Begin With the End in Mind


Ah, January 1st. New Year! Blank slate! Time to set those goals and prepare to crush them! Every year I embrace the possibilities of the year to come. I start a new journal. I lay out my hopes and dreams. I make lists of things I want to do and experience and places I want to go. I vow to eat properly and exercise more. I promise to practice intense self-care. I set intentions to use my gifts to help the world be a bit better because of my contributions.

This is all wonderful and energizing and engaging. And yet…

Do you know Stephen Covey’s book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (Free Press 1989)?

This book and the follow up book, The 8th Habit, are valuable guides to keep your life’s work on track and in sync with your values. Habit 2 is “Begin with the End in Mind: Envision what you want in the future so you can work and plan towards it.” I have practiced this, believed this, and found this helpful. But something was nagging at me this year. As I sat with the feeling I realized that I wanted to take those words in a literal different direction.

I decided to begin with the end in mind but not the end of 2017, the end of 2016. I have been researching the practice of using a Bullet Journal to organize myself. As part of that research I found Lisa Jacobs Marketing Creativity site and her “New Year for a New You: 7 Days of Review” blog posts.

Her Day 1 prompts were:

  1. What was time very well spent this year?
  2. What was money very well spent this year?
  3. What are your favorite memories of 2016?
  4. What did you accomplish or complete this year?
  5. Did you make any progress on long-term goals?
  6. What felt successful about the year, as a whole?
  7. Did you overcome any obstacles or mental blocks this year?
  8. What did you learn about yourself after all that happened in 2016?
  9. Who nurtured or supported you most this year?
  10. Who did you enjoy nurturing and supporting?

It took me about an hour to complete my answers and by the end I was flying high. I thought I had a wonderful year but seeing it all laid out, stopping to savor each of the questions and my responses, and appreciating all the good in my life gave it clarity.

Taking the time to look back and appreciate what I had achieved and what I was given in 2016 has emboldened my plans for 2017. So, consider beginning with the end in mind by looking back and then looking forward.

Best wishes to all for a healthy, happy, creative, and prosperous 2017!  end