New Year's Day is nearly here and offers the promise of great things to come.

Since it falls on a Wednesday the business week won't likely get started until next Monday, which gives you a few days extra to get ready for the 2014 adventure ahead.

Sure, you could simply nurse a hangover and relax through Sunday, but why not take the extra time to truly prepare yourself to create a desired future worthy of your time and energy?

Here are three actions critical to a promising new beginning.

1. Reflect

Many people will push right into the New Year with no respect or consideration for the last 365 days. No doubt, victories were had, mistakes were made, relationships came and went and, most importantly, lessons were learned. Take time to consciously reflect upon the major incidents of 2013. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What did I do to most contribute to my successes?
  • What did I do to most contribute to my failures?
  • What would I do differently given the same set of circumstances?
  • Who were the people worthy of my time and effort?
  • With whom did I spend time where I received no value?
  • In what ways did I not measure up to my potential?
  • What will I most fondly remember about 2013?
  • For what will I be rightly proud?

2. Repent

Nobody is perfect. Most try their best to be useful, pleasant and to contribute in a positive way. But we are all human beings, and with humanity come failings, flaws, selfishness, greed and discontent. The New Year is a time to recognize our shortcomings and acknowledge our own accountability in the parts of our experience that leave us unsatisfied and unkind to those around us. Ask yourself the following questions and take appropriate action.

  • What are the areas I need to improve?
  • Who have I hurt and how can I rectify the situation?
  • Who and what are truly important and worthy of my dedicated attention in 2014?

3. Renew

Clearing your mind and heart of weight helps give you energy and allows you to focus on the path ahead. This is the time to make commitments you will keep. No empty promises. Be the person you truly wish to be and let this be the year you begin that journey. My own journey has brought great joy and gratification from the many people around me who continue to inspire and amaze me. Go into this New Year with hope and wonder.  Ask these questions of the world:

  • Who will be my inspiration this year?
  • What new adventures are ahead?
  • Where are the new lessons to learn?
  • How will I be able to contribute in a significant manner?

For additional reflection and support, here are suggestions from 10 of my most popular 2013 columns. Find out how the best employees make a difference with 10 Things Really Amazing Employees Do. Then learn how you can be worthy of amazing employees with 10 Things Really Amazing Bosses Do. Leadership and success go together. Learn how in 8 Things Really Successful People Do, and find out how culture can make you a more successful leader in 4 Great Leadership Lessons from the Arts.

As you'll find, communication is the key attribute for success. Learn how to get people seeing it your way in 7 Things Really Persuasive People Do. You can help bring people along in a more compelling manner with 5 Tips for Giving Really Amazing Presentations. And if you are still struggling to get your point across, learn from the best in 7 Things Really Amazing Communicators do.

Continuing on the leadership theme, you can examine the leader/follower relationship in 10 Traits of Great Leaders (and Their Followers). If you are struggling with being successful as either, perhaps it's the way you are starting out. Use 7 Ways to Improve Your First Impression to get going on the right foot. And if all this reading seems overwhelming, start with 8 Things Really Efficient People Do and get going in the New Year with time to spare.

Thanks to all of you for generously supporting me this year.  I hope to bring you at least as much value and entertainment in 2014.  May you have a blessed and rewarding year.

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