My Favorite New Year’s Tradition

Like many people, I find comfort in traditions. Unlike many people, I’m not a big New Year’s party kind of gal. But I do have a New Year’s tradition that’s been a meaningful way for me to transition to the upcoming year.

Awhile back, I learned of a simple exercise that yields profound insights.* It’s become a New Year’s tradition of sorts. Grab some coffee, tea or hot cocoa and spend an hour with these questions. You’ll ring in the New Year with purpose and direction that will lead to lasting results in 2012.

Step One—Completing the Old

Look at all the areas of your life, reflecting specifically on 2011. Consider areas like faith, family, wellness, community, finance, career and recreation.

  • List all of your Wins, Successes, and Breakthroughs
  • List all of your Losses, Disappointments and Breakdowns

Regardless of whether the item is a “win” or a “loss,” you are not as likely to take on the next opportunity in your life unless you are complete with past accomplishments and disappointments. When you complete them, you create space for new things to show up in your life.

Some of my 2011 wins and losses:

Wins, Successes, Breakthroughs:

    • published my third book, Wisdom for the BusyCoach
    • developed more business among volleyball teams (12 workshops and spoke at AVCA Convention)
    • table leader for Beth Moore Bible study at church
    • volunteered with Operation Christmas Child

Losses, Disappointments, Breakdowns:

    • lost sight of business goals
    • poor time management (details derailed me from most important things)
    • inconsistent with planning time and reviewing life plan each week
    • lacking consistent connection to niece/nephews

Step Two—Lessons Learned

Choose 5-7 lessons you have learned this past year that you want to take into 2012. When thinking of what to include, remember that you will want to consciously use these lessons in the coming year.

Some 2011 lessons I want to carry forward:

    • Focused effort yields tangible results
    • I need community. Being an solopreneur can lead to periods of isolation, which in excess, aren’t good for me
    • Evernote can help me be even more effective

Step Three—Creating the New

Imagine ahead to December 2012 and write a list of your wins, successes and breakthroughs for 2012. Consider each area of your life, be specific and write them as though they have already happened.

Combined with this, some clients love to do a creative exercise. This might take the form of a poem, story, collage, or drawing—anything that captures the essence and excitement of where you want to go in the next year.

A few of my wins, successes and breakthroughs for 2012:

    • developed personal coaching side of business, serving 7-10 clients consistently
    • volunteered 1-2 times/month
    • reduced paper to one filing cabinet
    • practiced Sabbath (one full day off/week)

After you work through these steps, use your new wins, successes and breakthroughs to formulate new goals for 2012.

*Exercise developed by Lynn Meinke.

What questions do you find helpful in reflecting on the past and moving into the future?