New Year Rituals: Looking Back, Looking Forward

“The best way to predict the future is to create it yourself.”
– Peter Diamandis

Image of two businesswomen looking into distance standing back to backThis post is a guest post from Kate Phillips, our marketing writer and coach.

It’s my favorite time of the year. While people around the country scramble for reservations for dinner, dancing, fireworks and parties, I am happily squirreled away in a waterfront condo with a computer, a notebook, Wayne Dyer’s “The Power of Intention” video, an excellent book about leadership (Influencer, The New Science of Leading Change), and the luxury of several days of solitude.

It’s time to say goodbye to the old year and welcome in the new. It’s a ritual I’ve done for more than 10 years now, and wild horses couldn’t keep me from it. It’s a time to reflect, refresh, renew, and push a big reset button.

Today, I wanted to share some ideas to help you do your own end of year/beginning of year ritual. These ideas can also be used anytime of the year, or even quarterly or monthly. They can be “whole life” strategy sessions, or they can be specific to your business, your finances, a personal project, or anything else.

Start with Goodbye

Too often, we rush into something new without reflecting on what came before it. However, a truly fruitful planning, goal-setting, or strategy session will consider not only where we’d like to go, but where we’ve been.

The wins and challenges of the past inform our future path. Additionally, there is inherent value in closure, celebration, and reflection.

Some of the questions I journal about to bring a close to my year are:

“What do I want to remember about this year?”
– The precious memories, the hilarious moments, the connections, people and events you don’t want to ever forget. Jot down your favorite moments each year and you’ll build a collection of “highlights” you’ll treasure long into the future.

“What did I accomplish this year?”
– Both things that you set out to do, and things that weren’t in your original plan at all.

“What did I learn this year?”
– From your successes, your challenges, your mentors, your children, and through books, videos, seminars, etc.

“How have I grown or changed this past year?”
Life isn’t just about “doing”… after all, we are human “beings”! It’s important to recognize your progress and celebrate your evolving self. As Zig Ziglar said, “What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.”

“Is there anything else I’d like to say about this past year?”
– Or even, “Is there anything I’d like to say TO the year in closing?” Part of any closure process is simply saying whatever there is to say – or writing it down.

There’s no right or wrong way to do this. These questions can be answered in as little as 15 minutes, or over an afternoon or a whole day. Add or subtract your own questions. Take a long walk to reflect. Write a poem or get out your art supplies. And no worries if it’s the middle of January or June – it’s never too late to say goodbye to the past.

Visioning the Future

“Some of the world’s greatest feats were accomplished by people not smart enough to know they were impossible.”
~ Doug Larson

I have a favorite question I like to ask anyone who is celebrating a birthday. And it’s just as relevant for all of us as we step into the New Year. The question is this:

“What would you like to do this coming year that you’ve never done before?”

It could be something you’d like to accomplish, something you’d like to learn, or somewhere you would like to travel. It could be reaching new milestones on a current project, or something completely out of the blue. Why not climb a mountain, spend a week meditating with Buddhist monks, or learn to tango? We are only limited by our own imagination.

What’s on your New Year Bucket List?

Bucket List Front

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”
~ T. S. Eliot

A few years ago, Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman portrayed terminally ill men who abandoned their hospital beds for with a worldwide trip with a wish list of things to do while they still could… before one of them “kicked the bucket.”

However, we don’t need a terminal illness to realize that life is precious and rare, with no guarantees of tomorrow. Many people have used the movie as inspiration to create their own “bucket lists” of things that like to do during their lifetimes.

As we launch into a new year, it’s a perfect time to make your own bucket list – either a New Year bucket list or a timely update of your “master” bucket list.

2015 was a good year for my bucket list. I co-wrote a book with Partners for Prosperity’s Kim Butler (you can download it for free as part of the Prosperity Accelerator Pack.) I started a new side business with a partner that was instantly profitable upon launch. I enjoyed a trip to Italy’s Amalfi coast. I taught my daughter how to snorkel in Maui. I toured the Tulum ruins in Mexico. And I recovered from a sprained knee to hike Mount Si with an elevation gain the equivalent of 2-1/2 Empire State Buildings.

In 2016, I would like to buy a new home, launch a new business project, write another book, hike a higher mountain, release a new music CD, and fall in love.

