This year has gone lightning fast and suddenly it’s December. I don’t know why this surprises us every year but I somehow never feel prepared and ready for a New Year.

I’ve been trying to get more organised and one of things I’m trying to do is get ready for the New Year as efficiently as possible. I don’t want to be dropped in January 2020 not knowing what the hell I’m meant to be doing, recovering from a chocolate coma-induced haze. I want to prepare stuff right now before the craziness of Christmas kicks in.

If you’re like me and are looking to get organised, either for your business or your personal life, this post is for you.

Reflect and learn

This time of year is the perfect time to do some good ol’ reflecting. Whatever the year has brought you (it’s been all ups and downs for me) there is plenty to learn from. If you’ve been through hell and back, well done for surviving it all! Now is the time for a fresh start.

What could you have done differently this year?

This question is important, not to torture yourself, but to learn from. There is bound to be something else you could have done but rather than beat yourself up over it, apply that lesson to the New Year. You may have missed an opportunity this year, make sure you grab it again next year.

Get smart about money

I’m a financial writer most of the time, so this is top of my list as always. Money is a difficult topic to address because everyone is completely different. It’s all very well saying “2020 should be the year you invest in the stock market” but it’s just not possible for everyone.

Rather than blanket statements, there are a few general areas you should think about for the new year.

  • Protecting your future – Saving for an emergency fund, pension pot, house deposit
  • Dealing with debt – What can you do to make clearing debt a priority in the New Year?
  • Building wealth – This could be through investing, growing a business, improving your salary by finally getting that pay rise
  • Budgeting – What are you overspending on? Where can you make cut backs and where does it make sense to move that money to?

You might want to pick one or two areas to focus on for the next year, which will depend on where you are financially. It’s easy to say you’ll do all of the above, but don’t stretch yourself and your cash too thin. Baby steps, guys.

Growing your business

If you don’t have a business, feel free to skip this part. If you do, now is a perfect time to get planning ahead for your business’ next year in operation.

What can you do this year to increase your profits? Will you start outsourcing or grow your team? Will you offer something different to expand on your products/services?

Try to break down your business goals into actionable steps. Make sure you have an idea of what you want to achieve each month in terms of profits, marketing and brand awareness. Then feel free to create larger goals for each quarter which all your little goals will be working up to.

Organise your digital paperwork

Got a Google Drive that’s getting out of control? Can you never find the document you’re looking for. Perhaps it’s time for an early spring clean of all your documents. If you deal with paper, invest in a document management system like a filing cabinet.

If you deal in the digital world, it’s time to sort out those messy folders. Make sure you get things all in order into relevant folders which are easy to navigate. Keep finances, marketing, client work and other stuff separate. Get rid of or collate notes and keep them safe so there’s less clutter to wade through.

When it comes to finances, make sure you’ve got an efficient bookkeeping system. Cloud based software is the way to go if you want to keep everything accessible, safe and in one place.

Commit to a new healthy habit

If you are a regular gym-goer, you know that all gyms become little pockets of hell in January. One of the most common New Year’s resolutions is to lose weight or get fit and that means everyone piles into the local gym, only to drop off by around March in a lot of cases.

Don’t be one of those who drop out. Try to commit to a new healthy habit in 2020.

This could be:

  • Getting fit – By joining a gym, taking a class, joining a martial arts class or doing yoga at home
  • Create a strictly healthy diet – Our bodies are crying out for some vegetables after we’ve piled on several tonnes of cake, chocolate and festive biscuits. Give your body some relief with a new healthy diet
  • Try a new hobby – Learn a new language, pick up an instrument, learn how to code, play chess, start hiking
  • Give your brain some care – Start regularly writing in a journal or start therapy to work through any issues
  • Commit to waking up earlier – 5AM wakeups aren’t for everyone but you can achieve a lot more in the day if you get up early.

Cut out what wasn’t working for you

The New Year isn’t just about taking up new things. Sometimes, you need to start with a clean slate and that means cutting some things out that weren’t working for you last year.

  • Cut out a bad habit – Try giving up smoking, drinking, drugs, your pizza habit or hanging around with toxic people
  • Streamline your business – Cut out a service/area of the business which isn’t turning a profit or you’re not passionate about
  • Start de-cluttering – De-clutter your home, office or digital files.

How to set effective goals to get ready for the new year

It’s a good idea to have a general goal or a few for the year, but the best way to go about goal setting is to get ultra specific.

“Make more money in 2020” just doesn’t cut it sorry.

Instead, make a list of everything you want to achieve next year with your business, try to be specific with facts and figures where possible. Next split that up into quarters. Give each quarter a big goal and split that into smaller steps to achieve that goal. Expand that into monthly goals and then if you can, break that down further into little habits and goals for each week.

What can you do every day to achieve your goal of growing your business by 50% by the end of the year?

Some people do this with mobile apps, Bullet Journals, but others use Excel. Whichever you use, make sure you’re regularly checking back and holding yourself accountable for all your plans. If you’re anything like me, it’s all very well designing a fancy new spreadsheet but if you forget to look at it, then it’s a waste of time really.

Over to you – Are you ready for a new year?

I really hope this has helped spark a few ideas for the new year ahead. It’s a great opportunity for a fresh start. So, wipe the slate clean, try something new and don’t be afraid to walk away from something that just doesn’t work for you. This year is yours.

Read More: 5 Things to Do Before Taking a Christmas Break as a Freelancer

I’d love to hear what others are planning for the year ahead. Are you focusing on planning your business or are you taking this time to make your own personal New Year goals? Please leave us a comment below to share your story on how you get ready for a new year.