Creating 2018 from the Inside Out

2018 is upon us. I know that many of us have been already thinking about what we want to create in the upcoming year and in a moment, I’d like to share some ideas about that. But first, I’ve heard it said that those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it and I suspect that’s probably true. So why don’t we take a moment and reflect on the year that’s just ending?

Did you set goals for 2017?  If you did, have you been reviewing them regularly to track your progress towards them?  If not, no worries (what would be the point of that?) but let’s begin by making a commitment to actually thinking about the goals that we set beyond the day that we set them!  Typically, what doesn’t get measured doesn’t happen, hence the endless numbers of broken New Year’s resolutions by February 1st.  So, commit now in your mind to check on your progress towards your goals on a weekly basis. Be willing to be honest with yourself.  And, more importantly, be compassionate with yourself.  Setting goals is about progress, not perfection.  We’ll get more into the mechanics of goal setting in a moment.

Back to our review. First question:  What are three things that you could have done better in 2017?  I wanted to get that question out of the way first.  Again, be honest and compassionate with yourself.  In my experience working with my coaching clients, a big reason that we don’t engage more fully in this process is because we fear our own critical voice when we inevitably slip on our paths. So, be objective. Take a breath (really…do it now) and write down three areas where you weren’t your absolute best in the past year. Hint: pick some things that you’d really like to commit to changing in 2018. Another Hint:  Pick at least one thing that really excites you, that naturally brings a smile to your face when you think about it. Yeah, that one. Put that one on your list.

OK, now that the hard stuff’s out of the way, let’s move on.  Next question:  What are your 5 favorite Wins from 2017?  Now, for some of you, this might actually be harder than the previous question. But that’s just because you’re just out of practice!  Think of a young child, holding up their latest finger painting for their mom or dad to see.  See the pride in their little face. They’re celebrating a win! See, it doesn’t have to be a huge win for you to celebrate it. Let your mind wander back over the previous 12 months. Pull out last year’s date book. Things To Look For: Relationships created or improved. Deals closed. Promises kept. People helped. Serendipitous moments that defy explanation. Laughs with friends. Decisions made. I could go on and on.  Now, make your list.

Moving on. Gratitudes. This one’s my favorite. Let’s stretch you a little bit this time. Make a list of 10 things that you’re grateful for in 2017. Things To Look For: Some of the items from your Wins list (it’s OK to repeat, but don’t get lazy!). Special people in your life, past or present. Special moments. Opportunities. Help you received. Surprises. Lessons learned (this is a big one!). Don’t forget to include the things you may be taking for granted: a sunrise, your hands, a roof over your head or the literally thousands and thousands of people, seen and unseen, that contributed to your life over the past year.

Done! Your 2017 review is complete. Allow yourself to be complete with the year, with all its ups and downs so you can move forward, powerfully and joyfully, into 2018.

Alright, 2018 here we come! Close your eyes (after you finish reading this paragraph!) and let your imagination wander for a moment. What would make 2018 magical, beyond your wildest expectations? Not just in terms of “stuff” but even more in terms of who you’d like to become.

Who would you need to become to achieve a really giant goal next year?  Hint: choose a goal that aligns with your deepest values. Not sure of your deepest values? Here’s a process that can help.

Give yourself a gift here and really let yourself go there for a few minutes. Your critical voice will surely chime in with all it’s doubts and fears, but your job is to push through that and allow your dream to expand. Let it fill you with energy and bring a smile to your face.

Now, ask yourself this: What was one big theme from this dream of yours? If you could boil it down to a few words or a phrase, what might it be? The Year of Radical Aliveness? The Year of Fun & Laughter? The Year of Doubling My Income? The Year of Love and Connection? The Year of Service and Contribution? This is your theme for 2018.

From here, you can back up to create your year, based on your theme. What kinds of goals would you need to set? What kind of plan would best allow you to realize your theme? Close your eyes again and see yourself at the end of 2018, having successfully lived out your theme. How do you feel? What are you telling yourself? Celebrate in your mind now as though it has already happened!

I gotta tell you…I love this game! I love the idea of creating your year (and life) from a theme rather than from the usual stuff. And remember, you are always free to change your theme. This isn’t about pressure.

So, go forth and create your year. And, please, let me know what you’ve come up with. Send me an email at Or, if you have questions, let’s set up a meeting. It would be my pleasure to spend an hour (or two) helping you to create 2018 as the best year of your life (so far). And by the way, there’s no charge for that meeting. It’s just a chance for me to be of service if I can.


"If I create from the heart, nearly everything works; if from the head, almost nothing."

Marc Chagall, painter