How We Doubled Our Income 4 Years in a Row (+ Free 2016 #MoneyLove Planner)
written by Kate Northrup on December 30, 2015
I created a printable 2016 #MoneyLove Planner for you to download to guide you in starting the year off with the clarity and intention that manifests. This is based on the exact financial rituals Mike and I have done to double our income every year 4 years in a row.
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Mike and I always spend a couple of days reviewing the previous year and planning for the year ahead sometime in the weeks around Christmas and New Year’s.
Maybe you hate goal setting. Maybe reviewing the past year brings up regret and sadness. Sometimes I fit into both of those camps.
One thing I know for sure, though, is that Mike and I have been doing an annual review and planning ritual every year since we’ve been together. And our income has doubled each year for four years in a row.
As you know, I’m about making a life, not just a living. So it’s not just about the money. But it isn’t NOT about the money either.
So when I drag my feet about our annual year-in-review and planning ritual because I’d rather veg out in front of Love Actually with a cup of cocoa, I remind myself that this sh*t works.
(It’s worth noting that our finances aren’t the only area of our lives that have improved since we started doing this practice together. I can honestly say that every single area of our life has benefited without exception. What we put our attention on grows, and that includes our health, finances, romantic lives, community, and everything else!)
Here’s what we do to take stock of the year that’s just passed and to make space for all the goodness coming our way in the New Year:
We take out our big book. We keep our annual reviews and plans in the same book so that we can look back easily at years past. It’s a beautiful, organized way to contain the highlights and dreams of our life.
We go through our photos and calendars from the past year. As we go through we remember trips we took, business achievements and other noteworthy moments. Then we write them out month by month in bulleted lists.
We reflect on the past year. We write out our metrics: how much we earned, how many trips we took, how much our list grew in size, and anything else we feel like measuring. Then, we write out what went well and what didn’t go well in a series of categories. Ours are: our USANA business, the Kate Northrup brand, travel, money (earning, spending, and giving – this year we’ll add saving and investing to the list), our relationship, friends and family, health and fitness, Mike overall, and Kate overall.
We state desires and intentions for the New Year. We usually have a word or two that we’d like as a theme for the year. (2015’s word for me was “spaciousness,” and our overall theme was “Do less. Net more.”) And then we break our desires/intentions down by categories. These categories vary slightly from the reflection categories, and sometimes we have a special category that only applies to that year (like in 2015 we had a special category of desires for our honeymoon).
We calendar. Yep, to calendar is a verb in my book. I love calendaring. I have a digital calendar (Google Calendar), a date book (my Desire Map Daily Planner), and a year-at-a-glance dry erase calendar. Planning is my happy place.
We map out major business launches, holidays, vacations and other travel, and anything else that needs to go on the calendar. This has a few key benefits:
We don’t end up overbooking ourselves and doing too many projects at once.
When something new comes across our desk we can look at the year-at-a-glance calendar and see very clearly if we’re already going to be working on something at the same time. It makes saying yes and no to things way easier.
We can also look at the year in quarters and make sure we’re taking adequate time off each quarter. (One might think that taking time off is easier when you work for yourself. Turns out, not so much. You have to fiercely protect and plan for the time off so that your business doesn’t seep into every vacation.)
We break this year in review and annual planning into a few days so that we don’t get overwhelmed. We make it fun with snacks, candles, and music.
I find this practice helps me feel well digested at the end of the year and well prepared for the year ahead. Yes, this is partially the illusion of control. But it works for me, so I’m sticking to it.
Over to You:
What kind of rituals do you have around reviewing the past year and planning for the year ahead? I absolutely love this stuff, so please leave a comment below!
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