The New Year is almost here!

There is something special about a fresh start at the beginning of a new year. I get excited about that, and you probably do too.

I hope that you are internally inspired for growth and change, so let me offer six steps to help you get your year off to a good start.

new-year

It is essential that you write your answers.

You don’t have to write much. Even a sentence or so each will do, but I urge you to write it down.

Six steps for a better 2017.
The first three are related to reflection on 2016.
The second three are related to the future in 2017.

1) Reflect on and evaluate 2016

Ask yourself two key questions, in five priority areas. You don’t have to use my questions, you can use your own, but this exercise will serve you well. It will help you create the opportunity to grow and realize your fullest potential, and candidly, experience 2017 the way you hope to.

2 Key Questions:

  • What worked well and why?
  • What needs improvement and why?

5 Priority Areas:

  1. Family
  2. Work
  3. Health
  4. Faith
  5. Finance

Then, list no more than one to two very specific priorities or goals per area for 2017.
If you list more, you will significantly reduce your likelihood of achieving those changes.

2) Tend to any known relationship breakdowns.

Your life is never better than the quality of your closest relationships. It’s nearly impossible to achieve your best when you burn sideways energy into strained and struggling relationships. And scripture is clear:

“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”

Romans 12:18

In light of this truth, jot down a list of your most important relationships. Are any in need of mending? Is there anyone you need to forgive? Is there anyone you need to confront? Or perhaps you have a friend that you need to reach out to?

Essentially, the question is about your willingness to have the tough conversations that will change your life for good.

3) What needs to be finished?

Finishing is an important discipline for any leader. But not everything is important enough to demand your time and energy to complete it.

What are the projects you can or should let go of? What things, even if difficult to drop, can you toss in the trash or press delete?

What are the projects (personal or professional) that clearly need to be completed?

4) Take some time to dream.

Rise to the level of your dreams. Imagine! What could you achieve with God’s help? What does He want to do in and through you?

When was the last time you gave yourself permission to dream? Break out of your comfort zone, take a risk.

Ask a close and trusted friend about the potential they see in you. How might that inspire new dreams in you?

5) Commit to invest in yourself personally.

This year, I’m investing in a personal trainer, at least for several months. I’ve never done that before. I’ve never thought I needed one. I jog every day, but I don’t have a game plan for improved physical strength from someone who knows what they are doing!

How about you? Is there a class you want to take? Perhaps learn to play a musical instrument? Maybe some short term counseling would be a great investment.

6) What new territory do you want to take?

This is the culmination of the process. Step #1, (list of priorities and goals) is integrated into this final part of the process.

Now that you have thought through the first five steps, which of the priorities and goals that you wrote in step #1 do you believe are non-negotiable? They are all important, and maybe you will keep them all, but try to narrow it to three to five, seven tops that are non-negotiable.

New territory represents that which you have not experienced or achieved before. That’s the point of dreaming, investing in yourself and growing.

  • Which of those priorities or goals helps you become the best version of you?
  • Which ones helps you make the greatest investment into others?
  • Which brings you the greatest Kingdom returns?
  • Which brings you the greatest joy?

I pray the best for you in 2017!