January 1st is just another date on the Calendar

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The week between Christmas and New Year’s is always one of my favorites.  The busyness is over, the rest begins, and the light increases each day.  It is also an amazing time to reflect, to plan ahead, to dream, to iron out “what’s next” in your life.

We all put a lot of stock into the fact that we get to flip to a new month, a new year in the calendar.  I, perhaps, put too much stock into that very narrow, specific time period.

Surprise, surprise, it did not work out the way I had expected this year, and looking back at past years, it hasn’t been working for a while.  The thing is, all of the travel, extra sugar, and general hustle and bustle of the holidays creates, almost always, the perfect storm for sickness to land with my kids and me as soon as the busyness is done.

January 1st is just another date on the Calendar

For several years I haven’t had the opportunity to sit and do the reflection I want, and the dreaming I want, during the time period I want.  Because of this I often think I should throw in the towel, it doesn’t make sense to bother now, it is too late.

Is this you as well?

I began to realize that January 1st is just another date on the calendar, and while I love to be able to sit and do all of my reflection, have my goal planner filled out, have my bullet journal and calendar all ready to go, I know that it isn’t always realistic.

Just because you didn’t have it all done by January 1st does not mean that you can’t start now, where you are, as you are, right now.

January can be a difficult month for many of us.  Coming down from the amazing holiday high, the joyfulness, the lights on the trees, and then realizing that we are in the cold, dark winter (well, at least on the East Coast!).

Focus on the days getting longer.

What are you to do if you weren’t able to “get it all done” by January 1st?  The first step is grace, and acceptance, and realizing it is very unlikely that you will always have your new plans lined up for January 1st.

Put that small disappointment away, and begin to move forward.

Decide to not let the date on the calendar hold you back from reflecting and fleshing out new ideas.


Since we have come to the conclusion that the date on the calendar should not hold us back from moving forward, what is the next step?

If you haven’t reflected on the previous year, how you felt about the year, what were your successes, what were your challenges?  Those are the questions to start with. 

In order to figure out where you want to go, you need to know where you have been.

It is easy to forget that a certain rhythm didn’t work, or that one, big challenge that you blocked out of your brain because it was so difficult, or perhaps you had some big challenges and those have crowded out the positive parts of your life that you also should reflect on.  Or maybe you had so many positives, but you can’t remember them all off the top of your head.  When you sit down and start to think about the previous 12 months, you will start to remember things you definitely forgot, and it is nice to write them down.

PowerSheets Goal Planner

I have used various reflection questions over the years, but have come to rely on the Power Sheets by Lara Casey.  If you don’t have the PowerSheets, or prefer not to purchase them, Lara does an amazing job of showing you how to work through this with her yearly goal setting series – you can see the first posthere – there is even an audio version if you would prefer to listen to it rather than read it.  Then grab any notebook or bullet journal you may have and get writing!

Once you have reflected on the previous year, it is time to dream a little bit.  What do you want your life to look like at the end of year? 

Dreaming can be scary.  Part of the reason is because you aren’t confident you will be able to make the changes needed in order to get to that end goal, but don’t let that hold you back!  You need to be able to dream a little, it makes life a bit more exciting.  Or perhaps once you do that dreaming you will realize that what you thought was a dream really isn’t anymore, and you can move on to a different dream.

You have that vision of what you want your life to look like at the end of the year.  In order to get to that vision you will need to make some specific goals to reach that point.

A good way to do this is to make the big, dreaming type goals, and then take each goal and break it down into bite size steps. 

When you break your big goals down into smaller steps, then you are able to see progress each month, rather than veering off track and not accomplishing what you set out to.

I recently heard a podcast by Tsh of The Simple Show, and she talked about making 12 week goals rather than yearly goals.  I think that this could work really well also!  There are definitely shorter term goals that you make and cultivate, and if goal setting is scary to you, or you have a difficult time completing those yearly goals, something much shorter term such as a 12 week goal would be a great idea.

This can easily integrate into yearly goals as well.

When you have your yearly goal, there are steps that you need to take to reach that end goal, and you have to break it down, like we talked about above.  However, within these smaller steps, you may find that the yearly goal you came up with no longer makes sense, and at that point, since you have been making small steps towards that goal, you can then pivot to change that goal into something that lines up with your life right at that moment. 

Do not continue working towards a goal just for the sake of completing it.  If it no longer makes sense for your life right now, scrap it, and move ahead.

When I look ahead to my year I see a lot of big picture goals, but I also see a lot of intention type goals – especially when it comes to my family.  Intentions I need to work on daily, so that they become habits and figure into the ethos of our family life.  But, there are always a couple of concrete goals that I want to work towards as well, whether they are paying off another debt, or the number of books I want to read.

Don’t limit what you want to accomplish because you think that it is too big.  Perhaps it is, perhaps the time frame will need to be adjusted, but you will be happy that you started, that you didn’t let the date on the calendar hold you back.


What goals are you working on this year?

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