5 Ways to Look Back On the Old Year as You Write New Year’s Resolutions

It’s one of my favorite days of every year. December 31st. A day to reflect on everything that’s gone right over the past 351 days and evaluate how to ensure the next 352 days bring more success. It’s also a day full of family traditions, including teaching our toddler how to celebrate this amazing journey called life.

If you find yourself with a few extra hours for yourself, follow these five steps to help ensure you’re on the right track for your New Year’s journey.

Step 1: Review Your Personal Goals from Last Year

One of the things I used to neglect writing when it came time to evaluate my goals was personal things I would like to achieve in the new year. When I finally started doing them, I failed epically because I wrote down too many goals. This year I am only going to focus on one new personal goal. Should I master it before the end of the year, I will adopt a new goal when it is accomplished.

This past year I failed to achieve the two personal goals I had set for myself. My first goal was to read one new book a month. I only read seven new books this year, and while I learned a lot from them, I cheated myself out of five opportunities to learn even more.

My second goal was the lofty and trite goal of losing weight. The extra pounds I have packed on due to the sedentary lifestyle I have adopted not only make me feel like a sloth, but they make me uncomfortable in my own skin. And yet, exercise and weight loss were the one goal I failed to work on or achieve over the last 12 months.

This year my personal goal is to live a healthier lifestyle, and I will achieve it. It will be measured by two things. First, I will exercise at least 30 minutes a day. Second, I will lose the 20 extra pounds I have put on over the last three years.

Step 2: Review Your Family Goals from Last Year

Perhaps the most important goal you can review and write anew is your goal as a member of your family. I added this into my mix of goals three years ago when I realized my work ethic had trumped my ability to be part of my family. As I looked back that year I realized not only had I allowed my career to monopolize holidays and special events, I had also severely missed out on many of the firsts as a mom to the dedication to growing a career. I’m thankful I realized it before my daughter was completely grown. In that moment, family goals became the second goal I reflect on and write every year.

Last year my goal was to take our first real family vacation to somewhere that would allow us all to unplug and spend quality time together. Our mission was accomplished in December when we went on a 7-night Disney Cruise.

This year my goal is to implement one date night and one Mommy-Daughter day a month into our busy lives. There are times I know I lose sight of both being a wife and a mom, and my commitment to making both a priority has got to change.

Step 3: Review Your Career Goals from Last Year

Professionally, I had a fairly successful year this year growing from a doer into a leader and department manager. I still have some work to do, but I’m proud of the strides I made.

I failed this year to reach my professional goal of becoming a published children’s author. I’ve already written the book and have multiple ideas to support it. But I allowed those things to sit on a shelf.

My career goal this year is to dedicate one hour a day during the week to reaching this goal. I recognize I still have a full-time career as a marketing manager and that needs my focus during the day. But my commitment is to getting up one hour earlier with a focus on completing my published children’s book by July and marketing it by the holidays.

Step 4: Write New Goals for the New Year and Share Them

You may have noticed that I just shared with you my top three goals for the New Year. It is my hope that as we interact, you will ask me how I am coming along at achieving them.

Many people will tell you not to share your goals. There is risk in sharing them. A lot of the people that you love won’t want you to fail, so in their best defense, they will hold you back from succeeding with their words. But that’s okay. Recognize them and push out their negative energy. It’s your life, so live it.

I have found it is important to share your goals because in doing so, you open the doors to the possibility of finding the people who can help you on your journey, and also by sharing, you welcome in a new level of accountability.

Step 5: Celebrate Your Victories

The reason I absolutely love celebrating on New Year’s Eve is it’s the one celebration each year that celebrates your life’s accomplishments. It’s a holiday about reflection and forward thinking.

This evening we will pop a few fireworks on our back porch with our daughter in some extra chilly temperatures. We will watch her excitement as the colors explode. Then we will change into our warm pajamas and head to our bedroom for my favorite family tradition. We will open the curtains on our picture window, put lots of pillows on our bed, and snuggle together as a family watching fireworks around our neighborhood explode in the pitch black night around us. In between shows sponsored unknowingly by our neighbors, we will watch cartoon countdowns on Netflix.

At some point, our toddler will become tired, and we will tuck her into her own bed. The excitement of the holiday season and all this year has brought for us will come to an end as we drift off to sweet dreams about our new year of hope and promise.

So tonight, as you cheer in the New Year in whatever form or fashion you choose, raise an extra toast to you for everything you’ve accomplished and everything that you will accomplish in the coming year.

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