Kick-start the New Year

There are lots of quotes on not looking back, one of the most recognized being Don’t look forward – you’re not going that way.  And, while true, without looking back, it’s too easy to remain stagnant or satisfied with the status quo, or worse – just merrily plod along.  Looking back though, should be your first step to kick-start the New Year.

The following exercise was developed by national business consultant, leadership trainer, speaker, and author Mike Lindstrom, who has generously allowed us to share with our readers. Mike shares this exercise with his clients every year.  It’s an effective tool for reflecting, refining and defining your goals for the upcoming year.

Kick-start the New Year

Schedule some time to be with yourself to conduct this written exercise. 

It’s important to do the written exercise. Keep in mind, “What’s planned is possible and what’s scheduled and written down is REAL.”  It is recommended that a least a few hours are set aside at the end of November, December or beginning of January.  Mike has been going away on a two-day trip to Sedona, Arizona to do this exercise for more than 15 years. It’s very powerful to make time for one’s self to mentally work through the goals. And, while you don’t have to go away overnight, it is important to dedicate a few hours away from interruptions.

In a journal or notebook, write out the following three areas in this order. 

  1.  Reflection – Write a few pages of key highlights from the year 2019 in review. It is important to acknowledge where we come from each year and appreciate all of the things we did and accomplished over the past year. Mike typically reviews his calendar dating back to January of the year to remind him of events, meetings, travels, etc., and bullet-points the key highlights of each month.
  2. State of the Union – Acknowledging the Present – Write down in more of a paragraph narrative how you are feeling about your goals, accomplishments, life and family, at this point in time, as you stare down the New Year. Think of it as “braining dumping” or “stream of conscious writing”. It’s writing down whatever comes to mind with no particular format. Let the thoughts flow through your pen, and don’t hold back.
  3. Future – The Goals for 2020 – Similar to the State of the Union, just write down whatever comes to mind when it comes to your goals for 2020. Mike begins by writing atop a blank page, “What do you really want in 2020 in all areas of your life (i.e., family, career, health, friends, etc)?” Start writing down whatever comes to mind. You may jump around from family goals to career goals and the idea is to get all of the goals out of your head and put down on paper.  At the end of this step, the idea is to organize your 2020 Life Plan that encompasses all areas; The Pillars, if you will, of your life.

Attitude and Behavior Adjustment

In order to hit your goals identified in step 3, you must make everyday behavior changes. Write out at least 5 behaviors that must change in order hit your 2020 goals.

Mike says, “I can’t imagine navigating my life without the written goals that I review every Sunday to prepare my week. I’ve been doing yearly Life Plans since 1998.  My hope is that you will find it equally as powerful.  Let’s make 2020 the best year to date!”

About Mike Lindstrom –

 Mike Lindstrom graduated from the University of California, San Diego, and subsequently earned his Juris Doctorate from California Western School of Law in San Diego. He is an author, national speaker, leadership and business consultant and coach and his clients include corporate executives, professional athletes and celebrities. He is featured on national and local media outlets like Fox News, NBC and CNN Headline News and works with organizations’ employees across the country, teaching them success skills, influence, leadership and behavioral understanding. He can be reached at