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How I Prepare for the New Year (And you can too!)

The New Year is full of pregnant optimism.  So many of us are full of hopeful goals and exciting plans.  Unfortunately most of us don’t “make good” on many of these.  Be honest- when was the last time you made a New Year's resolution that you carried forward more than one week?  It's shocking how bad we are when it comes to resolutions.

I’m not going into the science of this as there are plenty of others who will do this in the days leading up to New Year’s.

Rather, here’s a simple list that I use as I review the year:

  1. Throw away all that you can.  If you haven't used it in a while, just toss it.  No one will miss it- seriously.
  2. Find joy in a “stop doing” list.  This one is the best!  Stop doing some things in the New Year.  This might be anything from "stop being so hard on yourself" to "stop missing dinner with your family".  What do you need to stop doing in the New Year?
  3. Clean out your email once and for all.  Even if it means you have to declare email bankruptcy, decide today that you won't keep more than a screen's worth of email.
  4. Stop reading what you started reading but can’t seem to finish.  Just put it on the shelf.  If it calls out to you at a later date, you can finish it then.
  5. Resolve to be simple, productive, and powerful.  This mantra is really important- taking a simple approach to your work and career is important- it keeps you focused.  This results in greater productivity which then makes you have more agency.  Agency = power.
  6. Revisit your long-range plans and goals.  Since you probably don't connect with these every day, it's important to go back to the "why" behind what you're doing with your work.  Where do you want to be?  When do you want to retire?  Do you feel good about what you're currently doing?
  7. Begin counting your journal entries from 1.  I started this just a year ago...restart your journaling from 1 on January 1.  It tells your brain that you're starting new stuff which will then cue your body (and mind) to do new things.

With these seven actions in mind, I recommend ramping up towards the New Year.  Take some time to get reflective and mindful as you “close out” the year gone by.  Celebrate what’s gone well.  Toss what hasn’t.  Be honest with your own shortcomings and be gentle with yourself at the same time.

Finally, remember your spiritual core.  Being a person of gratitude will never go out of style and connecting with God will always be a good career move- it makes you more attractive because you are in the business of finding good in all situations.