Plan Your Best Year Ever {Setting Up Your Planning Day for Year Long Success!}

Ready to set your year up for success from the beginning? Plan your best year yet with a planning day to organize your entire year with these 9 tasks. Setting aside time now will make a big impact on what you accomplish this year!

Ready to set your year up for success from the beginning? Plan your best year yet with a planning day to organize your entire year with these 9 tasks. Setting aside time now will make a big impact on what you accomplish this year!

A few years ago, I shared a photo of me setting up for my planning day, one of the favorite days of the year. A day where I sit down with my planner, my Bible, my notebook and other planning tools, and start to draft a plan for the year.


After several comments wanting to know what this day specifically looked like for me, I knew it was time to write a post about how I create an intentional plan for the year.

It’s not always perfect, but those few hours where I sit down and reflect on the previous year and think through the goals I want to work towards, have a great impact.

Also, it should be noted that this planning day can happen at any time of year, not just in the days leading up to the New Year.

You can sit down, map out goals and create a plan ANY TIME OF YEAR!

No matter what day you are reading this, TODAY is your fresh start!

Plan Your Best Year Ever

How to Schedule a Planning Day

It really is important to have a few hours of uninterrupted time but I’m fully aware of the realities of having small children or other scheduling conflicts.

Sometimes having hours set aside isn’t possible.

I am lucky to have eager grandmothers nearby who LOVE spending time with their grandchildren, so I use them.

If you have family nearby, ask them if they would be available to come to spend time with the children for a few hours. Or arrange a time with your husband where he could be with them while you get-away.

Another idea is to swap time with a friend. Have her take your kids for a morning and then reciprocate and take her children.

If it’s just not possible, then try to build in a few chunks of time into your routine.

For example, perhaps you wake up an hour earlier for a week to give yourself some planning time. Or implement a mandatory quiet time/nap time every afternoon.

Be creative!

While ideal, you certainly don’t have to do all of your planning in one day, you can break it up over a few days.

Supplies You Need

You will need a few basic supplies to get you started, so here is a glimpse at what I use:

Bible book basket

favorite planner

notebook or journal

Val Marie Prayer Journal


CHK Seasonal Meal Planner

Seasonal Planning Printables from Your Intentional Holiday Toolkit

favorite pens, markers, stickers or accessories

 Ready to set your year up for success from the beginning? Plan your best year yet with a planning day to organize your entire year with these 9 tasks. Setting aside time now will make a big impact on what you accomplish this year!

Plan Your Best Year Ever Part One: Intentional Planning

My planning day is broken up into two parts: Intentional Planning & Practical Planning.

Intentional Planning is the first part because it lays the foundation for what is truly important and Practical Planning is just that… all of the practical things to manage your home and everyday life.

Start with Prayer

First things first, it’s always important to begin your planning time with God.

In prayer, I ask for His guidance, for my eyes and heart to be open to seeing and doing what He wants me to do.

It’s tempting to skip to this step but don’t!

We can make all the plans in the world but when we submit our ways to His, and allow Him to lead and guide us, amazing peace feels us.

It’s not always easy, especially when God has very different plans than what we might think are good, but ultimately His plans are better.

I spend some time in prayer, journaling and reading from my Bible. I also flip back through my Prayer Journal from the year to see what prayers have been answered (and praise HIM!) and what prayers are still a work in progress.

This is where having a Bible book basket comes in handy. All of my current devotional and study materials are in one place so I’m not searching for my journal or Bible, it’s all right there!

Looking to dig deeper before setting new goals for the year?

This is a GREAT 5-day Bible reading plan to help set the stage.

Reflect Over the Previous Year

After I spend some time in prayer, I reflect over what the year thinking about what worked, what didn’t, and other important questions.

This list of reflective questions is a great place to start!

I don’t go through every single one, but they help me really think through my accomplishments, successes, failures, areas of work and what could still use some attention.

Understand Your Mission

Before I head into laying out goals and plans for the year, I review my priorities and mission statement.

This is such a crucial step…. DO NOT SKIP IT!

