Ready for goals“This is my favorite week of the year, Little Sharks. As you reflect on the year past. don’t forget to plan (not WISH) for the year to come.” — Kelley Sue DeConnick

Almost there. In less than 24 hours, 2015 will be done and dusted. Yesterday was about looking back. Today is absolutely all about looking forward. We finish our last “musts” as early as possible and then we celebrate.

The cynic in me likes to note that January 1 as the start of the new year is just an arbitrary date and other traditions celebrate other days. But there is something both enticing and comforting about the end of one year and the start of a new one. The page turns and it’s a clean slate, the idea that no matter how badly we might have fallen down on our goals or screwed things up in general, we get to start again on a blank page. “This year,” we tell ourselves. “This year I’ll do better.”

But we can’t get there just by wishing. Plans need to be made, goals set. But while the goals should be SMART — Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound (an acronym that personally annoys me for so many reasons, but it is a useful tool), let’s not overload ourselves and remember that other acronym that is so important to planning: Keep It Simple, Stupid. If we get overwhelmed by our planning, then what use is it?

Planners and journaling systems abound and I absolutely recommend having one you keep regularly. I’ve found that it’s helpful for keeping track of things and reassuring yourself that you aren’t just sitting and doing nothing. Planning systems abound ranging in complexity (and price), but if you’re looking for one, I’d suggest taking a look at Bullet Journal. To start, you need a notebook and a pen, your choice. I use Moleskines because I like those and a fountain pen because that’s my favourite writing instrument, but a spiral notebook from the 99 Cents Store and a ballpoint that wandered home from the office will work just as well. The reason I like it is because the system is absolutely simple, yet flexible. Within a week of starting, I was already adapting the way a day was laid out to work better for me. You can get wildly creative or keep it simple — though I’d advise limiting anything that isn’t actually logging tasks or events to a minute or two a session. I realized I was heading way down the rabbit hole in decorating my entries, which took away from actually doing them.

I discovered the Bullet Journal via Kelley Sue DeConnick and her motivational list, Bitches Get Shit Done. Sign up and you’ll get text messages several days a week to help inspire and motivate you. One of my favorites was the day my phone chimed and I found the message “FOCUS” waiting for me. For those who aren’t familiar with her work, Kelley works a great deal in comics and was the writer on the most recent version of Captain Marvel, and is currently writing the creator-owned “Bitch Planet.” The latter might not be everyone’s speed, but I highly recommend her Captain Marvel and, frankly, I think her run on the book is one of the reasons Marvel chose to add the character to their roster for Phase 3.

So you’ve got your journal to write your goals in, you’ve got a source of motivation that’ll come to your phone. Think about what you want to do for 2016 — and make certain there’s at least one “shoot the moon” goal because our reach should exceed our grasp.

Your blank page awaits. Ready, set…