Brand Planning 2016 with KrisWithaK | Simplify your Planning this Year with the BrandPlan2016 Series

These 4 Planning Steps are Going to Keep me off the Ledge this Year | BrandPlan2016 | Kris With a K

By Kris Windley

Everywhere you look right now, someone is telling you how to do your Year-End-Planning.

Brand Planning 2016 with KrisWithaK | Simplify your Planning this Year with the BrandPlan2016 Series

It’s unbelievable how many times I’ve heard some version of that advice in the past week alone.

Plan your 2016 for Your Business NOW; Make Your 2016 a SUCCESS by Planning your year today; Without a good Plan, Your Business Will FAIL; December is National Write-a-Business-Plan Month; Enhance your Business Plan this month for a great 2016…

Talk about pressure!

It makes sense that we’re thinking about it, I suppose. We are all looking back at 2015 & freaking out a bit, because we had all these great-big hopes for 2015. We had smart goals & so many plans to make them happen, but somehow the pages on our calendars kept turning, & those plans didn’t really follow suit.

The year stretched out ahead of us in January & February like a red carpet, unrolling toward the greatest possibilities we could imagine. It seemed to stretch out forever, right?

We felt like we had all of the time in the world to get to the other end of our plans…then Spring & Summer turned up the heat on us & the speed of the year passing by went up too. Before we knew it, kids were heading back to school everywhere, & infinity scarves & leggings were back on the shelves (& us).

After Halloween, November-Planner-Guilt sets in & we start to tell ourselves that we might have failed. 

By the time December arrives, we realize that not only are we totally not ready for Christmas to be here (or the snow), we didn’t get everything done we wanted to in our business last year either

And we start to hear all of our business-expert-gurus chanting, “Business Plan, Business Plan, Business Plan” in our ears.

So we’re collectively living under the delusion that we can change every single thing next year & do it all – perfectly – if only we can cram it into a journal or a challenge or an enormous & comprehensive business planner.

Because that’s realistic, right?

When we get caught up in this planning frenzy of December & January, we set expectations for ourselves that are totally unrealistic, & we set ourselves up to feel like crap all over again next November when we start the reviewing process all over again.

“But wait a second Kris,” I can hear you say, “Isn’t the key to reaching your goals all about making good plans?”

Yes! It definitely is, & I’m the first to admit a major planning obsession. I have Moleskines, Leuchtturms, Travelers’ Journals, Printables, Digital planners….

Overwhelm is what I have, kitten.

Can you feel it? You’ve got a serious case of the I-must-plan-everything-immediately-itus, & it will destroy you before you even begin. You need to give Yourself a bit of a break in your planning this year – not a total pass, mind you – but a bit of flexibility & realism will do you wonders.

Click to Tweet: Avoid overwhelm while you tackle biz-planning this month by adding some flexibility & simplicity.

I’m a big fan of walking the walk. When I give advice to you, I need to do a good job of taking it, myself. So you may wonder how I’m going to do this whole simplicity/flexibility thing & still get things done.

The same way I want you to do it! I’m going to let myself plan just one piece of my life per week through the month of December. One bite at a time.

And I’m going to let it be simple, kitten, because that’s the only way they these plans will actually happen – all year long.

I’m not saying that this is the end of my annual planning – not by a long shot – but it’s the right kind of beginning for me. December going to be about looking back at my 2015 with kindness & objectivity, while I look forward to 2016 with excitement & simplicity.

It’s going to be about making an overview & creating systems that will realistically allow me to bend with life as it comes all year, instead of breaking.

The nuts & bolts, the tasks & ToDos, will come later, but I will have a system waiting for them & a direction for them to all point toward – a direction that will support me & my business the way I want it to.

If you’re ready to shed the “Perfect-Plan-Paralysis” & try “One-Bite-at-a-Time-Planning” with me, you are in the right place.

This is what my #BrandPlan2016 is going to look like & what the next 4 weeks will look like here, on the blog too, because I’m going to take you by the hand along with me, as I simplify my Brand Planning. Sign up to the With a K VIP list to make sure you get each post right away – along with any other goodies & freebies I send out, because #Printables!

Let’s get to it, shall we?

1 ~ Brand Plan overview

This is my big overview of goals, strategies & tasks for my biz for next year. I’ll share a blog post about it next week to show you how I do it, but the key thing is to make sure that every single thing I do supports the real reason I’m in biz…& to keep it all simple & flexible, so that I can stick to it all year long.

This post will arrive on December 9th.

2 ~ Editorial Calendar

After I know basically what my biz-year will look like, I’ll drop the bigger boulders into my Editorial Calendar. Those boulders are the Series & Launch sequences I’ll time according to what’s happening in my business year (from the BrandPlan). I’ll be able to sprinkle in the pebbles & sand as my year goes on, in the spaces between the boulders. Flexible!

I’ll write about my Editorial Calendar process on December 16th.

