Happy New Year! I wish you happiness and good health in the year ahead.
I love the beginning of a new year. For me, it’s an opportunity to wipe the slate clean, approach life with renewed energy and focus on what I want to achieve and experience in the days and months ahead.
New Year’s Resolutions
At a party on New Year’s Eve I asked several people if they had made New Year’s resolutions but nobody had. In fact, it was difficult getting anyone to talk about resolutions, as it’s an area laden with associations of failure, guilt, lack of motivation and so on. After all, what is the point of making resolutions when they’re just going to be forgotten after a few weeks?
Last year I decided to take a different approach to New Year’s resolutions and focus on what I wanted MORE of in my life. I wanted more:
- fun and laughter with friends
- intimate connection with my partner
- long distance walks in the countryside
- fitness and energy
- writing and blogging
- beauty in the garden
Apart from not earning more income, I experienced more of all of those things – it was a wonderful year and the summer of 2013 will live on in my memory as one of the best summers ever.
There is something to be said for the simplicity of setting an intention and going after what you want. Of course, I still experienced ill health, adversity and a family bereavement along the way, but my abiding memory of 2013 will be the fun, love and laughter I experienced with my partner and friends.
Your Best Year Yet!
This year, I felt the need to be more strategic and focused in what I want to achieve in 2014 and so I’ve returned to my usual method of planning for the year ahead.
This involves answering all ten questions in Jinny S. Ditzler’s book Your Best Year Yet! Ten questions for making the next twelve months your most successful ever. If you need a little help kick-starting your year, I can’t recommend this book highly enough!
The ten questions posed in Your Best Year Yet! are:
1. What did I accomplish?
2. What were my biggest disappointments?
3. What did I learn?
4. How do I limit myself, and how can I stop?
5. What are my personal values?
6. What roles do I play in my life?
7. Which role is my major focus for the next year?
8. What are my goals for each role?
9. What are my top ten goals for the next year?
10. How can I make sure I achieve them?
In order to make the most of these questions you really do need to read the book and spend time reflecting on each area.
Reflection, Acknowledgement, Clarity and Structure
What I love about Your Best Year Yet! is how the questions allow you to reflect over the past year first, acknowledging your achievements and, most importantly, honing in on what you learned from both successes and disappointments.
If you put in the time and do the work, the experience of Your Best Year Yet! is like an intensive workshop with a great life coach.
The beauty of the system is that it encourages you to examine your whole life, including your values and the different roles you play, so that you are able to set goals that have great personal meaning for you. The overall effect is that you are able to obtain great clarity on what you want in your life as well as the structure as to how you’re going to achieve it.
What I Learned from 2013
In spite of enjoying so much of 2013, when I did the exercise I was surprised to discover that my disappointments and lessons learned far outnumbered my accomplishments.
What I learned during the course of the exercise was that:
- Time management is a difficult area for me. I don’t manage my time very well which often leads to feelings of overwhelm and getting even less done.
- I am surrounded by too much clutter. It’s time to tidy up and simplify.
- I want to honour my writing. It is the thing I most love doing, most want to do, but all too often it is the last thing I prioritise.
- I have still not lost the extra two stone I’ve been lugging around with me for the past nine years and it’s having a negative effect on my self-esteem.
First Steps towards Achieving my Goals
I won’t bore you with a long list of all my goals, but starting from this week I’ve taken some steps towards achieving them.
I’ve started setting monthly and weekly goals and writing everything down on a weekly planner.
I’ve enrolled on a writing course at City University and have set the intention to do writing first thing every morning, before everything else gets in the way.
And, I’m currently reading The 2-Day Diet and getting to grips with it and compiling my grocery list before embarking on it next week. (I’ll let you know how I get on in a future blog post.)
Those are just a few ways in which working through the questions in Your Best Year Yet! has helped me to focus on what I want to achieve or change in 2014. It’s going to be a busy year!
What are your resolutions or goals for 2014? Do you have any? Whatever the case may be, I hope that 2014 is your best year yet.
If you made any resolutions, have tried Your Best Year Yet! or have any great tips for New Year’s resolutions, I’d love to hear from you. Please share your thoughts and leave a comment in the box below.