What have you checked off your bucket list? What would you like to add to it?


“A goal is a dream with a deadline.”
~ Napoleon Hill

Many people talk about goal setting. One of my mentors, Adam Urbanski, talks about “goal-getting.” What’s the use in setting goals if we’re not getting them done?

The tips below can help you supercharge your goal setting… and your goal-getting!

Write your goals down. It is said that “a goal not written down is just a wish.” Writing goals allows you to keep them top of mind. It makes them real, allows you to read, review, and share them.

Writing goals by hand is even more effective, say experts. When you hand-write your goals instead of simply selecting letters on a computer, you are building more neural pathways, which helps you to improve your results.

Make them specific and sensory. What exactly do you want to accomplish, and by when? What will it feel/ look/ sound/ taste like? The more our goals and intentions employ the use of our senses, the more real they become to us.

Feel/see them accomplished in the present tense. Rather than thinking “of” our goals as something happening in the future, brain scientists say it is much more powerful to look “from” our goals, as if they are already accomplished.

Want to run a marathon? See yourself at the finish line celebrating. Want to write a book? Do the cover first, and wrap it around an existing book to “see” it done. Want to add $1k  or $10k to your monthly cash flow? Imagine yourself already enjoying the benefits from your additional income.

Give present-tense gratitude for goals still on your bucket list. One formula is to take your top goals and practice finishing the sentence, “I am so happy and thankful that… (describe your goal fulfilled).” Don’t simply say the words… tune into your body and allow yourself to feel the gratitude!

Be inspired by your goals. Being realistic is optional, but choosing goals you are passionate about is necessary if you want to reach them.

Jordan Adler, a top network marketing earner, shared a couple of his inspired goals with the advisors at The Summit for Prosperity Economics Advisors. One was to walk the red carpet at the Oscars. When a well-connected friend acquired last minute tickets through a lottery system less than 24 hours before the big event, Jordan didn’t hesitate to say “Yes,” even though he was across the country and still needed a tuxedo! He was inspired and ready to made it happen.

I recommend setting goals in an inspired state of mind. I like to take long walks out in nature, read past journals or books such as Seth Godin’s What To Do When It’s Your Turn, and watch an inspiring movie. What helps you break past the limits of your mind?

wheel of life

Set goals in every important area in your life. Use a life wheel, list or other tool to help you focus on every aspect of the big picture that’s important to you.

What is the use of succeeding in business without your health, or achieving financial freedom without loved ones to enjoy it with?

7 Tips for Goal-Getting Success:

  1. Commit to the process. Move past any resistance or excuses. Whether it’s an hour, an afternoon, or a week along intention-setting retreat by the ocean, set aside the time to do it.
  1. Change your space. Don’t reflect and set goals in your office or your living room couch. A change of venue and the environment will work wonders. To think outside of the box, get outside of your box!
  1. Don’t leave the kids out. Goal setting is an area where children can be included almost effortlessly. Ask the question of what they want to do this year that they haven’t done before, and make sure you’ve got pen and paper ready to write it all down!
  1. Share them with someone else. Private goals are easy to abandon. Accountability and support are key to achieving dreams and goals.
  1. List the actions needed, and take the first one. The success of any goal hinges upon your ability to take action, and early momentum is a strong predictor of success. 
  1. Celebrate your successes. Whether it’s chocolate, a party, or a trip to Paris, make sure you are giving yourself kudos for your accomplishments before you aim for the next.
  1. Make it a habit. Whether it’s one hour a week one day a month or something you do quarterly or annually, make a tradition of reflection, envisioning, and goal-setting a regular part of your life. These are the high-impact hours that can change everything.
Need Support to Reach Your Goals?

Kate Phillips of Total Wealth (author of this post) helps people eliminate financial stress and reach their goals through marketing strategies and coaching. She specializes in content marketing strategies for business people and has also worked with many women and men to eliminate unconscious internal resistance to abundance.

Tammi Brannan helps people discover a life and work they love through her unique Instinctive Life process. She is a tremendous support to those wanting to make life and career transitions.

Kim Butler of Partners for Prosperity helps people build wealth without Wall Street using Prosperity Economics strategies. Contact Partners for Prosperity for financial advice and recommendations.


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