How to Start New Year with a Clean Slate, a Purpose, and a Plan

Maria Ji - planning for 2019

According to the dictionary, clean slate means to wipe out the past and begin fresh.

However, many people do not pay attention to this critical step before taking on new goals. To give the idea some context, here are some hypothetic examples:

Case 1. Mary set a goal to lose 20 lbs in ten months and she did not reach that goal. She started again by setting a new goal: to lose 10 lbs by next November. She noticed that she often forget about the goal in her daily life.

Case 2. Two years after divorce, Julie moved in with her boyfriend. She noticed that every time he came home late she wondered if he was cheating on her, like her ex did. Julie’s reaction to that thought was to become distant from her boyfriend to avoid been hurt again.

Case 3. Tom was laid off 6 months ago and has been at a new job for few weeks. He often worried whether his manager was satisfied with his performance. This worrying often led to debating if this was the right job for him and sometimes he thought of look for another job.

These are just a few examples that show that by default, we carry the past’s burdensome energy to the present moment we are living in.

To acknowledge and take responsibility of the past allows us to be free of the past.

With renewed energy and clear mental space, it makes creating the desired future possible. Without acknowledging this important process, we often create a future that is the extension of the past – as in the above examples.

As we are completing 2018, it is a great time to reflect on how it went, and to redirect our energy and focus, so we can create the outcome we truly want to experience in life.

Writing Exercise

Invest at least an hour in yourself to start a new year with a big bang!

Step 1. Reflect:

Look back this year and think about 3 areas that worked, and 3 areas that did not.

Under each area, answer the following 4 questions:

  1. What have I accomplished in this area?
  2. What are the roadblocks that stopped me while working on it?
  3. What did I say and/or do to have it turn out this way?
  4.  What gifts does this experience give me?

Step 2. Redirect:

Now that you have reflected on how the past year went, look  only what you want to focus on next year. What comes to you?

To give you some ideas where to look, answer the following 2 questions:

  1. What gives me the most satisfaction and joy?
  2. What are 3 areas that if I create a shift, would bring my overall life to the next level?

Some examples of common areas to look at are:

  • relationships: family, spouse, friends, colleague, etc
  • changes: career, moving, death, injury or illness, business reinvention, etc
  • personal: spiritual goal, fitness, finance, school, etc

Step 3. Recreate:

After identifying where you should focus to bring your life to the next level, attach 5 actions to each area that will make it happen. Be specific when creating actions: what I will do and by when.

Step 4. Share:

Share your new goals and actions with someone you trust. Ask them to mark it down in the calendar and check in with you regularly.

To start a new goal with a clean slate, just like many things in life, takes practice.
Practice on small and somewhat achievable areas to build your skills before taking on a high gradient area.