For many 2016 was tough year. In the midst of an often chaotic international scene and the death of multiple icons, many have a bleak outlook about the recent past. Throw in the uncertainty of heading into 2017, and many might not find it the sunniest of horizons.
But it doesn't have to be that way. Regardless of your context, good or bad, you have the most influence in your own life. Almost anyone can live a rich and rewarding one on his or her own terms. Here are a few things that you can do as you say goodbye to 2016 and prepare to make the 365 days starting on January 1st truly fruitful and amazing.
1. Evaluate your opportunities.
Once the festivities come to an end it is highly likely that your life will make the slow but sure return to normalcy. If you just walk right back into the day to day with the same perspective as you had before the holiday break, then chances are that you will overlook many obvious opportunities. Use any free time you might have, including what is left of your holiday downtime, to reflect and to make a list of every potential opportunity that can improve your life and business. You don't have to pursue every one. You may even have to put aside one or two, but this exercise will help you take stock of what is out there and prep you for when something amazing comes knocking on your door.
2. Plan to eliminate two or three obstacles.
There is always some difficulty waiting to get in the way of success. Big or small, overcoming those obstacles requires focus and commitment. Take stock of who or what got in the way of your success in 2016. Chances are a few of these same obstacles will show their ugly faces in 2017 as well. Pick three that you can work on over the next 90 days and get a jump on them. Start with the hurdles where you have the most control: your own bad habits.
3. Identify two to three new skills you'll begin to master.
Nothing satisfies quite like mastering a challenging skill. It not only boosts confidence and creates a sense of accomplishment, but the right learning shortens the distance to an intended goal. Simply put, people who don't grow, don't get anywhere. Figure out a couple of new skills that will boost your profile and usefulness to those around you. Budget the time in 2017 to ensure you have the necessary hours to make it happen. You will be a stronger and more fulfilled person.
4. Set Your Priorities for Q1
If you don't have a clear purpose in mind the moment the clock ticks midnight on January 1, then you are already losing time in finding a course for next New Year. Take a few hours to identify the five priorities that will advance your journey this year. Write out your top five initiatives for the next three months and post them on the wall by your desk. Take a picture and make it the home screen on your smart phone. Post them on your mirror and by your computer monitor. Then watch as they get accomplished in no time.
5. Clean up the clutter
The most disorganized collector can get a much-needed boost from a freshly cleaned workspace or home. If you look through your desk, you'll probably find papers/coupons/receipts that have long been dealt with or expired. Move as much important paperwork to electronic filing as possible. Online banking, faxes, and signatures will not only get rid of the mess, but will clear your view, your mind, and might even save a tree or two.
6. Get Rid of at Least One Useless Practice or Policy
Nearly everyone has daily activities that are inefficient or even unnecessary. These practices often go unnoticed thanks to inertia and the force of habit. Sit with a loved one, mentor, colleague, or friend and list out your personal or professional activities. Get specific about processes. Brainstorm together how to eliminate or refine things to create efficiency. The more bureaucracy you remove, the more you'll wonder why you were foolishly doing things that way in the first place.
7. Find resolution for personal conflicts.
There was a lot of tension in 2016; No doubt you have some unresolved personal strife that needs to be attended to. Do not enter 2017 with unresolved business, which will cause distraction and sap you of energy to initiate new projects and ideas.
8. Reflect on Your Failures
No one had a perfect 2016, professionally or personally. You undoubtedly made some mistakes, like everyone else. Being aware of them is crucial to your success in 2017. Look back at those mistakes and failures. Analyze them and be honest and accountable about where things wrong. Remember: we learn more from our mistakes than our successes.
9. Reflect on Your Successes
Don't just look at what went wrong...embrace what went right as well and the why of both! Not only will it teach you the lessons for moving forward with other projects, but will provide you insight on how to improve next time a similar situation arises.
10. Reach out to the people you want by your side in 2017
No one arrives at success alone. It's possible you already have exactly the right people in your life to get you there. More likely you're still working on building an optimal team. Now is the time to take stock of those in your world and make the necessary changes. Send and email, shoot a text via your favorite social network, or just pick up the phone and call at least 3 people with whom you can create mutual excellence next year.
11. Ring in the New Year in Style.
You want a great 2017? Then make sure you start it off in style. Host a party. Go somewhere you've never been. Do something you've never done. Be with the people you love. Invite strangers who need some love. Open up that bottle that's been hanging out in your wine rack waiting for the right moment. They say that setting the tone is always the key to what happens afterward.