When we know what our priorities are — the things that matter most — we know without certain where our focus and heart should be.

Having a personal mission statement is such a great idea too!

It’s a statement that transforms our priorities and allows us to take action. Every year as season’s of life change, it’s a good idea to review and evaluate our mission statement and priorities.

Set Grace-Filled Goals

This is the step that takes the longest because this is where the action happens… setting Goals with Grace.

Why grace-filled goals?

Because life is messy, unpredictable and seasons of change take place without notice.

When we follow a grace-filled approach, we surrender our plans to God and let Him take control.

Goals with Grace is also about creating goals based on our priorities.

Most of the time when we fail to achieve our goals it is usually because they have nothing to do with what matters most. They are just a glorified and unrealistic to-do list.

When we change our mindset and focus on those priorities, we create goals that matter.

I usually spend about 30 minutes to an hour creating one or two goals for each priority of mine. This usually results in no more than 6-8 Goals with Grace per year.

You don’t want to set too many goals that you can’t accomplish anything so limiting yourself to a few simple goals will allow you to be successful.

Some even only set one goal for one priority and work on that one before setting anymore.

Create a goal setting plan that works for YOU.

After years of goal setting failure, I now use and love Powersheets to set Goals with Grace

Want to set goals that actually matter and create a realistic action plan to help you actually accomplish them?

Powersheets is the resource you need! A complete, grace-filled goal planning system that works!

Set Up Your Planner

After I have an outline of goals, then I move to making an action plan with my planner.

Along with filling out dates, birthdays, pre-made appointments and other reminders, I also write reminders and completion dates for my goals as well.

It’s easy to set goals but if don’t create a plan of action for how you will complete them, they won’t happen!

Monthly, weekly or daily... are you picking the right planner for your planning needs? There are pros and cons to all the different formats making it crucial to understand how you prefer to plan and use your planner. Come learn how to pick the right planner for you!

My planner is what I affectionally refer to as my 2nd brain because if I don’t write it down, then I will forget — thanks to Mommy Brain!

I use my planner to outline my day, write reminders and notes, outline my goals, and to record all the dates.

To really get into the specific, nitty-gritty way I set up my planner, check out these posts:

4 Things to Include When Setting Up Your New Planner

Intentional Planning: Setting Up Your Planner for Success All Year Long

And if you aren’t sure what type of planner to use, check out Picking the Right Planner for Intentional Planning {Monthly, Weekly or Daily}

Plan Your Best Year Ever Part Two: Practical Planning

Intentional Meal Planning

The biggest homemaking headache for me is planning meals for my family. It’s important because we have to eat but sometimes it can seem overwhelming!

That’s why I created the CHK Seasonal Meal Planner because it allows me to easily plan meals, or reuse old meal plans.

CHK Seasonal Meal Planner

I meal plan one month at a time, but I always refer to previous month’s meal plans when planning. Why reinvent the wheel?

If it worked in the past and your family loves those meals, then keep making them!

I don’t plan for 30 or 31 meals, instead, I only plan for 20 or 25.

This leaves room for nights where we have dinner out, leftovers or for when those unexpected nights come up.

We also make sure we eat what we already have before going out and buying new groceries, which is why having a pantry and freezer inventory so helpful.

During my planning day, I create a simple meal plan for the month ahead, planning for all meals and snacks. I then create a master grocery list of items we need. Taking the time to do this now saves so much time throughout the week!

I keep both my meal plan and master shopping list in my meal planner in my kitchen. I can easily refer to them throughout the week.

Create a Homemaking Routine that Works

I’m not going to lie, homemaking is hard for me. I’m emotionally allergic to cleaning 😉 but the house won’t naturally clean itself!

Reviewing some simple routines and creating some sort of cleaning schedule is really important. It will help your home remain in order and keep your sanity.

Looking for printable daily routines or a weekly cleaning checklist?

Check out our CHK Resource Library!

CHK Resource Library[convertkit form=923724]

Monthly Cleaning Checklist Printable

It’s also a good idea to create a list of home maintenance projects that only occur monthly or annually.

