Planning for Your Best Year Ever

Business woman celebrating her best year ever

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With 2018 drawing to an close, you’ve likely been thinking ahead to next year. But before you begin developing your marketing plan for 2019, let’s pause to review and celebrate the last 12 months! You’ve probably accomplished a lot, even if some days it doesn’t feel like it.

Your Year-End Review

If you have a formal business plan, hopefully you’ve been following it throughout the year, but if it’s just been sitting in a file or on a shelf somewhere, take it out and dust it off. Even if you started the year with just a few goals or ideas scribbled on a piece of paper, dig them out, or at least try to remember what they were.

Because each business and each individual is unique, there is no single standard of measurement of success, and the only way to assess your accomplishments during the year is to look at where you are now in comparison with where you had aspired to be at this time.

Even if you didn’t make any specific goals for the year, you can list all the ways you’ve grown and improved since the beginning of the year.

As you make your list, think about the following areas of your personal and professional life, as well as any others you consider important:

  • Family and Relationships
  • Finances
  • Reputation
  • Audience Reach
  • Charity and Volunteer Work
  • Business Vision
  • Spirituality

I’ve created a form you may find useful as you’re completing the exercise. You can access it here.

Consider your answers to the following questions:

1. What have I achieved this year?

Did you reach or surpass your goals? Did you accomplish something you didn’t expect?

2. What worked well?

Who were your most profitable clients? How did they find you – or how did you find them? This information will help you determine where to focus your marketing efforts.

3. What didn’t work? What can be improved?

If you fell short of your goals in certain areas, see if you can determine why. Was the goal unrealistic? Were there unforeseen circumstances? What would have had to be different for things to have gone the way you planned?

4. What do I want to achieve by the end of next year?

What’s important to you? More clients? More speaking opportunities? More income? More free time?

If you’re a long range thinker, this exercise may be easy, but even if you’re not, I strongly encourage you to take a pen and paper and write down your thoughts. According to the Law of Attraction, the simple act of writing down your goals actually sets things in motion. I’ve actually experienced this myself!

One time when I was doing this exercise, I discovered that many of the things I’d been looking forward to at the beginning of the year had come about, even though I didn’t consciously try to make them happen. How much more could you accomplish if you really set your mind to it?

5. What do I need to help me reach my goals for next year?

Do you have the skills and resources you need? Should you take any courses or read particular books? Would it help you to work with a business coach?

It’s important that you set aside time in your schedule for activities that will bring you closer to reaching your goals. Would outsourcing website maintenance or other tasks free up time for you to do so?

By taking time to do this review before the end of the year, you’ll arm yourself with a plan, the motivation to carry it through, and increased potential for success in the new year.

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Casual Photo of Janet Barclay

Janet Barclay

I eliminate stress for my clients by hosting, monitoring, and maintaining their WordPress sites so they don’t have to worry about security, downtime or performance issues. When I’m away from my desk, I enjoy reading, photography, cooking, watching movies, drinking tea, and spending time with my family.

Join the Conversation!


  1. Seana Turner on December 17, 2018 at 12:22 pm

    I’m not great about conducting this review at the end of the calendar year as it tends to be a very busy time. However, I love this list of questions, and I find I pull them out when I hit a “business lull.” It is never the wrong time to be reviewing, planning and visioning!

    • Janet Barclay on December 18, 2018 at 12:30 pm

      You’re absolutely right! I’m constantly fine tuning my business processes, and if I waited to do everything at once, it would be much too big a job, year end or not.

  2. Sabrina Quairoli on December 24, 2018 at 8:28 am

    Great reminder, Janet. I like to revisit these goals throughout the year, at least every six months. It helps me remember what I am focusing on. Some of my goals were achieved and others were not this year. Oh well. I will be starting again in January for the new year. Happy new year to you.

    • Janet Barclay on December 24, 2018 at 1:20 pm

      Happy new year to you too, Sabrina! I wish you much success in achieving your goals.

  3. Linda Samuels on December 24, 2018 at 9:00 am

    I’ve experienced the power of writing goals, wishes, and hopes down on paper. The first time I did this with intention was decades ago and was amazed how the simple (or not so simple) act of writing put these things in motion. A year later, much of what I’d written came to be.

    I love the questions you’ve suggested. Taking the time to do some planning, goal setting, future thinking, or whatever you want to call it, is valuable. Thank you for the reminder to make time to color the New Year with positive intentions.

    • Janet Barclay on December 24, 2018 at 1:26 pm

      Linda, I’m curious. Do you think the exercise would be less effective if the goals were typed instead of handwritten? It seems that the act of writing would help to form more of a connection between the person and his or her goals.

  4. Linda Samuels on December 30, 2019 at 8:21 am

    Thank you for these wonderful questions and reminders. It’s always valuable to do some reflecting, pausing, and future thinking. And this time more than most is one of the best times of year to do that.

    I notice that this year I’m feeling a bit more behind than usual with this process. It’s been a whirlwind of holiday gatherings and events, along with getting the new website up and running. I’m looking forward to some breathing and thinking time as 2020 begins.

    Wishing you and your family a happy and healthy New Year!

    • Janet Barclay on December 31, 2019 at 12:27 pm

      I agree that year end isn’t always the best time for these activities, with so much else going on. Hopefully you’ll be able to carve out time to make sure you’re on track with your goals. I’m sure you will!

  5. Janet Schiesl on December 30, 2019 at 9:08 am

    Asking myself these questions lately. I’m going to a business planning retreat next week. I chose to work on my business in 2019 and want to focus on my personal life in 2020 – health, exercise, social, relationships. I have the begins of a plan and some structure to make this happen, but will work on it next week. Happy New Year.

  6. Janet Barclay on December 31, 2019 at 12:29 pm

    That’s so exciting, Janet! You totally deserve it – happy new year!

  7. Nancy Haworth on December 31, 2019 at 3:02 pm

    Thanks for these wonderful tips! A year-end review can really help you see what you’ve accomplished, and assist in making goals for the year ahead. I agree that writing down goals sets things in motion. I plan to get out a notebook this week and write down my 2020 goals. Happy New Year!

    • Janet Barclay on January 1, 2020 at 1:02 pm

      I hope you enjoy the process! I’ve found that enjoying the process leads to better clarity as to what I want and don’t want going forward than if I have to struggle with it, so it’s worth it to try different tools and tactics.

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