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As 2017 draws to a close it is only natural that we start to look ahead to the coming year. Between pushing hard to finish this year in a great place and building out our plans for 2018 it’s important, critical even, for us to pause and take stock.

As Lao Tzu said,

“If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the moment.”

For most of us life is busier than it’s ever been. There are more demands on our time than ever before; there are distractions all around us and an ever-growing number of social-feeds for us to check.

Alongside this we’re all becoming dopamine junkies. We race from one task to the next, be it at home or at work, and enjoy that familiar natural high we get from crossing another task off the list.

But the frenetic, dopamine fuelled pace that we’re working at isn’t serving us well. We need to slow down, break the habit and make time to take stock. Sometimes we really do need to slow down in order to speed up.

So, here a five critical activities to do before the end of the year…

…to ensure that you fully enjoy the holiday season and start 2018 in a magnificent way.

 

#1 Rest

It’s ok to stop and it’s ok to slow down.

Finish up what you can before the Christmas break and accept that whatever isn’t done can wait. The world will not stop spinning if that email doesn’t get sent or that slide-deck doesn’t get produced.

Give yourself permission to properly rest.

Our minds need to recover just as much as our bodies.  So, put away the work phone, tablet and laptop as you leave the office for your Christmas break and resist the urge to have a sneaky peak.

At the same time, put away the trade journals, magazines and business books. Give yourself total permission to de-compress, switch-off and re-charge.

Your body will thank you, your loved ones will thank you and you’ll start back in the new year in a much stronger place…ready to rock 2018.

 

#2 Love and laugh

Regardless of your faith, this holiday season is a time to be with your family and friends.

We are social beings… we are genetically programmed to thrive when we are physically connected to others, to our friends and family.

Enjoying the simple pleasure of  being with your loved ones this Christmas.

Check your social feeds less and turn the TV off more often.

Get outside more…

…walk in the woods, trample through the leaves, run on the beach or kick a ball with your children.

Hunker down in front of the fire.

Hug your loved ones.

Tell them you love them before it’s too late.

 

#3 Reflect

Don’t allow yourself to live the same year over and over again and call it a life.

Before rushing headlong in to 2018 ensure that you make the time to reflect upon the year just gone.

  • Where did you win and why? How can you repeat and build upon the most successful parts of this year?
  • What mistakes did you make and what can you learn from them? How can you ensure you don’t repeat them?
  • What are you going to stop doing… to provide the time, space and energy to start doing differently in 2018?

 

4# Write your future history

Our life is always a reflection of what we choose to pay attention to. If we begin the year without a plan then we’ll simply be reacting to the suggestions and priorities of others.

On the other hand, if we know what needs to happen for 2018 to be our best year yet then we are able to say yes and no the right things. We are able to live our life on purpose.

So, before January 1st ticks over, carve out some time and find a quiet place to sit and envision the next 12 months. Imagine it is 23 December 2018 and you are reviewing the year just gone….

…what has happened to make it an amazing year?

…what goals have you achieved in work and at home?

…what have you done and who have you done it with?

…what do you have?

…how do you feel?

…what does your health, fitness and balance look like?

 

#5 Plan

 It may be a cliché but if you fail to prepare, then you are preparing to fail.

Once you’ve rested and spent time with your loved ones, once you’ve reviewed the year just gone and created your future history then it is time to sit down and make a plan.

Take out a sheet of A4 paper and create a simple 12-month calendar. On that calendar plot…

  • Your goals – work, home and health
  • Key work activities – projects, launches, conferences, overseas trips etc.
  • Family events – holidays, birthdays, celebrations
  • Recovery periods – when will you take your foot off the gas to rest and recover?
  • Personal development – when will you invest in yourself and what will you do?

 

I hope these ideas are super valuable.

I hope that you end this year in a great position.

I hope that you have a wonderful holiday season with your loved ones.

I hope that you start 2018 as you mean to go on…and make it an awesome year in every way.

 

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