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The Annual Planning Guide

The Annual Planning Guide

Last week of the year. It offers an incredible opportunity to reflect on the past (as my current clients are) but also plans for the future.

Today I want to set you up for 2023, so you’ll get the following below:

Simple goal-setting frameworkTwo habit-forming mental models to take into next yearStrategy for adjusting and tracking your progress

This annual planning framework will be immensely beneficial for you if you haven’t quite gotten into the shape you wanted, or your fitness isn’t where you want it to be. My hope is that you use it set your own goals, and build upon it toward a healthier, fitter, stronger future.

The Goal-Setting Framework

You can do this for any category you like; business, personal, etc, but we’ll of course shift our focus toward your health.

For each category you chose, each component is connected through:

Big goalsCheckpoint GoalsDaily SystemsAnti-Goals

Here’s what to do:

Big Goals

These are your big, scary goals. They should be audacious but stop short of being ridiculous.

These are the peak of the mountain, motivating on a larger scale, but too far off into the future to motivate on a daily basis.

Sam's example: To run an Iron Man

Action item: Pick 1-3 specific, measurable big goals to do with your health.

Put them on paper and write them down.

Checkpoint goals

Work in reverse from your big goals to formulate a set of checkpoint goals. If the big goals are the summit of the Everest, checkpoint goals are camps 1-4. You can’t reach Everest without going through these checkpoints as all paths lead directly through them.

Sam's example: My third checkpoint goal would be to finish an Olympic / half-distance Ironman during training around 12 weeks out from the event

Action item: Select 1-4 checkpoint goals for each specific big goal. Write it down below the big goal.

Daily Systems

One thing’s for clear “you fall to the level of your systems, and don’t rise to the level of your goals”, as James Clear says.

These daily systems are key to your overall progress and are the cog in the wheel.

These are the two-three daily actions you need to be doing to create compounding progress. Small actions, make big moves.

Think of the big goals as the destination, the checkpoint goals as the sat nav, and these daily systems as the wheels and the engine actually moving you forward.

Sam's example: To reach my big goal, and nail my checkpoint goals, my daily systems will include: (1) One hour of either swimming, bike, or running. (2) 30 minutes of focused strength work around the knees and ankles. (3) Daily logging of the workouts with heart rate, pace, and distance. The cardio and strength work will contribute to a smoother, more resilient body, whilst the logging will allow for micro adjustments of training to ensure I'm heading in the right direction.

Action item: Think about what the simplest daily actions are that will propel your progress forward that aren’t too out of the ordinary.

Select 1-3 specific daily systems for each checkpoint goal and then write them down below the associated checkpoint goal.

Anti Goals

Anti-goals are the things we don’t want to happen in pursuit of our big goal. Anti-goals are about avoiding the things that will hinder or limit our pursuit of the big goal.

Or in some cases, it’s avoiding the pyrrhic victory – a victory that takes such a terrible toll on the individual it might as well have been a defeat.

If the Big Goal is the peak of Everest, anti-goals are the things that you don’t want to sacrifice on the way up, like your life, toes, or fingers. You want to reach the summit, but not at the expense of those things.

Sam's example: My anti-goals associated with the Ironman are to (1) Not do all my swimming inside in a heated pool and (2) train through an injury

Action item: Invert the problem

What are the worst possible outcomes that could occur from your pursuit of the big goal?What could lead to that worst possible outcome occurring?What would you view as winning the battle but losing the war?

Using your answers from above, write down 1-3 anti-goals for each big goal.

Write them down below each big goal.

Two Habit-Forming Mental Models

This sounds awesome on paper, right? But we both know how hard it is to actually build the momentum and stay consistent. Even when our big goals motivate us and our daily systems guide us, we still struggle to execute.

To guide your execution of the daily systems, here are two mental models to employ along the way:

The Two-Day Rule

“Once is a mistake, two’s becomes a habit”.

Whatever habit you’re trying to build, never go two days in a row without completing it. Skipping one day won’t hurt you, but skipping two will.

MVP – Minimum viable progress

Never skip a day, but if you can’t do it all? What next?

Just do anything above zero. If your goal is to read 30 minutes a day, then just do 1.

Anything above zero compounds over time.

Tracking and adjusting

In aviation, there’s a rule that for every 1 degree off in navigation, you’ll miss the target for 1 mile in every 60 flown.

And with these big goals, that means you can fall off track fairly easily. A small miss now creates a big miss further down the line.

Here’s something I’ve created since spending time with peak performance coach, Brian Cain.

Conduct a monthly review on the last Friday of the month:

What do I need to continue to do to ensure I make the appropriate steps toward my big goal?What do I need to stop doing that is hindering my progress toward my big goal?What do I need to start doing that will propel me toward my big goal?

Write the answers down. I use Notion for this. This gives you the ability to course correct in case you’re heading off target. Should only take ~ 30 mins.

Your Annual Planning Guide

To summarise:

Establish big goals within your health and fitness sphere.Establish checkpoint goals for each big goal.Establish daily systems that associate with each big and checkpoint goal.Establish anti-goals for each big goal.Execute against the daily systems using the two mental models (two-day rule & MVP).Track and adjust each month.

If used correctly, this can be life-changing for your health and wellness. You have to prepare yourself to be the fittest, healthiest version of yourself in 2023.

Any questions, drop me a reply