Yes, we’re about to turn the calendar page on another year. If, as Johnny Mathis once told us, “Life is what you make it,” then what will you make it in the year to come? Here are a few tips you can implement immediately to set the stage for your most awesome year yet.


PHASE 1 – RING OUT THE OLD.  There’s no room for new projects, ideas, and successes until you clean out the remnants of 2017.  Clean out the old year and you’ll be making space for what can happen the New Year. Here are your action steps.

  1. Wrap up loose ends. Complete those small nagging projects you’ve been putting off. Make the phone calls, answer the emails, and turn in expense reports.
  2. Organize your space. Clean up your desk, put away old papers, toss dated files and generally straighten your physical area. Everything you get rid of creates space for new, exciting ideas to be born.
  3. Congratulate yourself. You’ve undoubtedly had some successes in 2017. Write them down. Notice what you can build on in the year ahead. List the things you’ve learned, the ways you’ve grown. Write down your missteps too, and mentally let them go.
  4. Just say no—or yes. What do you really WANT to do in 2018? Say a polite “no” to projects and activities that will drain you and say an enthusiastic “yes” to the things you really want.
  5. Keep in touch. Before you take your holiday break, turn on voice mail and email autoresponders so people know you are away. Let people know when you’ll be back in touch. You don’t want start the new year with an inbox full of unpleasant surprises.


PHASE 2 – TAKE A BREAK. You deserve some kick-back time. Take a few days for relaxation and renewal. You will return to work feeling energized and excited about the year ahead.

  1. Give up Facebook and Twitter and limit your email check to once a day, if you must. This gives your brain a chance to recharge and redirect. It activates new neuron paths and creates new ways of thinking.
  2. Reconnect with what you love. Personal interaction with family and friends is another way to recharge. Get back to some hobbies and activities you enjoy. Have fun.
  3. Reinforce your network. It’s a great time to send greetings to those you want to keep in your network. How about sending “thank you for being in my life” cards instead of the traditional holiday greeting?
  4. Be thankful. Life feels fuller and more enjoyable when we express gratitude. Write down all the things in your life that you are grateful for.
  5. Reflect on your current status. What changes will you make to have a more fulfilling personal and professional life?


PHASE 3 – READY, SET, GO! Now you are ready for a fresh start. The New Year gives you a blank slate to write on. What will your year have to say?

  1. Goal Set. Where are you now and where do you want to go? Visualize yourself at year’s end. What will you have accomplished? Are there projects or tasks you want take on? Will you take a class or join a professional association? List the steps you need to take to get from here to there and set a timeline for each step.
  2. Update your image. If you are on LinkedIn or any professional society web sites, review and edit your profile. Refer back to your goals so that your content will attract the connections you need to achieve them.
  3. Focus on key priorities. What is the first most important thing? Why? How will you keep that in focus? Keep asking yourself, “What is the best use of my time right now?”
  4. Choose your theme. Pick one word to express what you want 2018 to be about. Optimism, gratitude, peace, well-being. Make this your personal brand and use it to create an expectation that this will truly be your best year yet.
  5. Accentuate the positive. When something negative happens, and it will, ask yourself, “What can I learn from this that will make me sharper, stronger, more resilient in the future?” Then let it go.
  6. Acknowledge your accomplishments. Going forward, keep track of your successes. Create a document or folder to record your wins and celebrate them in whatever way you choose.


There you have it—your roadmap to a State of Awesomeness. When you apply these 16 principles, you will be focused, organized, refreshed, and connected. Your vision is clear. 2018 is waiting, and you are ready.


By Joel Garfinkle 

Joel Garfinkle is an executive leadership coach and author of “Getting Ahead: Three Steps to Take Your Career to the Next Level” (Wiley) Follow Joel at his “FulfillmentATwork newsletter.”

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