It is almost the end of another year. Christmas has passed once again. We’re in the gap between the holidays. It can feel like a strange time of year. Many of us wrestle with the “Christmas hangover.” We feel disoriented on what day it is and what just happened amidst the frenzy of parties and other holiday events. We often need to detox from all the delicious, but unhealthy foods we’ve eaten. Because of this, we can miss a golden opportunity we have each year to reflect on the past 12 months and look ahead to the future.
Many people want each new year to be different, but they don’t do anything different to achieve that. For many, life is a continual repeat of the same things. Yes, time marches on. We get older. But do we become better, wiser, and more prosperous in all aspects of life?
So, what can we do right now in the final days of this year in order to prepare for an amazing new year?
1 – Reflect
First, do a personal year-end review of your life. Some people do this by reviewing the details of their calendars. Others review their journal entries. I do a combination of things. I enjoy sitting in the quiet of my home office and ask God to remind me of what He has done and taught me over the past year. Whatever works for you, be intentional in reviewing the year that is concluding. If you don’t know where you’re coming from, you will be at a disadvantage in moving forward.
2 – Dream
After you have reflected on the past, get in a quiet place to pray and think. Dream about what the next year can bring. Ask God to reveal to you His plans for your next 12 months. Vision is critical to growth. John Maxwell wrote this in his commentary on Isaiah 4 in The Maxwell Leadership Bible – “A strong God-given vision drove all the worthwhile accomplishments recorded in the Bible.” Without vision, we find ourselves wandering aimlessly. With a clear vision, we can take intentional action steps toward achieving it. Don’t overlook the power of dreaming. It is what leads to the world’s greatest achievements.
3 – Define
Once you have a clear vision, define the action steps that are required to achieve it. Break them into quarterly, monthly, weekly, and daily actions. A great resource to go farther faster is The 12 Week Year by Brian Moran. He teaches how to make each quarter of the year an intentional action plan by viewing it as if each one were a year in itself. Defining clear action steps will help you make significant progress while others wander in various directions hoping to stumble on success.
4 – Advance
Having a vision and action steps is vital, but you now must decide to move forward. This takes courage. While many people say they want their lives to be different, they are afraid to take action because it will require them to become better, stronger, and different. It is impossible to advance forward without becoming a better version of yourself. It has been said, “What got you here won’t get you there.” God uses vision to stretch us and shape us into who He created us to be. It takes courage to get on the potter’s wheel and be reshaped into a better version of yourself.
5 – Document
Writing down your journey in the coming year will help you reflect this time next year. Whether you document electronically or with paper and pen doesn’t matter. Choose your best method and do it. Write down key activities and results. Write down significant interactions. Write out your prayers. Write down what you did each day so you can begin to see trends that hinder or benefit you. Your journal will become your personal history book that allows you to reflect but also gives your descendants a glimpse into your life so they can learn and grow as well.
The next year can be better than this year. Even if you’ve had a fantastic year, it can be better! If it’s been difficult, you want it to be better! But next year will be no different than this year if you simply go through the motions. If you only allow outside factors to influence your life, you’ll be blown around like a ship on the sea without a clear destination. You will end up somewhere, but will it be where you want to go? Take the above action steps and see what God will do in, for, with, and through you in the new year!
Until next time, make today GREAT!
P.S. If you need help developing a personal growth plan or implementing a leadership development program for your team, please contact me. I’d love to talk with you to determine how I can help!