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Want to Leap into 2018? Do This First!

2017 is winding down. For many of you, this means you’re feeling the pull to look ahead, to set some tangible goals for 2018, even as you tie up loose ends for the current year.

This is the time of year when many folks start to feel conflicted, overwhelmed, and a wee bit short of patience. There is so very much to be done, and it seems like time is running out.

I get it.

The challenge, however, isn’t the perceived lack of time.

The challenge isn’t the insanely long to-do list.

The challenge is something else altogether.

The challenge is that you’re getting ready to leap ahead, and it’s not yet time to do so.

This time of year folks are often mentally already into the year ahead. Our “planning brains” want to be considering schedules, meetings, projects, deadlines – you get the idea. In and of itself, this isn’t a problem. Planning is a good thing. 

The problem is that planning of any sort needs to be anchored in something solid. And the best anchor is one that’s created out of a time of reflection. So, instead of being time to leap, it’s time to straddle. This is true whenever you’re standing on the cusp of something.

As you look ahead and gear up for what lies ahead – in this case, it’s a brand new year, but the same could be said for a brand new project – it’s imperative that you balance your forward momentum with a bit of reflection. You need to invest some energy in taking stock – what plans have you brought to completion? What’s been the result of that? What has been your impact? What do you know now that you didn’t know before? How are you different now, in this moment, than you were 11 months ago? What might be possible now, that wasn’t possible before?

Answering these questions – and similar ones – can provide a solid foundation upon which to stand before you plan for what’s next. And it’s always easier to leap from a solid foundation, than from one that’s unstable.

Bottom-line: I know it’s tempting to dive into planning mode. It can make you feel like you’re getting your ducks in a row, and being oh-so-efficient. Before you do so, however, take some time to reflect.   Look back on what’s transpired, before you look ahead to what will be. Use what you’ve learned to inform what you will do. Straddle before you leap, and you’ll enter the new year with greater clarity and a solid plan.

Tracy Harvie