Are you ready for 2023?

Now is a great time to start preparing for the year ahead.

Here’s an exercise I encourage everyone to do sometime in the next month. If you try it out, I’d love to hear what becomes clearer to you from doing this?

This is the first step in my “2023 By Design” plan, but I’m telling you here exactly what I do with my clients so you can just do it on your own if you don’t want to sign up for the whole plan. I *promise* you, this will help set you up for a more focused and fruitful 2023!

Sit down with your 2022 calendar/planner/datebook, bank and credit card statements, and a piece of paper folded in thirds.

On one third of the paper, write “More,” on another, write, “Same,” and on the third side, write “Less.” Starting in January, go through each month and put each item from your calendar into one of those columns. Scan your financial statements and consider those as well. Where did your money go in 2022? What do you want to do more/less/same of?

Include everything! Appointments, coffee dates, work, church or civic commitments, vacations, pet expenses, kids’ extracurriculars, family rhythms, etc.

Once you have your three lists, begin looking at 2023. Using a blank 2023 calendar or planner, begin to plug in the things from your “More” column. At the same time, take stock of your “Less” column and act accordingly.

For example, this exercise helped me realize at the end of 2021 that, as much as a love being a worship leader, I did not want to have that weekend commitment (and all of the extra work throughout the week that goes along with it) during this season of life, so I stepped down from my staff position, freeing me up to be more present to my family during the weekend and host Sunday dinners—two things from my “More” column. I’ve been a worship leader for the better part of the past twenty-one years—it’s just what I’ve always done!—but making these lists helped me see clearly that it was not the season for me to be doing it every weekend. This also created space for me to pursue coaching, which I love and can do while my children are in school.

This exercise also helped us decide where we were spending too much money on extracurriculars and what changes we could make the next year.

What might these lists help you see more clearly about how you’re spending those precious resource—your time and your money—in your current season of life?

This is also a great time to make those “Same” appointments, like annual physical exams and dental check-ups, and to plug in the things that are working well for you in this season (for us, this includes blocking out Friday nights for pizza and movies with the kids, a beloved tradition in our home and something everyone looks forward to, but tweaking how we do it so I could spend less than I had been spending on it in the previous year!)

By doing this exercise in 2021, I was able to design a 2022 that has turned out to be a really fruitful and surprisingly spacious year, considering all of the people and moving parts in my life! This year I was able to focus on doing more of what mattered and less of what didn’t. This year has held more quality time with my husband, children, and parents, more prayer, more reading, launching a new career as a coach, less chaos, and less frustration with feeling like my time is not my own. Even though much of what I do in this season of life is about serving others, I have created space and intention, allowing plenty of time and opportunities for filling my own bucket.

This was especially helpful when some things came up during the year that were really hard and required a lot of emotional strength and clarity. Because I had space and good alignment, I had a greater capacity for handling the necessary interruptions and pivots required.

I am really passionate about this practice, and I want to help others experience the fruitful results of being well aligned with your priorities and values.

If you try this exercise, I’d love to hear what became clearer to you as you did it! What changes are you going to make in 2023?

Click here to learn more about my six-session coaching series to help you head into the new year with a plan!
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