How to Plan Your Year Ahead: An Approachable Guide


As we step into the new year, it's a great time to reflect on the past year and plan ahead for the future. Whether you enjoy setting goals or prefer taking a more gentle approach, the key is to be intentional about how you want to spend your time and energy in a way that’s authentic to you. We acknowledge that big reviews like this can be difficult for some folks, so we want to empower you to do what works best for you. Take what resonates and leave the rest!

Let’s explore a few practical strategies for planning your year ahead, including some of our personal favourites.

1 | Review The Previous Year

The beginning of a new year is a great time to take a step back and reflect. You can do this mentally or by jotting down some notes - do whatever feels right for you. Take a moment to think about what you've learned and what lessons you can sow from your experiences. Did anything significant happen? If something didn’t go as planned, how did it turn out? Did it turn out better or not so great? Take a moment to ponder to tease out some themes and learnings.

A helpful tool that Scout’s Owner and Founder Leah loves, is the free website Year Compass which asks you a set of carefully selected questions and exercises to help you uncover your patterns and plan the ideal year for yourself. It’s a great guide for those who enjoy a framework to follow.


2  | Create A NOT-To-Do List

Instead of creating a traditional to-do list, making a NOT-to-do list can help you be more intentional with your choices while taking some of the pressure off. A not-to-do list outlines all the things you'll no longer do if they deplete your energy or don't make you feel good. For example, maybe you've realized that you spend too much time scrolling through social media, which leaves you feeling “blah”. Or perhaps you’ve realized you say “yes” to things that you regret in the future.

Creating a NOT-to-do list can be an effective way to prioritize your time and energy without the feeling of HAVING to do something.


3 | Assign A Word-Of-The-Year for Yourself 

Another approach to planning your year that I personally love is assigning a word of the year for yourself. This can be a great alternative if you, like me, don't resonate with aggressive goal-setting and productivity. A word-of-the-year can act as a guiding north star that aligns with your goals and values, while providing focus and direction for the upcoming months. When choosing your word, consider using your experiences from the previous year as a guide. Reflect on what you've learned and how you can implement those teachings in ways that are productive and helpful to you.

For a little extra support, try using a guided deck that offers the option to pull a daily card with a word or phrase to ponder. You can explore our collection of guided decks here that will hopefully serve as the perfect little companion to your ritual.


4 | Enlist A Guided Journal for Guidance

Using a guided journal can be a great way to excavate your intentions and goals in a thoughtful and creative way. It can provide structure and direction as you reflect on your past experiences so you can make the most of them as you move into a new phase of your life.

One of our current favourites at the store is "You Already Have the Answers" by Amanda Deibert. It includes 365 questions that invite you to reflect on a question a day to uncover your greatest strengths. Each month is curated around a different theme and aims to help you discover how much you already know, and how much you already have to be grateful for.

A guided journal like this one can help you build a deeper relationship with yourself and your strengths. Not only that, you’ll have a lovely keepsake that you’ll be able to look back on in the years to come!


5 | Schedule Your Calendar Ahead of Time 

Something I personally love doing is blocking off time in my calendar that's dedicated to what I want to focus on. It’s an easy way to make sure you're making time for the things that matter most to you. Whether it's more time with loved ones, starting a new hobby, or working on a personal project, you deserve to spend time on the things that will make you feel most fulfilled!

Tools like Google Calendar, Outlook, or any other calendar app that provide different views, such as daily, weekly, or monthly will work great. This is an easy and powerful way to take control of your schedule and literally block off time for the things that you want to focus on.



Planning your year can help you in achieving your goals and living a fulfilling life. We hope our guide serves as a reminder that there’s no “one size fits all” method and that the #productivity side of social media can sometimes leave us feeling like we’re not doing enough.

No matter how you do it, it should feel right to you. Planning is a continuous process and your path will wind and turn as the year goes on. We hope the year ahead is good to you and that you remember to give yourself a TON of compassion and grace. Happy new year!

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