Make This Year Your Year by Planning Big


APRIL. 4, 2018


Time is a funny thing. We live in the present, but we know there’s going to be a next hour, a next day, a next year, and we can take steps to make the most of the road ahead.

Most of us like to make plans so we can achieve goals that require preparation and work. Some of us take small steps and only look a little ways into the future, while others prefer to look at the big picture and plan accordingly.

However, planning an entire year can be intimidating to some, especially if you’re the kind of person who has trouble figuring out what you’re going to do on the weekend, never mind the next twelve months.

But looking at the year as a whole, which forces you to pull back and look at things from a wider perspective, can help provide some guidance throughout the year. Of course you can (and probably will) make changes and adjustments throughout the course of the year, but at least you have a goal, and a direction.

A guy named Mark Zuckerberg, whom you may have heard of, is known for tackling yearly challenges. As CEO of Facebook he’s given himself a challenge every year since 2009, goals like learning Mandarin or building an AI system for his home. And you can see where his big thinking has led him.

Big Thinking, Big Plans

Another person who tends to think big is Jeongmo, co-founder of Gnarly and our Strategist. Jeongmo lays out a detailed plan at the beginning of each year, and here’s how he does it.

He starts by reflecting on the previous year and focuses not just on what happened during the year, but how it felt. By identifying the overall feeling of the year, he then starts planning for the year to come.

Jeongmo decided that 2018’s theme would be Growth. It’s his 30th year, and he feels it’s important to be constantly challenging himself and developing his future.

A Different Kind of Bucket List

He divided his goals into three major categories, or buckets:

Career: He came up with specific goals that will help further his career, like learning digital analytics by reading at least one analytics book every single month.

Personal: Seeking to further develop his health, he pledged to exercise at least 30 minutes every day. For his emotional health, he decided to work on getting to know his significant other on a deeper, more personal level.

Passion: Jeongmo feels very strongly about showing kindness, both to himself and others. A significant part of his motivation to help create Gnarly was his passion for telling inspiring stories to positively influence people and help make the world a better place.

‘Tis the Season to Hit Some Goals

Another way Jeongmo carves up the year into more manageable chunks is by focusing on each quarter, which roughly corresponds with the seasons:

Spring: Foundation

During the first three months of the year he focuses on getting used to his newly chosen lifestyle changes, and all the new things he’s trying to incorporate into his life. The main goal here is to create healthy, productive routines and habits that’ll add value to his life.

Summer: Sprint

Once the routines are established, Jeongmo will double down and squeeze as much benefit as he can get out of those routines.

Fall: Iterate

After test driving the new lifestyle routines for a few months, Jeongmo will slow down and see if there are any adjustments that need to be made. He’ll take what he’s learned during the first six months and make any necessary changes to ensure he’s still on track to hit his yearly goals.

Winter: Finish

The end goals are in sight, so now it’s just a matter of cruising to the finish line. Jeongmo will use this part of the year to make sure he’s on course to hit his goals and, if necessary, focus his energies on the goals that really need it.

Above everything else, Jeongmo is driven by a sense of optimism. He knows that a positive outlook will help drive him to achieve the things that really matter, with one core insight driving him throughout the year: 2017 was good, but 2018 will be amazing.


Written by Paul Meen Park
Published APRIL. 4, 2018

Feature image: Greg rakozy