Much as one might groan at the thought of New Year resolutions there is something compelling about endings and beginnings, even if it's only an excuse to have a party. Although calendars are merely a human attempt to create some kind of order in the universe, the beginning of a new year does provide a psychological threshold which begs to noticed. You don't have to make any plans for 2011, but then, taking a few minutes to take stock and look at how you would like the next 12 months to go could be both productive and uplifting. And what do you have to lose?
'Cheers to a new year and another chance to get it right' Oprah Winfrey
Success means very different things to different people, and can mean different things to you at different times of your life. Also it makes a difference as to whether you are talking about Success with a capital 'S', or whether you are talking about day to day successes that can be quite small, but can make the difference between a happy and an unhappy life.
If you would like a successful 2011, whatever your criteria, and are curious as to whether planning ahead might make a difference, take a pen and paper now, or open a new document on your computer.
The best place to look for your criteria for success is the past. Looking back at 2010, make a list of all the things that went well for you, the things you enjoyed, the things you were proud of, and the things that made you happy. They may be big things like graduating or getting a new job, or they may be smaller things like a wonderful day out, a good conversation, a great book, or an especially enjoyable meal.
Now make a list of the things that went less well.
What were the disappointments, failures, and troubles you faced this last year? Again, they may be big things, like failing an important exam, losing a job, a divorce, a death, or they may be smaller, like an argument with someone, putting on weight, a minor health problem, a misunderstanding.
Finally, write down what you learnt during 2010, both from what went well and what went less well. If you were to give yourself three or four tips for 2011, what would they be?
So what would a successful 2011 look like to you? Looking at your lists above, what do they tell you about your criteria for success? What do your triumphs and tribulations from 2010 tell you about what you would like more of next year, and what you would like less of?
Here are some ideas for areas of your life where you might like to focus your attention, and some examples of what a successful year in those areas might mean.
Health and well-being
Getting fit, attending for screening, eating more healthily, getting some coaching or therapy to organise your life or improve your spirits.
Work and career
Finding a new job, leaving a job, deciding on a career move, improving your performance, finding a new interest at work, learning a new skill, improving a relationship at work, tidying your desk.
Family and friends
Seeing more of your family, doing your family tree, planning outings with your children, spending more time with friends. Research shows that speaking to a good friend once a week makes us happier.
Leisure and relaxation
Learning a new sport or musical instrument, or improving in something you do already. Taking an evening class, re-designing your garden, going on a great holiday, meditating regularly. Or simply having more 'down time'.
Finding a new partner, improving a relationship, leaving a relationship, valuing your partner more.
Reviewing your savings, investments and/or pension, moving your mortgage to get a better rate, checking you are not paying too much for insurance, gas, electricity, planning budgets for things you want, reading a book on making more of your money.
Home and garden
Redecorating your house, giving your garden a makeover, tackling those overdue maintenance jobs, making new curtains, moving house, or simply being more grateful for what you have.
Take one of these categories to focus on and, having decided what a successful year in that area would be like, write down three actions that you can take in the next month that will move you towards that success.
Repeat with other areas as necessary!
'For last year's words belong to last year's language and next year's words await another voice' TS Eliot.
Wishing you all a very Happy and Successful New Year!