How to create a new you for the new year

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

1. Schedule some time to be with yourself to conduct this written exercise. Remember, "What's planned is possible and what's scheduled and written down is REAL." 

I usually recommend at least a few hours set aside before the year ends.  I, personally, go away on a two day/one night trip to Sedona by myself to do this whole process and I have been doing it for over 10 years.  It is very powerful to make time for oneself to mentally work through the goals.

2.  Preferably in a journal or notebook, write out the following three areas in this exact order:

-- Reflection: Write a few pages of key highlights from the year in review (2013).  It is important to acknowledge where we come from each year and appreciate all of the things we did and accomplished over the past year.  I typically review my calendar dating back to January to remind me of the events, meetings, travels, etc., and then bullet point my key highlights of each month.

-- State of the Union (acknowledging the present): Write down in more of a paragraphical narrative how you are FEELING about your goals, accomplishments, life, family here in December as you stare down the New Year.  I call it "brain dumping" or "stream of conscious writing."  It's writing down whatever comes to mind with no particular format.  Let the thoughts flow through your pen and don't hold back.

-- Future (the goals for 2014): Similar to the State of the Union, just write down whatever comes to mind when it comes to your goals for 2014.  I like to write atop a blank page, "What do you REALLY want in 2014 in all areas of your life (i.e., family, career, health, friends, etc)?"  I then start writing down whatever comes to my mind.  You may jump around from family goals to career goals and the idea is to get all of the goals out of your mind and down on paper.  At the end of this step, the idea is to organize your 2014 Life Plan that encompasses all areas (or "pillars") of your life.

3. Attitude and Behavior Adjustment -- If one is to hit the goals listed out in the third step (goal setting), one must make everyday behavior changes.  Write out at least five behaviors that MUST change in order hit your 2014 goals.

I have been doing yearly Life Plans dating back to 1998 and I can't imagine navigating my life without written goals that I review every Sunday to prepare my week.  My hope is that you will find it equally as powerful.