We’re two short weeks from ushering in 2016, and the new year provides the perfect opportunity to commit to new ways of living and working. I’m not talking about new year’s resolutions, because we all know those don’t work. Instead, you can use the turning of the calendar as the right time to recommit to the things you never got to, that problem you avoided tackling, the goal you procrastinated on, or the dream that keeps cropping up.

As the year comes to a close, there is often a mix of emotions. We’re celebrating the holidays and enjoying time with loved ones. We’re closing out projects, handling year-end activities, and preparing for the 2015 wrap-up. And for some of us, we’re experiencing regret or frustration about things left undone or goals unrealized. If you are feeling any negative emotions, instead of beating yourself up and listening to the self-defeating voices in your head, use the new year excuse.

The new year allows us a fresh start, a reset if you will, to determine what we want to focus on, put a plan in place, and take real action toward achieving the things we want most in our lives. Why not use the new year as a great reason to get in action? It’s a great time to:

  • Have that difficult conversation – Seek out the person you have been avoiding talking to. Let him or her know that you want to get off on the right foot in the new year. If you have tough feedback to share, for example, the new year is a great time to briefly look back at what may have gone awry and then shift the focus fully on a plan for turning things around in the new year.
  • Ask for feedback – Many people get little to no feedback during the year. Even in organizations that have performance evaluation processes in place, managers may skip the process altogether or give it short shrift. As a result, meaningful, actionable feedback is lacking. If you are wondering where you stand in your organization, use the new year as a great excuse for scheduling a performance discussion. And in fact, ask for regular meetings in 2016 to focus on your development.
  • Dust off stagnant projects – We all have projects or ideas that we were once gung-ho about and then, for one reason or another, the excitement and energy faded. Maybe you got too busy, or you listened to the naysayers, or it was just the wrong time to pursue the idea. The new year is a great excuse for taking a fresh look at that stalled project or once-bright idea. You may see it in a new light or things may have shifted in a way that makes it the perfect time to forge ahead.
  • Make a career move – In line with asking for feedback is taking a look at your career path. Your performance conversations can include a discussion about your career goals. It may be that 2016 is the year that you will finally make the career move you have been contemplating. Start by setting up meetings early in the new year to begin to explore areas of interest to you.
  • Answer that nagging feeling or desire – Only you know what that is. What is the thing that keeps cropping up, wakes you up in the middle of the night, pops into your thoughts on a regular basis? Whatever that is, the new year is the perfect excuse to listen to your gut and respond.

This is a time of celebration and family traditions, a time to unplug, relax and take time off. Make the most of it and, after the festivities, take time to reflect on what you will commit to and take action on once the new year begins.

Where can you use the new year excuse?
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If you enjoyed this post, you can read more like it in our book, The Power of Thoughtful Leadership: 101 Minutes To Being the Leader You Want To Be, available on Amazon.

For support in getting into action in 2016, contact Robyn at rmcleod@chatsworthconsulting.com.

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