It’s hard to believe that in less than 27 days, 2013 will begin. But before 2012 is a memory, why not assess where you’ve been and where you’d like to go so that when January 1, 2013 arrives, you can hit the ground running.
Upon finally realizing that New Year’s Eve celebrations were full of more hype than potential for lasting memorable moments, I’ve come to view the entire month of December leading up to the end of the year as a time to fondly remember how the past year has molded and changed me and begin to plan for the next step and direction I want to take my life.
A few days after Christmas, I will start a fire in my fireplace, and cozy up surrounding myself with last year’s journal and my current journal. And then I will begin preparing for a wonderful 2013. Let me show you what I do:
1. Applaud 2012 successes. Make a list in your current journal of all the events, moments and successes that occurred in 2012. Small or large, if they were memorable to you, changed your thinking or demonstrated what you never thought you could do, etc, write them down.
2. Write down what you’ve learned in 2012. Then based on the list of your successes, make a list of what you discovered about yourself and what you have learned about life.
3. Take a look at where you were in January 2012. Remember that old journal I told you I pulled out as well? Well, I am always amazed at where I was only 12 short months ago. This exercise is a wonderful way to serve as a reminder of how capable you are and that even you can surprise yourself with what you can accomplish in such a short amount of time.
4. Make a dream list. What changes do you hope to make in 2013? What new skills do you hope to learn? What places do you hope to visit?
5. Keep Your List Short (1-3 Items). Once you have your dream list, now take an honest look at it and choose very specific goals that you want to achieve that will bring about the significant changes you want to see in yourself. Perhaps choose three areas in your life you want to improve (health, style, fiscal security), and then be clear about the goals you want to achieve within these areas.
6. Be specific. Whatever your goals are, be specific. (SMART goals – specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely). Why? By clarifying exactly what you want to achieve, what it will look like and how you will attain it, you are giving yourself a map of how exactly and within what sort of time frame the change should occur if you are on task. In other words, accountability.
7. Create a plan (think small steps). Following the SMART goal approach, break down the various elements that need to be completed in order for your goal to materialize. Pull out a calendar and set up daily, weekly, monthly goals based on what is necessary.
8. Answer the big question . . . Why? Most importantly, once you have made a list of the goals/resolutions you want to achieve, ask yourself again why you want to pursue them. What is it that you are hoping to bring into your life? Is it for self-improvement or for someone else? Always make sure that the dreams you seek are to more fully develop your full potential and help you step into the becoming your best self.
The beauty of December is that it is a month of celebrations, love, family, accomplishments, big surprises and even bigger reasons to dream beyond the sky’s limit. Don’t wait until New Year’s Eve to plan your future. Start now!
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