Wow! We are already half-way through January of 2017. I repeat, 2017. I find that incredible! I’m always amazed and somewhat nostalgic when the new year rolls around and we say, “Goodbye” to the previous year. Everyone approaches the new year with different feelings. To some, they might look back with regret or sadness of things done or not done. Others might not want to let it go because it was a good year for them. I can say that I have experienced both scenarios. And I would dare say that probably goes for everyone else reading this blog.
Whatever the case may be for you, it IS a new year so why not approach it with a sense of expectancy that it can be a good year for you — and especially so if you left last year with more of a, “Good riddance” than a, “Sorry to see you go” kind of attitude. Now that the calendar has turned over and we have tucked the previous year away, we have an opportunity for a “do over” or a “fresh start” if you will.
To be clear, I’m not talking about New Year’s resolutions here. Those rarely are carried out past the first couple of weeks anyway. I’m talking about looking ahead and setting some goals on want you want to accomplish in the new year, THE WHOLE YEAR and even beyond! Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, a famous french writer once said, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” Unfortunately, you can wish all you want for something to happen but in all reality, it is up to you to make it happen. You are in the driver’s seat. So obviously you need to make a plan and carry it out. But first, I think to do that you have to be reflective somewhat on the past year and then decide what you need to do to make 2017 the best it can be for you.
Think of 2016 as a parking space that you pulled into, such as you would at the grocery store. You had a purpose for going there but now it’s time to leave. To get out of the parking space you have to look into the rearview mirror of your car to back out so you can go forward to the next place on your “To do” list.
EVALUATING THE PREVIOUS YEAR
Here are some questions you can ask yourself and thoughts of reflections that you might find helpful in preparing for the new year:
- What would you say was the best thing that happened to you in the past year?
- What was your biggest challenge last year?
- Pick three words to describe the past year.
- What relationships you spent time on do you consider the most valuable?
- What would you say was your biggest time waster in the past year?
- What activities would you say were worth your time spent?
PLANNING FOR THE NEW YEAR
So now you’ve looked into the rearview mirror and noted what obstacles there might have been in your path of the past year. It’s time now to map out the path you want to take to move forward. Here are some helpful suggestions for you to get you on your way.
- Celebrate your accomplishments of the past year.
- Make a list of what is important to you emotionally, professionally, spiritually and physically.
- Pick three words to describe what you want to focus on in the next year.
- Come up with a plan on how to cultivate the relationships that are important to you.
- Weed out activities that robbed you of time that could have been spent on more worthwhile things.
- Remember, you might have to check your “rearview” mirror once in a while if you need to change lanes to get where you want to be.
- You’re on a 12 month journey. Don’t be in a rush or you will likely get overwhelmed. Stop off on the side of the road periodically and take a minute to smell the flowers along the way and you might even give yourself a pat on the back for your effort and deeds accomplished.
Mark Twain once said, “Plan for the future because that’s where you are going to spend the rest of your life.” Having a plan means you are intending to go somewhere or do something. And there’s no time like the present to get started. Wouldn’t you agree?
I would also like to offer a piece of advice for after you get started and you are well on your way. While carrying out your plan throughout the new year you might find that your plans become thwarted by circumstances outside of your control. That’s just how life goes. But not to worry, for there’s also a saying from an unknown author that says, “Blessed are the flexible for they shall not become broken.” Don’t get discouraged! It’s okay if you have to tweak your plan here or there. The main thing is to try to stick to your plan and keep working towards the goals you made to the best of your ability. I believe you will find that consistent and effective effort will lead to success. So here’s to your fresh start and next year we will talk again!