Happy New Year!

December 31, 2020

A Strategic Planner’s Reflections on 2020

Even before I became a professional planner and project manager, I loved New Year’s Eve.  It is the idea of a fresh start, the turning of the page on the calendar, and all of the possibilities that come with a new year.  You might think I’d be done planning for 2021 by now, but this year, I’ve learned that planning ahead can be futile.

Typically, I sit down to plan for the new year sometime in Q4 if I’m really on my game.  Last year (and perhaps this was an omen) I didn’t finish planning until well into January.  When I talk about planning for the new year, I’m not just talking about resolutions.  You can read more about my process, here.

Today, I found myself lingering over the strategic plan I made for 2020.  I was surprised by how comforted I was by everything that was accomplished, despite the global pandemic.  My husband and I completed all of the home projects on the list (and then some).  Most of our travel plans were canceled, but we were able to get away for our anniversary and as I scrolled through the pictures I took this year, I noted we enjoyed a lot of hiking and time in nature!

2020 resulted in lots of canceled plans but also presented opportunities that weren’t part of my original strategic plan.  We fostered a dog, invested in a lot of bird feeders and birdseed, and enjoyed quality time at home.  Despite the challenges, there is a lot to be grateful for.

As 2021 approaches, I’m going to plan to plan less.  2020 helped me to appreciate a narrower scope, a slower pace, and the value in creating time and space for rest.  I’m not resolving to loaf around for the next year, but I’m looking forward to focusing on the most important things.

As I narrow my scope, here is my shortlist for you:

  1. Take time to reflect on the joys and challenges of 2020
  2. Take a moment for gratitude
  3. Make a list of goals to take with you into 2021


What the new year brings to you will depend a great deal on what you bring to the new year.

– Vern McLellan