Tag Archives: New Year

4 Steps to Planning the Year

sunset over the seaby Lydia Floren

I am a planner.  Not in the “control freak” kind of way, just in the wanting-to-be-intentional-about- life way.  So, the new year is an important time for me.  Toward the end of the year, I start to think about where I have been, where I am going, and how best to get there.  In January, I typically set aside a day or two to review and  make some specific plans for the coming year.  What does that look like for me?  Well, it is different every year. Some years I am more detailed, others I just sketch out a more general framework. But my planning process always seems to involve these four steps:

Four Steps to Planning the Year:

  1. Reflect
  2. Review
  3. Refocus
  4. Revise



  • What happened in the last year?  Events? Relationships? Commitments? Life situations?
  • How have I seen God working in these things?
  • How have I grown? What have I learned?


  • What were my goals/priorities/commitments from last year?
    • Life goal:
    • Other goals:
    • Priorities:
    • Permanent commitments:
  • How has my time spent in the last year, aligned with my life goals, priorities, commitments?


  • Ask God, “What is Your perspective of what has happened in the last year?”
  • Are there any goals/priorities/commitments I need to change  or moving forward?
  • Are there specific plans that need to be revised? Ditched? Formulated?


  • What do I see as the best strategy to achieve my goals in the coming year?  In two years? In 5 years?
  • How does that translate into how I use my time on a daily/weekly/monthly basis?
  • What will help me to keep my life aligned with these goals/plans?

During this process, I continue to pray and seek God’s guidance, insight, and wisdom in each of these steps.  And, at the end, I just give my new plans and schedule to God, and ask Him to show me what revisions need to be made.

What is your approach to planning?

Pray Plan Pray

2:5:16 Pray Plan Prayby Lydia Floren

On my recent trip to India, one of the leaders of IBL had these three words at the top of his whiteboard:  “Pray Plan Pray.”

I love this!  Pray first, then plan, and then pray through your plans.

You know, the New Year is just getting underway. This is an excellent time to look back and forward, and “pray plan pray.”

Here is one way you can do this:

Praying GRACE for the New Year

Give thanks for…

  • Right now.
  • Your life:  The past year.  The coming one.
  • God’s presence and His goodness.
  • All God has been doing, and all He continues to do.


  • The past.  Disappointments.  Pain.  Resentment.  Regret.  Sin.  Shame.  Guilt.
  • Expectations you have of others.  And that others might have of you.
  • The future.  Fear.  Worry.  Uncertainty.


  • Where you are right now.
  • Yourself as you are:  imperfect and in process.
  • God’s love and forgiveness.
  • God’s wisdom/direction for the coming year.
  • Responsibilities God has already given you.
  • Ownership of your life and your decisions.


  • Praying about your priorities and goals.
  • Listening for God’s direction.
  • Outlining plans for the year.
  • Deciding which one or two habits to cultivate in the coming year.


  • Each day, recognizing it for the gift that it is.
  • The process of prayerful planning.
  • God’s constant presence with you, within you – loving you, leading you, touching others through you.

Praying GRACE is a wonderful way to start the year. But however you choose to dive in to 2016, don’t forget to Pray Plan Pray.

What plans have you made for the coming year?