• Rob Balaam

A New Year is a Coming!


It is already December, and another year has flown by! Maybe yours was everything you thought it would be. Maybe it did not quite measure up to your expectations.

It is time to review your year and plan the year in advance. The first step in designing the coming year with intention is to look back and evaluate this one.

Exercise: Design Your Year with Intention

For this exercise you will need several blank sheers of paper or a devoted space in a journal.

Label the first page “2016 In Review.”

First, make a list down the left margin using the following life areas:

  • Career

  • Friends and Family

  • Significant Other/Spouse

  • Personal Growth

  • Fun and Recreation

  • Home Environment

  • Finances

  • Physical Health

Feel free to add any other categories that pop into your mind.

Next, think about the year to date for each of your life areas. Reflect on what worked well and what could have worked better. What do you need to add and what needs to be deleted in each area? This is not about beating yourself up. Instead, the goal here is to be gentle and objective.

Take 15 to 30 minutes to write out your reflections in each area. Use as many pieces of paper as you need.

Now put the paper away for at least 24 hours. I suggest a week. It is important that you take some time away and not peak at what you’ve written.

*&&&&&*

After a period of at least 24 hours, it is time to revisit your observations. Retrieve your papers and carefully reread what you wrote for each area. Take some time to ruminate in your head on the following questions:

  • Is there anything to add or change?

  • In which areas could you have reflected more or more honestly?

  • In which areas were you too hard on yourself?

  • What stands out as a theme to you? Start by looking for any triumphs or frustrations that reappear in multiple areas.

The 24 hours or more that you stepped away from your writing will offer you fresh eyes and fresh insights.

Next, turn to a fresh page where you will journal for another 15 to 30 minutes. This is a space to celebrate the positive aspects of the past year. Use the following questions to guide your writing:

  • What were your successes, both big and small, this past year?

  • What made you proud of yourself this year?

  • What do you feel grateful for in 2016?

*&&&&&*

Now it is time to move from that year that was to the year that will be.

Turn to a new page and label it “Success In 2017.”

First, take 15 to 30 minutes and free write about what a successful 2017 will be like for you. The following questions and suggestions can guide your writing:

  • What will a successful 2017 look like for you?

  • How will it feel?

  • What specifically will happen in a successful 2017?

  • Who is there that you already know?

  • Who is there that you do not know yet?

Use this space to really get lost in imagining your best 2017, and remember to utilize at least 15 minutes or more.

Next, on a new page you will make this familiar list of life areas down the left margin:

  • Career

  • Friends and Family

  • Significant Other/Spouse

  • Personal Growth

  • Fun and Recreation

  • Home Environment

  • Finances

  • Physical Health

Include any new categories that you added to your initial list.

Finally, go through each life area and use your writing to paint a rich picture of what your life will be like at the end of 2017. What will success look like in each category? What do you want to happen? What will you be grateful for and how will you feel? Use your earlier reflections to inform these predictions.

Also include the things you wanted in 2016 but which did not happen. Consider that those things will continue to not happen unless you express them here. By writing these predictions, you are giving yourself permission to have what you want in the coming year

Now put the paper away for at least 24 hours. I suggest a week. It is important that you take some time away and not peak at what you’ve written.

*&&&&&*

After a period of at least 24 hours, it is time to revisit your predictions for 2017. Retrieve your papers and carefully reread what you wrote for each area about the year ahead. Take some time to reflect in your head around the following questions:

  • Is there anything to add or change?

  • Is there a new theme for the new year?

  • Where are you still holding back?

  • Where can you think bigger?

Once you have spent some time mulling over your predictions, you can move on to making your successful new year a reality with the final steps of this exercise.

Make a Plan

Turn to a fresh page and label “2017Action Items.”

For each life area, devise and commit to 2 actions you will execute in 2017 that will bring you closer to your desired changes. These must be concrete and measurable actions, and they must be in service of making positive changes in the new year. These are your action items. Write them on your paper. Highlight them! Draw stars around them! Make your action items a priority. When will you have your 2 action items completed in each life area? Pick dates in 2017 and them down.

Accountability and Support

Who is going to support you while you achieve your action items? Who are you going to tell about them? You must share your goals. Choose partners who will help you stay focused. Commit their names to writing, and describe how you will ask your partner(s) to keep you accountable.

Attach your 2017 predictions and action items to your refrigerator or bathroom mirror. Put them somewhere you can see them every day, and look at them often. As you accomplish action items, add new ones to the list.

Remember it is crucial that you share your goals with someone. Be vocal and communicative about what you want in 2017. This provides the support and accountability to have the year you want. Consider doing this “Year of Intention Exercise” with a friend and then being each other’s accountability partners. Also consider hiring a coach to be in your corner. Working with a coach is the best way to develop and maintain successful road maps in your life and career.

Creating the coming year with intention and goals makes you responsible for your own fulfilling life. You deserve the life you want, so it is time to go get it!


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