Around the globe, it’s standard practice to celebrate a new year. This shot of my husband, Bill, is from a memorable and epic New Year’s Eve celebration on a cruise ship many years ago. If you listen closely, you’ll hear Kool and the Gang’s “Celebration” blasting in the background!
Once the party is cleaned up, though, every expert in town will tell you it’s time to get going with your resolutions, intentions, and goals for the year. And that’s good advice. But time and time again, I see how overwhelming that can get for my clients.
So instead, let’s focus on small, bite-sized bits to get started. Here is a five-step checklist that will help you ease into the transition of the new year. These simple steps are designed to keep you focused and ensure you’re consistently moving in the right direction.
1. Pause and wrap-up 2020 to clear the path for a brand new year
Wow, what a year we’ve all had. Before diving into 2021, take some time to ceremoniously acknowledge 2020 – the lessons, the learnings, the discoveries. Honor the good stuff, as well as the not-so-good stuff.
For example, highlight the relationships you carefully and joyfully nurtured…and at the same time, call-out the grief you experienced when the pandemic derailed life as you knew it. Most importantly, celebrate what went well and the moments that brought you joy. When you come from a place of gratitude, you naturally create a foundation for new and wonderful things to unfold. As Oprah Winfrey said, “The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.”
2. Choose your 2021 word of the year to keep you focused
Looking ahead, think of a word or phrase you’d like to have as the cornerstone or focus for 2021. Here are a few examples I’ve heard from clients: “Simplicity”, “Balance”, “Breathe”. Once you land on a word or phrase, let that be your guide for the decisions you make, goals you set for the new year, and ways you ‘show up’ to life.
If your word is “Adventure”, that might serve as a beacon encouraging you to accept that skiing invitation from a friend. Have fun with this one! You can always try this out with family, friends, or co-workers to create more purposeful and meaningful conversation.
What’s your 2021 word of the year?
3. Decide where to say ‘no’ and where to say ‘yes’ in order to stay on-track
One of my favorite quotes by Sandra Sharpe is, “What do you pack to pursue a dream and what do you leave behind?” Think of a suitcase, literally, for 2021. What’s a non-negotiable item that must be packed and brought along with you? For example: Self-care, healthy boundaries, exercise. And which items are important to leave behind and not bring with you into the new year? For example: Self-doubt, comparing yourself to others, checking the phone too much. If one of the things you decide not to pack includes excess time on social media, that’s your cue to be mindful of limiting your time online.
4. Begin With the End in Mind to fuel positive life milestones
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People author, Stephen Covey, encourages us to begin with the ‘end in mind’. So, look ahead and imagine that it’s December 31, 2021 – the end of this new year, and you feel good about your year and all that has unfolded. What does it feel like? How does it look? What are you happy about? Next, decide what needs to happen, between now and then, to ensure you have that same special feeling in December.
The more you focus on the end in mind, the more likely you are to actually create that reality for yourself, beginning now. If my end-of-the-year vision includes the completion of writing a novel, it would be a good idea to make sure I have time set aside throughout the year to get ‘er done! As Albert Einstein said: “Imagine is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.”
5. Schedule regular check-ins to set you up for success
It’s easy to lose sight of what’s important and get lost in the noise, distraction, and busy-ness of life. But not if you have processes and a system set-up to keep you accountable! Some LifeShine clients like to schedule a time for themselves on Sunday evening. It’s their way to look at the week ahead and ensure that they’re on top of their game and in charge of their week (vs. their week being in charge of them). Some clients do a similar procedure at the end of each day, in preparation for the next day.
It doesn’t matter when you do it – either way, once you’ve clarified your focus and intention for the year; it’s essential to stay on top of it. Just like your GPS recalibrates if you take a wrong turn, self check-ins are the perfect opportunity to make sure you’re en route to your desired destination (see #4).
Need objective guidance and support to keep you on-track and accountable?
These five simple steps, when done together, are a sure-fire way to guarantee an awesome year. Of course, having a Life Coach check-in with you each week is a great idea, too! :) If you’re ready to experience an amazing 2021, but you’ve lost that spark and aren’t quite sure how to best move forward – LifeShine is here! Sign-up for a FREE Get Acquainted Call today to share your situation and see how LifeShine can help.
Here’s to a fantastic 2021 – with love and a cheering section!