A Project List

You know that never-ending list of items taking up residence in your brain?

Write them down!

Create a master list of projects that need to be completed.

Write down any areas of your home that need to be decluttered or deep cleaned, items to organize or purge, photo books to create or update, craft projects you want to accomplish, home repairs or DIY projects or anything else that is floating around in your brain.

In the back of my planner, I create a master list of these projects.

Getting them out of head onto paper helps free up the mental space.

As time allows, I will pick a project to focus on. They don’t always get finished in a years time, but having a running list is super helpful.

Traditions & Seasonal Planning 

Coming out of the holidays makes it feel strange to start planning for a new year of holidays but I believe it also gives you a unique perspective to begin thinking through family traditions for the New Year.

With Christmas fresh in your mind, reflect on how the holiday season went… what went well, what you want to change for next year.

I find it helpful to write this down so you can remember your post-holiday thoughts later in the year as you begin to plan for the holidays.

Then, I print out the winter planning worksheets found in the Your Intentional Holiday Toolkit. This helps think through and plan for the upcoming special days, birthdays, and holidays.

This is especially helpful to get an idea of when the Lent season begins in late February and to start planning for Easter.

Pick Good Books to Read

Finally, the last thing I do during my planning day is to create a reading list of books I would like to read during the year.

First I look at my own bookshelves and pick out the books I already own and organize them together so I can easily find them.

Next, I look at any of the books I have saved on my Amazon Wish List or that I have marked as Want to Read on Goodreads (anytime I come across a book recommendation of something I want to read, I simply save it to my wishlist).

I always check to see if my library has that book available or it is available to download on Scribd or Kindle Unlimited first before I make plans to purchase.

Looking for resources to start the new year off on the right foot? Check out this list of must-read books to get you ready for the New Year with intention and purpose!

I go ahead and reserve any books in the library that have a long waitlist.

My library also has a handy online feature where I can place books I want to read in a “For Later” list so I can mark them that my library has them but can check out later when I’m ready to read them.

Check to see if your library has an app and if it does, download it and take advantage of it!

This year I’m keeping track of my books on GoodReads, as well as using the printable guide from Intentional By Grace and Everyday Reading (seriously, this printable is just too cute!)

Don’t forget to create a reading list of books for your whole family too!

Do you and your husband like to read books together? Do you read aloud to your children? Write down some book titles to read with your family as well and discuss them with your spouse.


Whew! It’s quite a planning day I have but it is so effective for planning an intentional year.

At the end of each month, I set aside about 30 minutes to review, reflect and plan for the month ahead to make sure I’m working towards my goals and areas our family needs to work on.

I also do a mid-year evaluation halfway through the year to review my priorities, goals, and planner.

My Powersheets has monthly and quartely reflections built in so I never forget!

Taking the time to intentionally create a plan for the year may take some time but the results speak for themselves. Goals get accomplished, dates are not missed and our home runs so much smoother!

Do you have a planning day? What does your day look like? 

Ready to set your year up for success from the beginning? Plan your best year yet with a planning day to organize your entire year with these 9 tasks. Setting aside time now will make a big impact on what you accomplish this year!

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  1. Hi, Victoria! Merry Christmas to you and your family! I am so ready to start the new year with new goals and focus. Setting up my reading schedule using your guide as a starting point. (Already have a list of books longer than I could ever dream of reading in a year, so I’ll be learning about prioritizing my list and my time, too!)
    Hey, I wonder if you could offer a “printable” version of this article? (text only, sans photos/ads? ) I’d like to keep it in my notebook. The how to plan for reading article would be great in this format, too!
    Thank you for all the encouragement and inspiration! Please keep up the good work! Blessings in 2018!

  2. With the new year just around the corner, I am so very glad to have found your blog post about planning. I am a very clumsy planer and never go according to my goals, but this year I am very determined to set goals and accomplish them.
    Thank you for sharing and a Happy new year, Victoria! All the love from Nepal xoxo

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