It’s the last day of the year and I feel incredibly good about moving into a new year. Partly because 2018 was a tough year for me, but a big part is because I’ve spent some time over the last month reflecting on 2018 and thinking about 2019. Not so much setting goals for 2019, as that’s something I’ll do more on a monthly basis, but thinking about the big picture and setting some intentions for the year ahead.
So before I tell you what I did, I want to note the importance of writing stuff down. If you’re going to do something like this, write it down, don’t just think about it. There’s plenty of research out there about the impact of writing things down, and just trust me, it works. It really helps bring clarity to what you are doing, and cements it in your head.
Here’s what I did:
1. 2018 REVIEW
- Describe the year. In detail or in dot points, it’s up to you. What happened? How did it make you feel?
- If you’re tracking any measurable goals, write down the numbers you hit (e.g., number of kilos lost, number of networking events you attended, number of followers, etc.).
- Note what you are grateful for from 2018. Even if the year was crap for you, you can pull good things out of it.
- Write down your wins. What did you do that was better than the previous year? What did you achieve?
- Note your learnings. Just like gratitude, you can find learnings even in the toughest year.
- Split your page in two vertically. On one side, write down everything positive about the year—good things that happened, things you enjoyed doing. On the other side, write the negative—things you didn’t enjoy, things that drained your energy.
- Thank the year. Write down all the things that you are thanking the year for doing for you, whether positive or negative. When it comes to the negative, you might thank 2018 for teaching you how to deal with those things, or for allowing you to become more resilient, or for teaching you what really matters and what doesn’t.
2. 2019 THEME
- Think about how you want to feel in 2019. Not want you want to have, or achieve, or do, but how you want to feel. Start listing a bunch of words or phrases that sum up how you want to feel.
- Underline or highlight the words that you feel most strongly about. Chances are that they all revolve around a particular theme. Try to narrow this down to one word that really sums things up, and a bunch of supporting words. That is your theme for the year. Write it somewhere where you can see it every day, and use it to remind you how you want to feel. When you start doing things that aren’t in alignment with that theme, use it to refocus and decide what’s important and what isn’t.
3. FUTURE YOU
Imagine yourself 12 months from today and brainstorm on the following:
- How do you look, feel, act? What does a typical day look like?
- Where are you at, physically, mentally, emotionally, financially? How are you relationships? What does your career look like?
- What did you have to do to get yourself to this point? What did you focus on? What did you have to sacrifice? What did you have to prioritise?
- As you do this, keep your theme in mind. ‘Future you’ feels exactly the way you described in your 2019 theme and focus words.
4. 2019 FOCUS AREAS
- Use what you’ve written above to determine your focus areas for 2019. Don’t try to focus on too much at once. Pick the ones that will have the biggest impact towards getting you to become ‘future you’ and to live that theme. For each focus area, note the main goals to be achieved.
- Note down how you are going to work on those focus areas. How will you make time and space in your life for them? Do you need to be more intentional with the content you consume on social media? Do you need to use time blocking to ensure you work on your goals consistently? Do you need to prioritise sleep, exercise, or healthy eating? Do you need to curb your spending? Do you need to declutter? Do you need to let go of perfectionism, the need to be right, or the need to have everyone like you?
5. VISION BOARD
- Get crafty. Find pictures that sum up how you want to feel in 2019, or what you want in your life and stick them up where you will see them every day. You can find images in magazines, or print them off from an Internet search. Don’t forget to include your 2019 theme and supporting words.
- This is important! Again, there’s more research out there about how having things displayed visually helps our subconscious mind to stay focused on what we want, which allows us to spot opportunities to make it all happen. Don’t skip this step! If you’re embarrassed about having it on display in your home, put it inside your wardrobe door, or inside a notebook. You can even do an electronic version and set it as your computer or phone wallpaper or screensaver. Personally, I like the tactility of cutting and sticking pictures, but as long as you see it every day then do what works for you!
Doing this exercise, and again I emphasise the importance of actually writing it all down, left me feeling really positive about moving from 2018 to 2019. I leave behind the tough times, but I take the learnings with me. It wasn’t a waste of a year, it was just setting me up for a really amazing 2019. As tough as 2018 was, I’m not going to hate on it, because so many good things came out of it. And now I’m really clear on how I want 2019 to feel, and how I’m going to guide it there, through focus, setting priorities, and letting go of the stuff that doesn’t fit.
I wish my readers the very best in 2019, and I do hope that you’ll do the exercise above, or something similar, to help you say goodbye to 2018 and to set your intentions for 2019. Please do let me know if you try it and how you felt about it!