woman with lights - planning for the new year

A great time to reflect, celebrate and plan

It’s been a roller coaster of a year with events echoing around the world – continuing political unrest, natural disasters from wildfires in the USA to earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia, and the devastating sadness of the enveloping, worldwide migration crisis. It is an opportune time to reflect, celebrate and plan…

It is also a time of positive social change – women in Saudi Arabia being given (eventually) the right to drive; New Zealand’s Prime Minister being one of the few world leaders to give birth while in office and take maternity leave, and the debate on abortion rights in Ireland leading to constitutional amendment.

Time brings about change.  And the opportunity to influence our own path; to support and relate to others. With time, through challenge and diversity, we can emerge strong and positive, ready to embrace a new dawn.

Through each incredibly busy year we can sense feelings of overwhelming emotion and anxiety around us. It is important more than ever to connect and engage not just with others but with ourselves. I invite you to take a moment, review your successes and achievements of the year gone by and plan your next steps for the year ahead. it is time to reflect-celebrate-plan!

Why you should take time to reflect, celebrate and plan?

Taking time to celebrate your accomplishments and the contributions you have made towards them allow you to:

  • appreciate yourself and your accomplishments in this hyper-busy world in which we live;
  • reflect and review your learning over the past 12 months;
  • look for opportunities opening up which you can explore further;
  • put things in perspective;
  • take ownership of your intentions and goals, and
  • prepare for future planning.
  • Having the right attitude will help you to bring about change in your own life and to achieve your goals.

How has 2018 been for you?

As a coach I invite you to take stock and to look back over the year at your successes and failures or ‘flop-opportunities’. Think about what you have learned, the opportunities you have created and draw on them to map out the way forward. Here are some questions to help you get started as you reflect, celebrate and plan for your best year yet…

1) What have you achieved in 2018?

Taking a leaf right out of my own article from last December, try looking back on 2018. This is an excellent way to start as you reflect, celebrate and plan your way forward…

  • What have you achieved in 2018?

Hints: for example, did you: meet personal and professional objectives? find funding for your organisation and/or write winning proposals? create social value? make more connections? have a positive impact on someone or something?

  • How would you rate your accomplishments in order of importance and why?
  • Which is your most important achievement from 2018 that will help you achieve your goals for 2019?

These questions will help you in setting your goals for 2019.

2) How will you celebrate your achievements?

It is important to celebrate your achievements big and small. Give yourself a pat on the back. Not all achievements are big, some may be, but others will be small milestones. They all deserve to be celebrated.

  • What achievements are you going to celebrate from 2018?
  • How are you going to celebrate these achievements, and when?

And finally, well done. You made it. You have reached the end of the year and wherever you are, you should be proud of yourself. Keep a mindset of growth. Know that not getting it right (often referred to as failure) goes hand in hand with success. Learn from your mistakes; keep pushing forward and aim high. But always make time to reflect and review. Take your answers from above and use them positively to influence your planning and progress going into 2019.

3) What could you do differently next time round?

Now is the time to think about some of those goals or projects that didn’t go exactly as planned but still provide you with incredible feedback for moving forward. These questions help you to look back on the year objectively; to plan the next steps; and to face the challenges ahead in a positive way.

  • What was your best failure for 2018 and what did it teach you?
  • What goal and/or project would you like to do differently next time around? What are the reasons for this?
  • What could you do to overcome the obstacles you have encountered?

When you answer these questions, go easy on yourself. Remember we are all human and no one is perfect. Acknowledge what didn’t go well as that famous flop-opportunity – an experience that didn’t go as you’d like but provides you with an incredible learning opportunity.

4) What have you learned?

The journey is just as important as the destination.

  • What has this last year taught you about yourself?
  • What impact has the journey had on your destination?

Maybe you haven’t reached your destination yet, or you’ve changed course, but no matter how far you’ve come, try to enjoy the journey. While the destination might be your end goal, what happens along the way also matters. If you haven’t reached your destination yet, that’s OK. Look at why you haven’t reached it and actively plan how you will get there. Again, this is a great time to reflect, celebrate and plan.

Rome wasn’t built in a day and the same can be said for achieving your goals.

5) What are your 2019 goals?

“If you can see it, you can be it.” Billie-Jean King

Now you are moving from reflecting, celebrating to planning ahead:

In her article in The Globe and Mail, Take time to reflect on the past year – and look ahead to your goals for the new one, Eileen Chadnick encourages her readers to be specific when setting goals –

“Forget resolutions – they don’t work. But goals – if meaningful, relevant and backed up with a plan – can provide focus, direction, a sense of purpose, and energize you with new motivation.”

  • What do you want to achieve over the next 12 months?
  • What are you most excited about?
  • How are you going to record your goals for 2019? And when are you going to do this?

Perhaps look to create a timeline and visualise achieving your goals. Imagine what it will look like in practice and deliberately carve out whatever time you need both to review your progress along the way and reach your goals.

Remember this is an ideal moment to reflect, celebrate and plan!


wrapped gift - celebrate success

Wishing you all a Wonderful Holiday Season and a Happy New Year!


If you feel that you, your team or your organisation would benefit from coaching and/or mentoring, please get in touch.

Don’t forget to check out my new coaching program – Women’s Leadership Coaching – For Women in Development – specifically designed for women working in global development.

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Email me: palena@unabridgedleadership.com

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