By December 27, 2021

5 Ways to Plan Your 2022

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a living human alive in the 2020's, must be in want of a better year to come.

Let's face it.

This decade didn't begin with the greatest of 366 days. I mean, we had Murder Hornets buzzing around the planet for goodness sakes!

Also, that teeny tiny global pandemic COVID thing that kinda threw off life as we know it, and continues its reign of epidemiological terror.

But if there's one thing we believe firmly here at Simple Programmer, it is that we need to break down complex issues into simple solutions, and focus on the things we have control over.

Though programmers might be able to help end (or at least monitor) the virus spread, there are few things we can really do on a massive level.

That doesn't mean that things are a total wash!

Below are 5 easy ways to help plan out some goals and projections for 2022, to help you get back a little of what might have been lost in the past 24 months.

But before we start that, it's important to take a quick moment to reflect on where we are, to help figure out where we want to go.

Taking Stock of Where You're At

When we sit down to set goals and make plans, it can feel like you are being tugged back to make time for assessing your past and current situation.

To that I ask, how will you know what you need to work on if you don't know where you are starting from?

Set aside 30 minutes to determine how satisfied you are currently in these 10 categories, ranking them on a scale from 1-10 (10 being elated and nothing needs to change.)

  1. Money/Finances – Are you bringing in the amount of money you want? How is your savings? What big purchases have you made recently? Where are you with debt?
  2. Career/Business – Is this the work you want to be doing? What did you used to picture yourself doing, when you were younger? What has changed recently in your tasks and role at work?
  3. Health/Fitness – Do you feel healthy? What is your current health routine? Do you eat in a way that nourishes you and makes you happy? Are you comfortable with your physical appearance? What do you do to move your body?
  4. Recreation – What are you favourite hobbies? When you have spare time, how do you spend it? Where have you traveled or explored?
  5. Surroundings/Environment – Where do you currently live, geographically? What is you living situation? How cluttered or clean is your home? Are there any stressors or toxic issues around you?
  6. Mental/Spiritual – Do you have a belief system? What kind of self-care activities do you regularly partake in? How do you find fulfillment outside yourself? What is your relationship with mental health and wellness?
  7. Family – Who is your family, whether biological or chosen? What is your relationship with them? How often are you in touch? Do they add to or subtract from your life in a meaningful way?
  8. Friends – Who would you consider your closest friends? How often are you in touch with them? What about friends that are not your closest, but still friends you value. Where is your community?
  9. Partner/Relationship – Are you in a relationship, or do you have a partner? How do you feel about that? What do you bring to the relationship? What do they bring to the relationship?
  10. Learning/Growth – What new things have you learned in the past year? Have you studied or learned anything that could help with your career or professional growth? What new things have you tried for fun?What sources do you go to for information and advice?

Now that you have a solid understanding of where you are in terms of satisfaction and happiness (or things to work on) in your current life situation, we have a place to start from!

Pareto Those Goals

The next step here is going to be to take those same 10 categories, and spend another 30 minutes listing out the things you'd like to change or add in 2022 to bring your satisfaction levels closer to a 10.

There are no right or wrong answers here. Instead, brain dump as much as you can into each bucket during this time.

No worries, I'll wait.

goes off to make cookie dough while you are compiling your lists, because who doesn't want a nice chocolate chip cookie to munch on while assessing all the things you want but don't have (yet) in life?

Now that you have this massive list of changes or additions to make in 2022, we're going to have to make some tough choices.

Lots of tough choices.

You need to cut that list down by 80%, so you can focus on the Top 20% of changes and additions you want to make in 2022.

See, I told you that you were going to want a cookie for doing this.

This is a simple list-making way to help you decide what your priorities need to be in the upcoming year. Because once you have that big huge list, one of two things will happen.

  • You will be overwhelmed AF, and you won't know where to start, so you'll crumple up the list and walk away – frustrated and deflated.
  • You will somehow think that you can tackle all the things on the list in 2022, which will end with you accomplishing few to none of the things because you are only a human and that comes with human life limitations.

Now that we have the Top 20% of changes and additions to make in 2022, we're going to be SMART with our goals.

The New SMART Goal

For years we've been taught about SMART goal-setting.

To achieve a goal, it must be Specific-Measurable-Achievable-Relevant-Time Bound.

Which is great for things like KPIs and business productivity.

But there's a serious flaw in SMART goals that James Clear points out in his book Atomic Habits.

When we focus on one specific measured relevant time-bound goal that we want to achieve, we are focused on the goal not the process.

What happens after we hit that goal though?

If you want to run a marathon in 2022, that's a fantastic goal!

What will you do the day after? The week after? Months after that?

Have you set a goal to achieve, or set yourself up for a habit that will change your life?

When looking at your 20% prioritized list of changes to make, rather than setting them to a specific goal, write down the habit you'd like to create in 2022 that will help you to make that change.

Now you can get a little more specific and measurable, by listing out 3-5 actionable steps you can take to create this habit in your life.

Going with the “Run a Marathon” example above, it might look something like this:

  • Health/Fitness Satisfaction: 5
  • Habit: Start Running More Regularly
  • Steps: #1 Create time 3 times a week to start running in Q1
  • Steps: #2 Register for October 2022 marathon date
  • Steps: #3 Buy new running kit in Q2
  • Steps: #4 Create time 5 times a week to run in Q2
  • Steps: #5 Find next race or running group to join after marathon

The SMART goals come after the habit, so they are steps on the way to building your habit. Not the focus of the change you want to make.

With the overwhelm of a massive list of changes to make, you might also have the overwhelm of trying to accomplish it all in one year.

A Year Has Quarters for a Reason

You might have noticed in the steps I created to run a marathon, I used Q1 and Q2 (Quarter 1 and Quarter 2.)

The reason for this is that you are going to break your 2022 up into 90 day sprints of focus and activity.

Rather than looking at a whole year for working toward change (which, if you are anything like most of humanity, will leave you to procrastinate a year's worth of achievement into 6 weeks or less of drive at the end) you're going to eat this elephant in smaller chunks.

Not only should you plan out those steps and tasks in 90 days, but you should set aside time at the end of every 90 days to review and recalibrate.

If you haven't consistently run 3 times a week in Q1, it will be difficult to pop that up to consistently running 5 times a week in Q2; especially if you are going from “all my time on the couch watching Netflix” to “the next Usain Bolt.”

Make space to not only build your habit, but to make changes as needed to keep the habit going.

Do What Works For You

This is a system that breaks down a big daunting task (planning changes for a whole year) into some smaller bite-sized chunks that will help you to hit your goals and build habits that will last a lifetime.

But there may be parts that don't work for you.

Or pieces that you disagree with.

Or sections that you'd rather do a completely different way.

And that's the beauty of you making your own plans for 2022.

You have to do what works for you.

The more you try to jam your square-pegged self into the circle of life, the more you are going to cut at your edges and splinter from the sides.

Take this system, and adapt it to make it your own.

Who knows what you might achieve in the year to come?

Can't wait to see what you've got!

About the author

Elisa Doucette

Elisa is the Managing Editor for Simple Programmer. She spends most of her time working with John, SP writers, and her editorial team to provide the best content out there for programmers who want to make the complex simple. When she's not shuffling cards on the Trello boards, she is in a cafe writing, curled up in a leather chair reading, or jumping on a plane to destinations unknown. You can find more of her editing and writing work at her agency, Craft Your Content, or sharing a ton of great articles on Twitter @elisadoucette.