I love December. It's my favorite month of the year--not because of the holidays, but because it's the perfect time to reinvent myself and my business for the New Year. There's something incredibly special about New Years--the opportunity to start with a fresh slate--and (being the dreamer and planner that I am), December is when those new opportunities solidify in my mind.
1. Dream Time
With all of the year-end responsibilities you may have, one of my most-important year-end strategies is taking time to relax and rejuvenate. If you can take the last 2 weeks of the year off (or at least step back from your normal responsibilities), you can give yourself the mental space to daydream. While it may have gotten a bad rap in school, daydreaming can be a creative exercise used strategically to inspire and inform your future.
2. New Year's Intentions
I've never been a believer in New Year's Resolutions; instead, I like to set New Year's Intentions. An intention differs from a resolution both in spirit and in practicality. Let's face it, most New Year's Resolutions are abandoned by February. They tend to be along the lines of "I will exercise 3 times a week and eat a salad every day," in other words, they're uninspiring and difficult to keep. Anyone who's ever had a gym membership knows that January is the worst time to go to the gym because of all the people who joined as a New Year's resolution. If you're a regular gym member however, you know that people will drop out quickly, and by March, you'll have all the space you need again.
New Year's Intentions however, set the tone for the upcoming year. For example, instead of a resolution to exercise and eat healthy, you might set the intention of listening to your body and making healthier choices. This is not only easier to stick with over the course of a year, but it can be used to guide your decision-making in any given moment. Setting a resolution you don't realistically expect to keep is setting yourself up for failure and accepting that failure long before it occurs.
3. Marketing & Events Calendar
Sometime in August I usually start planning my marketing and events for the upcoming year. In the last quarter, I start booking my events and planning my marketing strategies for the next year based on this year's successes, failures, and with the anticipation of what the next year will bring. I typically have a rough 5-year plan in my mind, but December is when all the pieces get finalized in the next year's plan.
If you haven't planned out next year's marketing and events, now's the time to do it. You don't have to know every last date (though if you do, that's even better!), but sketch out the most important dates and events for next year. Personally, I like to use a spreadsheet so I can see everything on one page. I put the months across the top and days 1-31 down the left side, and then I fill in my events and campaigns, based on importance and expected ROI (return on investment). This way you have an overview of your year, and know what you're working towards.
If you start to plan the New Year in the last week of December, you may feel a little overwhelmed, but it's not too late. Take a little time to daydream, set your intentions, and simply outline what you want to accomplish in the New Year. That's much better than setting resolutions you know you're going to give up on anyway.
Have a Happy and Prosperous New Year!
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