3 ~ Balance

Yes, I have to plan this. And so do you! This is a new thing that I’m adding to my planning process this year, because I reeeeeeeally missed it in 2015. I’m going to make sure that I have family life, healthy habits & just-for-fun stuff planned into my life next year, along with some passion projects too, because why are we working so hard to build our own businesses, if we don’t get to live our life too?

It’s only appropriate that this post will go up on December 23rd, right before I jump into some mega family time around here.

4 ~ Ongoing Planning Systems

I have found planner peace, my friend, & it is so, so good! I’m going to streamline my daily, weekly & monthly planning routines during this week, while creating a quarterly check-in process to help me remember to revise my big plans & goals to keep them flexible & achievable, so that I can avoid the November-guilt next year.

I’ll share all about my planning systems on December 30th, just in time to write down my New Year’s Resolutions. Spoiler alert? Bullet-Journal! Look it up, kitten.

Those 4 chunks should cover the basic backbone of my business planning this year, & I should be able to design them while still busy at daily life – baking cookies, decorating trees, & working on my actual business too.

Because our business won’t sit still for the month, so that we can make plans for its future, anymore than a two year old will…or a thirteen year old, for that matter.

I’m confident that this will work for me (& you too), because Simplicity & Flexibility is my double-sided motto for 2016. I’m keeping it simple & I’m creating it to be flexible, because life changes over the course of a year, & so should your business plan, ammirite?

Take a second right now to sign up for the With a K VIP list, if you aren’t already on it (green box in the sidebar, above my big ole face), so that you don’t miss the rest of this series.

And comment below!

What will you be planning this month? And what are your regrets from your plans for 2015 (it’s totally okay to say, “Not enough cookies”)?


Kris With a K | Professional Writer & Copywriting Coach


Kris is a writer, editor, illustrator, teacher, mother of two amazing young ladies - and enthusiastic cat-belly snuggler. A certified teacher, long-time blogger and experienced brand consultant, she writes about Writing, Business and Blogging...and sometimes about Changing the World.


  1. I need balance and can’t wait for your series, Kris. It sounds absolutely fantastic.

    I, too, have been dreaming for next year already. It feels like it will be a big year, I guess because I have some big goals. I like that you are wanting to keep things simple and flexible, which is something I need help with for sure.

    Can’t wait for your next posts, friend!

    • It’s going to be an AWESOME year for you Amanda!

      I can feel it 🙂 I want you to keep me up to date on your planning progress too, because I know how much easier to stay simple & focused when you’ve got accountability.

      GO TEAM!


  2. Thanks for your great post and Periscope today, Kris!

    2015 was the year of The Big Transition…leaving my full-time job and starting my own art therapy and creative workshop business. All my energy was focused on this leap and once I made it, I found myself a bit dazed as to what’s next. I’m looking forward to getting on top of planning this month so I can start the year feeling clear and energized and less “fly by the seat of my pants”.

    • It’s amazing how the first big change like that just kind of runs away with us, right?

      I remember that year for me & my biz too, Or, & it only gets better from there! 🙂 I can’t wait to see what’s next for your plans.


  3. My biggest problem with planning is that I go through a period of mad planning and then slowly fade out of my plan. I think I have scared myself with grand plans with no fun bits and flexibility so this time I really need a new kind planning which I can stick to through out the year. I’m looking foward to your posts and to joining you on this BrandPlan journey.

    • Perfect, Linh!

      That’s exactly what I’m going to battle with this series, because it’s something that drives me nuts too. I have a full year mapped out on my wall behind me right now…and the entire second half of the year is nearly untouched, because I let my year take control of me.

      Let’s do it differently this year 🙂


  4. I’m planning a photography course I’m trying to launch in January – it is consuming me and I wonder if I’ll finish, but yay! Other than that, I have one child in school and another at home with me and holy moly are the activities in December crazy! Along with the usual life requirements. So, planning – yes my planner is full and I need help focusing on planning the next year – in small tidbits. Thank you! I’m going to love this.

    • BUSY! That sounds like a hectic month, Kathleen!

      I understand the feeling of being pulled in every direction at once – when your life & family tug one way (or thirty ways in December) & your biz dreams pull in a different one. I can’t wait to tackle the idea of balance (hehe…or some version of it) too.

      Keep me posted! And just keep swimming.


    • I think so too, Kristi! (nice name btw 😉 )

      I am looking forward to knocking these things down – one bite at a time – & with some friends along for the ride.


  5. I’m gently stepping into planning for next year too. Right now I’m still in the dreaming stage. 🙂 When my hiatus is over I’ll pull out all the fun papers and planners and printables to make it official.

    Last year my biggest mistake was letting go of self care. I put my business and my creative projects first and overextended myself. Next year I am going to prioritize taking care of myself first and trusting that the other stuff will still be able to happen in the time that remains. That’s the plan anyway. 😉

    • Me too, Sarah!

      We may be on the same learning curve, my friend. I hit MAJOR overwhelm & had a bit of a hiatus too, but I’m ready to get back to my world of doing again. Dreaming is a great start. I’m going to get right on that…I’m pretty good at it 😉



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