With the dawn of each New Year, there’s the typical buzz about resolutions, reflections, intentions, or goals for the days and months to come. Regardless of whether you balk at the idea of New Year's resolutions, or whether you’re a keen goal-setter come January 1st, it’s pretty natural to approach a New Year as a bit of a fresh start. A clean slate. And one thing I’m sure we all have in common: the desire to make the year ahead a good one. I’m pretty certain that no-one rings in a New Year with the hopes that it will be shittier than the year before.
So, in the spirit of looking forward to the year ahead, here’s how you can get clear on what you want for the new year (and how you can lose some of the shitty stuff that you might have encountered last year.) Grab a notebook or some paper – you can burn all of these notes later, but for now it helps to get your thoughts down in writing. Now, answer these questions:
1. What were your favourite parts of last year?
2. What were the worst parts of last year?
3. What do you want to do more of this year?
4. What do you want to do less of this year?
5. Who are the people you enjoy hanging out with the most?
6. Who are the people you find most difficult to be around?
7. What activities make you happiest?
8. What activities drain you?
9. What is most important to you in your life right now?
10. At the end of this year, what are five words you’d like to use to describe the year you’ve had?
Take a few minutes to read through your answers. Often, simply taking the time to think about these questions gives us insight on how we’d like to spend our energy in the year ahead. There’s a quote by Robin Sharma that I love: “Your daily schedule reflects your deepest values.” If we say we value health and family time, yet are working 14-hour days and constantly eating on the run, our schedule does not reflect our values. Of course we all have days (or weeks) that what we want to be doing conflicts with what we need to be doing, but if we have a clear picture of our priorities we can get back on track when we need to.
The answers to your questions above are a cheat-sheet of what is important (and what’s not important) to you. Be sure to carve out time in your schedule so your calendar reflects what you want your year to look like. May 2015 be a great one for you.
If you're looking for more ideas on how to start the year off right, here's a new tradition I started a while back. Or maybe you'd be interested in an apporach that focuses simply on five things. Regardless of how you bring in 2015, I wish you health and happiness in the year ahead.