Over the last three years, my most essential planning tool has become Leonie Dawson's Incredible Year Planner (formerly known as the Creating My Goddess Year Planner) (Yes, that's an affiliate link. I adore this product and would love for you to have your own.) It's beautifully colorful and inspiring, while being extremely useful and functional at the same time.
One of the key pieces is that it takes you through a review of your past year, so that you see how far you've come, how much you've grown and learned. And then it builds your new year goals, dreams, plans. It's far too much to work through in just a few hours (and planning your year is important, so that's ok) so I spread it out over a week or two. I start with the releasing of 2012 and let that experience have the honor and gratitude it deserves. Then, I spend an afternoon thumbing through 2013 and answering the parts that come easily, while I chew on the tougher parts. I let it simmer for a while and come back the next day.
I usually get about 40 on the list and then I have to come back a bit later to add more. I keep it running for most of January, whenever I think of new things. Leonie also encourages you to break your goals down into action items so that they can go from dreams to done. (You'll never be the next J.K. Rowling if you don't write a single page.)
This is a wonderful process for starting your year on the right foot. The key is not to get overwhelmed or feel like you should have had it all done by 12-31. I got my 2012 done before New Year's this year, but last year it was after. I figure I've got the whole year ahead and the key is planning something. Just like your GPS needs you to give it an address of where you're headed, you're more likely to reach your dreams if you head in their direction. I still haven't picked my word for the year- that's something I'm still feeling out. Because of the baby, I know my whole world will change in May and I don't want to overpressure myself. So, I'm trying to find something that feels like a gentle stretch forward instead of a big leap.
What do you do for beginning a new year? Do you pick a word or phrase?