How to Plan For the New Year in an Age of Uncertainty


All of us planners out there in the world learned an important lesson in 2020. You can make all the plans you want, but…

You know how that one ends. 

And it’s true, we only have so much control over how things will go for us. Or for the world.  

Some will tell you that the lesson here is to only plan one quarter–3 months–at a time. That way, if something comes up–a medical emergency, a death in the family, a global pandemic, and a worldwide shutdown–you only need to adjust those 3 months. Others will go so far as to say it’s not worth it to plan at all. 

I disagree with both. I think it IS possible to make a plan for the year ahead in a way that allows for the details to be adjusted. 

Back in December 2019, I was making big plans for my 2020. Did the year look ANYTHING like what I thought it would? No. Obviously not. And yet, I still achieved (and even surpassed) my goals. 


Every Single One of Them


Photo by Cristian Escobar for


The execution looked different. The details looked different. I created things that didn’t even exist in December 2019, but they were all a part of my yearly plan anyway. 

Because there is no way we can know all of the details that will come our way in a 12-month period, but we can get clear on how we want our life to move forward. 

Here’s how I do it: 

1. Start with your values

What are the big-picture things that are important to you this year? Do you want to spend more time with your family? Travel more? Perform more? Make more money? Volunteer more? 

2. Add in your long-term goals

This might look like planning a large-scale family reunion, going backpacking around Southeast Asia, winning an orchestra or an academic job, writing a book, etc.  

3. Determine your “Why” for each (tie it to #1 above)

Here’s where things get interesting: Why do you want to plan that family reunion? Is it to have a deeper connection with the various generations? To learn the stories, to develop some new traditions, or celebrate old ones? The trip to SE Asia–is that about a desire for more adventure in your life? To experience different cultures? Or to challenge yourself physically? And the jobs–is it about the love of the repertoire? Wanting the financial security (because that wasn’t looking so secure there for a while!) Or wanting to be around other, more intellectually-minded artists, to help shape the futures of the next generation? 

4. Toss in a few habits to build or break

What little habits could you incorporate this year that would help you get closer to your goals? Maybe that’s a family zoom call every month, or just checking in with some cousins by text more often. Maybe it’s doing one new and slightly adventurous thing each week, maybe it’s getting to know (like, REALLY getting to know) a new opera each week, or working on your resume every month. 

5. Create a tracking system

Whether you prefer digital or paper, find a way to keep track of your progress throughout the year. Building the mailing list for your ensemble? Do you know how many new names you’re adding each month? Track it. 

6. Have confidence in your ability to adapt

It IS true that anything can happen at any time, but if your goals are aligned with your values, then you’ll always be able to adapt to your circumstances. Goal to Run a marathon get thwarted by a broken leg? Not if the goal was tied to the value-based desire to get fitter. There are other ways to do that. Is it a pivot? Yes, but you still meet the overriding goal. 


Photo by Green Chameleon for


January is a weird time for artists and musicians. On one hand, it’s the middle of the season–we live more on an academic calendar than most people. And yet, we still feel the opportunity for a fresh start, a blank page, a brand new year that holds magic in its newness. 

It’s also a great time to start thinking about summer work. Do you want to perform? Teach? A bit of each? Or would you like to create something brand new? And what about next fall? Once everyone is scattered about over the summer months it’s hard to get things pinned down for September, but you can work on putting things into place now. As everyone is just enjoying the groove of the “2nd” half of the season, we start to dream about what comes next. 


Now’s your chance. 


I love doing strategy sessions with my clients and will be meeting with each of them this month to go through this process. This is where the magic happens. We get laser-focused on their goals, see what various timelines look like, figure out what people and things are needed, and start to get things into place. 

If you’d like to experience the power of one of these Strategy Sessions, I’m opening up my calendar between now and January 1st, and offering them to you at a pretty steep discount.

Normally, a session like this costs $250, but I’m offering these 1-off 2023 Strategy Sessions to you this month (December) for $149. 

You can book one right here. (Only 2 rules: 1 session per person, and they must be completed before January 7th, 2023.)

I have seen, over and over, the powerful transformation that happens when an artist decides to take their career (and their life) back into their own hands, instead of waiting for “others” to grant them things. They start creating opportunities for themselves that allow them to do exactly what they want to be doing artistically, bring in more money each month, and have the freedom to schedule their lives as they wish.

AND, they are improving their industries with performances, student offerings, mentorships, recording anthologies, research, you name it. 


I achieved that for myself, and I have watched as my clients achieve it for themselves, and I’d love to see you achieve it too. 


Try out the 6-step process above, or you can book a session with me and I’ll take you through it in the exact way I do with my clients. Helping you to get past the surface-level to-do list, and into the nitty-gritty of your true values & goals, what you’ll really need to get there, and how to put those things in place. This is also a great (and inexpensive) way to see how it feels to experience working with a coach in this way.





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