  3. Identify key milestones along the way.
    Break these down into actionable steps.
  4. Break these down even further until you identify core habits that you will practice daily, weekly, monthly in order to become the person who realizes their goals in a graceful manner. Remember, the little things become the big things in life.
  5. Add to your calendar dates when these will be completed. Block off time for celebration.
  6. Set the date for when you’ll review and tune this plan. I recommend a monthly check-in and at the very least a seasonal review. You can even match your review dates with appointments you’ve set with your mechanic. If you’re tuning your car more than yourself, alignment will be off.
  7. Start today. In fact, if your priorities don’t create an immediate shift within you, then these aren’t goals of the soul. Immediate shifts are like sparks that light up the highest version of ourselves. If you feel both excited and terrified right now, you’re in a good spot.

Be present.

Now that you have your simplified and actionable plan, you begin. No matter how small the action, take it. Don’t wait for 2019 to come around to start creating the life you dream of. Because this is the dream. Let 2018 flow into the new year as smoothly as that peppermint mixes into that mocha.

Plan a sample of your ideal day.

We all have to work—and it’s true that not everyday can be full of only the activities that light your soul on fire. But that doesn’t have to be a roadblock. Instead, plan out your ideal weekend day, and then adapt it to days in which you may have ore rigid time constraints. I invite you to adapt this sample to represent what your ideal weekend day in 2019 would look like. Doing it now is an opportunity to put it into practice and train yourself to BE who you want to be. DO what you want to do. Focus on what’s important to you. Most of all, enjoy the process. Because at the end of the day, the journey is the destination.

6am: Wake up. Don’t snooze.
6:30am–7am: Meditate.
7am–8am: Hydrate with water, enjoy a cup of java and a light breakfast.
8:30am–9:30am: Time in nature. A brisk walk in the park or in your favorite hood.
10am–11:30am: Yoga class from home or at your favorite studio
12pm–1pm: Healthy lunch made with love. Eaten slowly. Enjoyed thoroughly.
1pm–4pm: Time to work through these action steps.
4pm–4:20pm: Power nap to integrate and restore.
4:20pm–5pm: Review what you’ve created. Identify your FIRST step. Take it. Celebrate it.
5pm–7pm: Date with someone you love and who supports you to share with them what you’ve created. Green juice or vino, is up to you.

For additional tools to support your journey, listen to the Inspired & Empowered Podcast where I interview rad humans and offer lifestyle design and coaching tools along the way. I may be biased, but it’s truly awesome!

Melissa Colleret is a life coach, speaker, and yoga instructor based in Montreal. Sharing her mission to make you come alive and live your best life keeps this passionate entrepreneur on her toes. From 1:1 sessions, online workshops, cleanse programs, and yoga classes, Melissa wakes up every day wanting to inspire and empower.