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Starting the New Year with a clean slate

Marechiel family for New Year 2016

Aah, a new year! When I think of a New Year, I think of making New Year’s resolutions. Google “New Year’s resolution” and 140,000,000 search results come up. Before I could make my own resolutions, I needed to reflect on the year that passed. This process would hopefully guide me toward making new goals. I have so much to be grateful for. 

Professionally, I had the privilege to be assigned an executive director role for a new client account. To me, this meant I’m trusted in my ability to manage an organization. I received a recognition from the association community with the ASAE DELP scholarship. I interpreted this as: my contributions and leadership capabilities are appreciated.

In my family life, three of our four kids in college are doing well. (Yep, they are all on the Dean’s List!) Our youngest who is a senior in high school is enjoying a banner year himself organizing an Ethics Symposium to address bullying, self-esteem and moral standards among his peers — an encouragement that my husband and I must have done something right in our parenting . Everyone in the family is healthy. When many folks are experiencing health issues that limit their ability to live and enjoy life, we couldn’t be more thankful.

There were also things that didn’t go as I had planned. Did I achieve my weight goal? No. Did I participate in all the socio-civic and volunteering opportunities that came my way? No. Did I spend time with that one girlfriend I wanted to continue deepening my friendship with? No. Did I make enough time with my husband to continue to strengthen our marriage? No. Did I fret when I didn’t achieve the goals I set? Yes. Should I? No.

A wise mentor has told me, the year that has passed is done. The New Year is an opportunity to start a new slate. She asked me to declare to myself that the year 2015 is over. What’s done (and not done) is done. I need not worry and carry the baggage of what should have, could have, and would have been. So, in this spirit I am planting the seeds of greatness by letting go and celebrating this new beginning by creating new intentions in 2016. Here are questions to ask yourself as you begin the process of starting anew.

What are you committed to accomplishing this coming year in all areas of your life? Strengthening your marriage? How about a date night twice a month? Improving emotional connections with your children? Can you spend one-on-one time with each of them? Attaining a professional certification by year-end? (I plan to commit one hour a week to professional development training to hit the prerequisite hours before applying to take the Certified Association Executive exam.) Want to improve your stamina and endurance? How’s about starting at 6,000 steps for five days and increase in time to 10,000 steps?

In order to produce the above, what do you need to develop in yourself? The answer to this question is different for everyone. It can mean having a set schedule plotted on one’s calendar, or imbibing internally motivated traits like staying determined, or practical tricks like creating visual reminders.

As you consider relationships that you wish to enhance or develop or things you need to develop in yourself, what do you think could stop you or be the reason at the end of the year that you would not fulfill them? Is it an issue of time? Will lack of sleep inhibit you to adopt healthy habits to develop your stamina? Reflect on those and you’ve won half the battle.

What is this year going to “be about” for you? Is it going to be a year of learning? A year of forgiveness? A year of peace? A year of prosperity? Declare it!

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