It’s hard to believe that another year is coming to a close. For many, ushering in the New Year brings an opportunity to reflect and improve their lives. Every year, I often participate this type of reflection. I love to look back at challenges and successes, and set goals and plans for the next year. It is an activity that I believe everyone should participate in. Of course, setting New Years’ Resolutions may seem overrated to many. It might be that goals aren’t easily obtained, so achieving them isn’t a reality. Maybe this is your first time buying into this New Year goal setting “thing”. Let me help you by sharing with you the process that I go through each year to envision where I want to be. Here are the 4 actions you must take to prepare for the New Year:

  1. Reflect
  2. Refine
  3. Revisit
  4. React

Reflect

When you reflect on some of the milestones you have had in the previous year, it can be very encouraging. On the other hand, if this is a year where you went through some things you rather had not, it can be insightful for your journey ahead. Regardless of how you ended the year, going through the process of reflection can be very helpful in enabling you figure out what the New Year will bring for you. Take some time to look back and write down everything that comes to your mind.

Refine

Once you have done the activity of reflection, now it is time to select some items from your list that you would like to continue or focus on for the year. Perhaps many of the items on your list are a fulfillment of your goals from the previous year. Great! These are complete and unless you would like to continue them, you can consider them done. However, you will find that specific items will stand out at you as areas in which you want to improve on, or you would like to start new. Highlight these areas on your list. The highlighted areas of your list will now be your new refined list for your New Year goals.

Revisit

Now it is time to dig a little deeper into your short list. In order to make sure that you accomplish your goals, it is important that you understand what it will take from you or others supporting you to help you accomplish your goals. I advocate for you to make your goals S.M.A.R.T. This means they should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. For example, if you want to improve your Excel skills, you might want to set a goal that is stated “Attend an Excel 101 class by March”. If you feel that your area of focus might require two goals, that is okay, write out some mini-goals that might help you accomplish your end goal.

React

Sometimes many of us can be very comfortable in writing out the steps we need to do to get to our end goal, but then the list sits in a drawer until the next year. In order to get your goals accomplished you do need to react. You need to get out of your chair, take the extra time, and do something about it. If you don’t take the initiative to complete your goal, r you will be staring your old goal in the face next year. To avoid this, take the steps you need, and react.

Let’s Do It!

Celebrating a New Year is one of my favorite things to do. It offers reflection, visioning to the future, and it enables us all to take the steps we need to make our personal and professional lives just a little better. Have you already started this process? Share some of your goals below, it may help enlighten someone else to do the same! Be safe, and enjoy the New Year!

P.S. For those looking to read more about goal setting, check out “Getting Ahead of the New Year“. This post was written a few years back but does have some great points, that still hold true. Enjoy!