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What can you learn from 2014 to make 2015 your best year yet?

Librada Estrada

Sunset pictureDoes this scenario sound familiar? You worked diligently on something and, without a second thought, moved onto the next thing when the task was complete? Then some time later you found yourself having to repeat that task or experiencing similar things and having a sense of déjà vu. Or maybe you even wish you could recall what you did the first time so that you could change your behavior or actions and not “reinvent the wheel?” I used to be like that, always moving from one project or event without reviewing what I could learn from the experience. I was doing this in all areas of my life. Then I started working with a great coach, Christine, and since 2009 I have made it a point to do an annual review of my life.

She shared with me a one-page questionnaire that I found very useful. Although we aren’t working together anymore, I now use a similar form in my coaching practice  because the experience is so valuable. With less than a month left in 2014, I just completed reflecting on the year.

Doing so helps me to focus on what went well, what did not work, behaviors and habits that I want to continue, in addition to identifying lessons learned and clarifying where I want to create action in my life. Even before the New Year kicks off, I have begun to craft a mindset to achieve the goals I want. I intentionally start putting the building blocks into place early. What do you do to start the upcoming year centered?

The question that sets the stage for me is considering what will be my theme(s) for the upcoming year. Having a theme keeps me grounded in the bigger picture of what I want to achieve and it is powerful because I use it as a checkpoint for making decisions. It is useful in helping determine what it means to me. It is different from a resolution because I focus on how I want to be rather than what I want to do. Over the years I have selected words, songs (I have a dream by Abba), and colors (purple!).

One year I decided “Say Yes” as my theme. I defined “Say Yes” as being adventurous by giving myself permission to try new things, accept opportunities even though I might fail, and to not overthink. I am a planner at heart and that year I learned to be more comfortable with spur of the moment decisions, to be flexible about the planning process and speaking up more often. More importantly, I learned to celebrate mistakes and failures because I was consciously willing to risk and stretch outside of my comfort zone.

As 2014 draws to a close, I encourage you to celebrate what you have accomplished and to begin preparing for 2015. For me, it included launching this website with Ana, having more honest conversations with my family, saying no more often, speaking in front of my largest audience, teaching in Spanish, and working with repeat customers. As in my personal life, professionally I was reminded that I cannot be all things to all people and that I need to work on saying no even more.

My themes for 2015 will be Focused Expansion and Growth. What will be yours?

Three steps to get ready for 2015 are:

Carve out time to reflect. Find a quiet place and take some time to consider what happened over the year and what you want for the coming year.

Be honest with yourself. You have accomplished so much more than you think! Once you acknowledge your successes, you will realize how much more you have in your favor. And, we all have room for improvement. How do you want to be different and what actions will you take to make that change?

Be creative and reflect in a way that is meaningful to you. Journal, speak with a friend/significant other or draw it in pictures. Select a song, book, poem, mantra and/or picture that is important to you.

Your turn: What do you to to reboot for the new year? What do you want to be constant in 2015?

Si tú quieres, to receive a copy of the form I use, send an email to with Year in Review Form Request as the subject line. I am happy to share.

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