I’m a huge fan of the mantra “December is the new January.” I believe if I’m going to be successful next year I have to start planning and preparing for that success this year.

If you’re looking to get a jumpstart on your January, too, here’s a list of 20 things I think writers should do before 2020.

Have a dreaming day.

Give yourself a day — or at least an hour — to sit and dream about the future with your favorite notebook or journal and pen in hand. Consider what you want every area of your like to look like five years from now. Draft your future writing bio. Make a list of media outlets or literary journals you hope will one day publish your work.

Set your 2020 goals.

Before you can get a jumpstart on your 2020 goals, you have to know what those goals are. During your dreaming day, draft a 5-year plan. Then decide which of your dreams from your 5-year plan you want to work on first. This will help you set your goals for the New Year.

Set your 2020 Quarter 1 goals.

Next, break down your one-year goals into smaller steps to determine your goals for the first 90 days of the year.

Set your January goals.

Finally, use your first-quarter goals to determine what you should be focused on during the first month of the year.

Choose your social media focus for 2020.

If you feel overwhelmed by social media it may be because you’re trying to be all places, all the time. Stop that! Pick one platform to master next year. Once you have that down, you can add another one.

Set some social media goals.

After you’ve chosen the platform you’re going to go all-in on next year, set some goals for that platform. Maybe you want a certain number of Instagram followers by the end of the year. Maybe you just want to be consistent and add to your Instagram Stories every day. Maybe you want to start or grow a Facebook group. Perhaps you want to participate in more Twitter chats.

Set your personal goals for 2020.

Remember, when you’re working on your vision and plan for the next five years, you should be imagining what every area of your life is like. So, be sure to set some personal goals, too. These could be related to your fitness or your family or just about having more fun.

Buy a planner.

To accomplish your 2020 goals you’ve got to plan the work and work the plan and you’re going to need a good planner to do so. I highly recommend the Day Designer. But that pretty planner will be pointless if you don’t actually use it. So be sure to sign up for the See Jane Write 7-day Planner Challenge so you can learn how properly using a planner can help you slay your goals.

Finish all the books you’ve started this year.

I always say good writers read good writing but what I haven’t told you is that this writer is terrible about starting books and not finishing them. So, I am challenging myself to finish every book I’ve started this year by December 31.

Clean your workspace.

My home office has been a mess since I left my teaching job back in May because the stuff I accumulated in my classroom for 10 years is now sitting in front of my bookcase. Even if things aren’t this bad, chances are you need to clean your workspace, too. Put away notebooks you’re no longer using and get rid of dried-out pens. File away important papers piling on your desk.

Clean your computer.

After you clean your physical desktop, take some time to clean your digital desktop, too. And your Google Drive. And your email inbox.

Update your website.

If have a website to promote yourself as a writer (which I hope you do) be sure it’s up-to-date. Make sure all biographical and contact information is accurate. Test your portfolio page for broken links and update the page with stronger, more recent works. Consider giving your site a new look for the New Year, too. In December, I need to update Javacia.com and if I have time I may revamp this site, too.

Clean your home.

“The Clean-Up Woman” will basically be my theme song in December. Along with cleaning my workspace and websites, I’ll be deep cleaning my home, too, and organizing closets, drawers, and more.

Clean out your bags.

The other week I found approximately 200 pens at the bottom of an old work bag. Seriously. Don’t be like me. Clean out your work bag, your gym bag, your makeup bag, and all of your purses.

Start practicing healthy habits.

Choose five things that you want to do every day in 2020 and start making these things a part of your life in December. Use an app like Habit to keep track of your progress. You can check out my list of five healthy habits for 2020 here.

Take care of yourself.

If there’s a doctor’s visit you’ve been putting off, make the appointment. If there are medications you need to refill, go to the pharmacy! You can’t go after your goals if you’re dead.

Treat yourself.

If it’s in your budget, get a massage or buy a bra that fits. And get yourself that gift on your holiday wish list that no one bought for you.

Donate to your favorite cause or organization.

While the tax write-off from a donation is nice, making a difference is even better.

Spend time with family and friends.

Don’t forget that this time of year should be about spending time with family and friends. So don’t get so caught up in chasing your dreams that you chase away your loved ones.

Do something fun!

The all work/no play attitude isn’t good for anyone. So give yourself a break.

What do you plan to do before 2020?

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