Financial Planning

The Nine Most Important Things to Consider When Planning for 2020

2019 seems to have flown by faster than ever – here we are with January 1, 2020 just around the corner. Although the holidays can overtake the last few moments of this year, it’s important to set time aside to plan for the year ahead. Beyond just setting your “New Years Goals”, set some actionable goals to follow through with at different points in the year. That way, when the holidays role around again next year, it won’t be such a panicked season! Check out these handy tips that’ll help get you prepped and ready to take on 2020 head first!

Audit Your Successes and Failures in the Previous Year

While you’re considering your 2020 resolutions, take a moment to review what the past year has been like for you in each of the following categories: Family, Social, Career, Financials, Health, and Love.

On a sheet of paper, divide a page in these six sections. As you’re reviewing each month, write out what you are proud of accomplishing in each category. Be sure to take note of both the huge accomplishments as well as the smaller, less noticeable ones. Then, in a different colored pen, write what you wanted to complete but did not. Don’t make excuses or right out the reasons why these things didn’t happen, just make note of anything that didn’t make it.

Understand Your Priorities

On a new piece of paper, list the order of importance for each category that is listed above. Be sure to specifically rank them as they will be important in the new year. It’s important to understand why you’ve selected things as most to least at this point in your life (CNBC, 20191). Remember, it’s natural for these categories to become more or less important depending on the point of life you’re currently experiencing. Be sure to watch the rankings over the course of the next year to see if your priorities have shifted by the end of 2020.

Since you now understand what is most important in your life at the start of a new year, structure your time each day to mimic those priorities. If you’ve listed your career as the most important category for the new year, then you can expect that a large portion of your time will be spent doing things to better your business life. Most days you will only find enough time to handle three of the six categories, so be sure to assess what can get done each month with this understanding (Thought Catalog, 20193).

Create Separate “Goal” Lists for Each Category

Now that you understand your priorities, it’s time to break down each category with what goals you’d like to achieve during 2020 (CNBC, 20191). Look back at what you weren’t able to accomplish in the past year – perhaps some of those will make it on your goals list for this new year. Be sure to set both easy-to-accomplish goals as well as more difficult ones, so you can find success along the way. Set general and specific timelines for when you’d like to have each individual goal accomplished. Then, write down these time goals in your calendar to remind you of the progress points throughout the upcoming months.

Set Your Time and Money Budgets for Each Goal

In order to succeed with any goal, it’s important to understand the financial and time sacrifices you will have to make within each category. If you’ve decided on a contributing a certain amount each month to your savings account, that will most likely mean you need to cut back on extraneous expenses. Or if you’ve set a goal to go on three dates a month, then you will need to schedule that time out of every month of the year.

Understand Your Needed Resources

In preparation for accomplishing your set goals, you also need to consider what resources are necessary to succeed (Goal Cast, 20192). Are there certain goals that will require research before you start? Will you need to take classes or build new skillsets to succeed? Are you prepared to invest money into any of your goals?

You will most likely need to allocate some money towards your goals, and that is a good thing to plan ahead. Understand what the realistic timing will look like for a goal to be worked towards and eventually accomplished. Pace yourself and invest in the right tools to succeed.

Develop a System of Accountability

Having someone to hold you accountable to your goals will make you 95% more likely to succeed according to a study done by the American Society of Training and Development (Results Breakthrough, 20185). But do you have a friend or partner who will make sure you stay on track to hit your goals? Or is it possible that you may need to invest in a professional coach or advisor to improve your chances of success?

Identify the Pitfalls

As you prepare for the year ahead, it’s also important to identify any and all things that would hold you back from succeeding (Thought Catalog, 20193). Are there times of the year when you are very busy with other commitments? Do you have people in your life who are bad influences and may encourage you not to care about your goals? Understand what each potential situation could look like and find ways to work around these pitfalls. It may even benefit you to set up an emergency plan to help navigate through unforeseen situations that hold you back from staying on track throughout the year.

Reevaluate Regularly

Much like you set timeline goals in your calendar to see if you stay on track, set “check-in” dates to re-evaluate goals and mark down what has already been accomplished (Goal Cast, 20192). Time changes things so be comfortable with restructuring timelines and goals regularly to fit with your life. Set small rewards at different increments to encourage yourself throughout the year. Always keep your accountability partner up to date on your progress and shortcomings. Ask for help when its needed.

Create Standard Procedures

Keep track of everything that has worked when accomplishing your goals so that you can repeat this practice in future years. Set aside time in December to look back on the year, evaluate your successes and shortcomings, and plan your goals and timelines for the following year. Over time, this concept will naturally evolve to become a regular habit that will inherently make you more productive in other ways.

It can be easy to “fly by the seat of your pants” when going through life, but with a little planning and a lot of self-reflection, it can take just one year to change the course of your life altogether. By putting a process in place, you can set achievable goals with actionable results to be hit on a regular basis. With positive reinforcements, you’ll find yourself naturally wanting to succeed. You’ll be surprised at how these processes will become habits that completely transform your life into a productive, successful journey over time – but in the meanwhile, Happy Holidays from all of your friends at Manulife Singapore!

Share this on

Content Sources
1 - Adamczyk, Alicia (2019, October), I’ve written about money for over 5 years – here’s how I’m getting my own finances in order before 2020, retrieved from
2 - Tigar, Lindsay (2019, July), 5 Things You Can Do Right Now to Get Ready to Shine in 2020, retrieved from
3 - Rajbhandary, Anjana (2019, August), 20 Things To Do Now To Start Preparing For 2020, retrieved from
4 - Klosowski, Thorin (2012, July), How Can I Turn Vague Goals Into Actionable To-Dos?, retrieved from
5 - Hawthorne, John (2018, February), Want To Succeed In Business? Get An Accountability Partner, retrieved from