It’s less than a month to the new year and now is the time to set yourself up for success next year. That probably seems crazy to you, given that most of us are probably caught in the mad dash of holiday preparations and year-end tasks for work. (16 annual performance reviews, anyone?) But truly, if you want to get a jump on being ready for the new year, set aside a bit of time to reflect and clear the decks.

Studies show that people derive a lot of satisfaction from the anticipation of a positive upcoming event, so it makes sense that there’s an anticipatory element of goal-setting for the new year. But before you move on to what awaits you next year, don’t forget to take a moment to wrap up this year.

One very simple way to take stock is to do a quick inventory of the past year. It doesn’t need to be elaborate and it probably will take about an hour. My colleague Dana Theus has created a four-step ritual that she personally does each year in December.

What I especially love about Dana’s process is that you will take time to give yourself credit for what you have done this year. And most importantly, one of the steps is about letting go of all the stuff that happened this year so that you can move forward. It’s sort of like a “Marie Kondo” of your year. “Want to give your New Year’s hopes and dreams a little boost? Start by putting this year’s stuff to bed so you have a clean slate to start anew when the calendar flips to January,” she writes.

Aren’t your goals (and dreams) worth 60 minutes of your time? Go check out Dana’s process and then let me know what you think!

 

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