Yes – it’s that time again. Around the beginning of every year, I always invite you to pin down your aims, dreams and goals and take the steps to achieve them. It’s a proven fact that selecting a significant day, date, event or time – like a new year, or a Monday – as a marker to make a start on something can be a real motivator for taking action. The time is right to start afresh – the idea of a new year or a clean slate seems to inspire people to take action. You can find out more on this, and ways to cash in on the psychological advantage of this phenomenon, by reading my article: 6 Ways to Leverage the Fresh Start Effect.

So, where are we now? This particular article is a follow-up to my previous post: It’s Time to Reflect and Celebrate: Part 1, when we concentrated on reviewing our year, reflecting on our past achievements and celebrating them. It’s always worth celebrating our achievements, however small. After all, they have got us this far! Even our perceived failures provide us with information for doing things differently in future – it’s all a learning process.

I also introduced you to my revamped free downloadable workbook: Design the Year You Want! to support you in this process.  To add extra strength to those foundations, you will find some recommendations for reflective journalling and celebrating in Celebrate Your Accomplishments & Journal Your Journey. This uses a holistic approach to help you explore where you are now, in the context of work, home, social circles and self, which gives you a good basis for moving forward.

From this point, after having spent some time reviewing the past year and reflecting on your progression and lessons learned, I’d like to ask you:

  • How will you use these insights in your intentional planning?

Now, we will focus on bringing all that learning together. Use the intelligence and insights gleaned from your reflections to set your intentions and do some planning for the coming year.

Get Designing

In the later part of my Design the Year You Want! workbook, I walk you through the process of planning and creating the future you want by encouraging you to look at your life and leadership in a holistic way. To truly feel like ourselves and inhabit our whole selves, we need to demonstrate leadership of the “whole self.”

First of all, think holistically: if you’re setting out to practise and improve your leadership, remember that leadership isn’t just for the workplace. It means leading in all aspects of our experience, in all contexts and environments. Develop an authentic leadership mindset encompassing the whole of you, whoever you are with, and wherever you are.

My Forbes article on Setting Holistic Leadership Intentions lays out the principles of holistic leadership in four key areas of life. Consider where and how you can practise and achieve leadership of:

  1. your self
  2. your work
  3. your home
  4. your community

To help you in your design or plan, the workbook encourages you in:

GATHERING INSPIRATION – here, you will identify your personal sources of inspiration. These will provide you with the motivation necessary to propel you into action.


  • What inspires you?
  • Who or what do you admire?
  • Who or what do you aspire to be?

This will focus your mind on the qualities and behaviours that matter to you. In the exercise you will find in Design the Year You Want!, I ask you to develop a compelling vision. Engaging your mind and your senses through the creation of a personal mantra and a visual image will keep you motivated and aligned with your deepest desires.

LEVERAGING YOUR RESOURCEFULNESS – You have all the resources you need, so I invite you to tap into your inner wisdom and intuition to inform your planning. By accessing your inner mentor or best self, you will gather valuable insights.

  • Take a step back and detach yourself from your challenges or issues.
  • Imagine you are advising someone else in that position.
  • What advice, knowledge or wisdom would you give?

Utilizing your inner resources and resourcefulness will strengthen your confidence in your own capabilities.

INTENTION-SETTING This is what this time of year is all about. I’d like you to bring it all together by setting sound intentions for the year ahead – based on your desires, aspirations, values, your learnings from the last year and the interactive workbook exercises you have completed.

Remember to be holistic. Set your intentions for each of these areas.

  1. your self – what do you want for yourself in the next 12 months?
  2. your work – what do you intend to do in the workplace this year?
  3. your home – what do you need/want/wish for this aspect of your life?
  4. your community – what intentions do you have regarding actions and plans for participating in your local community?

Then, plan how you will achieve your intentions. Prioritize your resources to create a foundational plan for the next twelve months. Think about what resources you need, and how you will get them. Who can help?

The next steps are literal ones. They will get you where you want to be, this time next year – to your intended goals, targets, or achievements. Break your intentions and plans down into manageable chunks. Determine what steps you need to take.

Then, take action to realise your intentions or vision for the future in all areas of your life.

What do want to do first?

Start here!


If you’d like more, please feel free to download Designing Your Leadership Self-Reflection Practice – Guided Writing Prompts – packed with tips, tools, and guided prompts to launch your leadership self-reflection practice as you continue to strengthen your leadership.

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