12 Tips to Savor What Was and Plan for What Will Be


This new year.

The number seems odd to me. I don’t know why. It IS an odd number, come to think of it!

Can it be 17 years ago since the Millennium? Do you remember what you were doing on that day when some predicted the world would end? Well it didn’t. And here we are 17 years later savoring life’s sunshine, surprises, and serendipitous moments.

As I ponder this new year, my first thought is, “Where does the time go by? Mom always used to say, “The older you get the faster time goes.” I think she is right.

How about you? What arises in you when you think about time flying?

I think of my 4 grand kids. Charlie, 16, will be graduating high school in less than 2 years. I was going to make him a memory book. Now that seems doubtful, as work still beckons. He’ll get some other surprise. I never thought I would still be working at this age, not that I don’t love my coaching clients and teaching positive psychology coaching. I surely do. I appreciate my teamwork with so many wonderful people.

That first grand kid is often the star on top of the Christmas tree. At least in my book. Not they aren’t all dearly loved. I remember flying to Seattle when Charlie was born. One suitcase was filled with beautiful baby clothes and gifts. Brad and Jackie teased me, and I loved every minute of that fun time. Dressing up baby bundle Charlie with the most adorable outfits created memories I will treasure forever.

Then shortly thereafter, Jason and Tommie blessed us with baby Grace. Girl clothes shopping? Oh, that was the best! And having Jason’s family live only a few miles away was and still is fantastic. Now Grace is 15. Time. It flies. It circles. It flits away like the blink of an eye. Then two more grand girl babies gifted us with Faye and Hallie, both 13. All uniquely glistening stars on my Christmas tree of life. Ken and I know we are so very blessed. We watch them all grow and thrive. They make life come colorfully alive. We admire them as they dart about with their swirling activities and talents engendering sweet admiration smiles from us. Yes, Grammy Judy and Grandpa Ken are very fortunate.

Son Sean is now 37. What? When did that happen? This year I wish for him to find the love of his life. And may she love snow-boarding, nature, and allergy-free dogs. And loud drums!

Time. Magical. Mysterious. Ever-evolving.

Inviting you to be mindfully aware to savor every morsel, every magical moment. Great for positive reminiscing later, too.

I invite you to take a positivity pause. Breathe in all that is good. Look at your last year. Be aware of all your blessings, your gratitudes, your learning. Smile. Love. Be kind. Pray for others. Live with ease. Pay your love forward to everyone. Release all that does not serve your best self growth. “Let go” is a tiny phrase, but it’s also a huge treasure chest of hope. And a mighty motivator to move you forward wherever you want to go.

Survey your challenges last year and ask yourself:

  1. How did I meet them my challenges?
  2. Was I happy at how I showed up?
  3. What strengths did I use to ratchet up my resilience?
  4. How did I appreciate my relationships?
  5. Did I notice and harness my positive emotions?
  6. Did I notice my negative emotions then allow them to shrink?
  7. Did I pay attention to how I engaged in my world?
  8. Did I add more meaning and fulfillment to my life?
  9. Did I contribute to the lives of others and my community?
  10. What did I achieve that etched positive memories upon my soul?
  11. How did I reward myself for my accomplishments?
  12. Did I gratefully celebrate my wins and share my appreciation with others?

How about your planning for next year?

What do you want? Think of Gabriele Oettingen’s 4-step motivational get-it done-fun plan, WOOP:

Wish. What do you wish for in the future?
Outcome. What is the best outcome for fulfilling your wish? Imagine …
Obstacle. What holds you back? What is YOUR major obstacle? Imagine…
Plan. Make an “If…obstacle, then…action plan!

Give yourself exact plans. When, where, why and how you will complete your plan. Then remember to celebrate each segment of success.

For example, if you want to de-clutter your home, you might set an initial doable goal:

“I will begin with one area of my house. First, I will to get my basement cleaned out. I will make a detailed plan. I will begin on Monday, JAN 9. I will do one section at a time. I will start with the art storage area. I will organize it. I give myself a week. I will work 3 hours a day in the morning. If other things get into my way, I will remind myself how good I will feel when I get my art area organized. I will be finished by JAN 16th. I will wear my funky Pink Floyd t-shirt and my football lounging pants. I will drink my favorite coffee as I am working/playing. I will pause to feel how great it will be to donate boxes of stuff to charity. I will call my accountability friend every day to tell her my progress. I will share my progress with photos and celebrate with her along the way.”

Then repeat this same method for the rest of the basement. Be realistic and very specific. Plan to show off your lovely organized basement to family and friends. You will inspire others! Also, you will have added a great foundation for living for best future self life! One section of that basement at a time. Like life. You build your accomplishment house, one brick at a time.

Use your character strengths for more support and to help you forward your motion. Be tenacious, kind to yourself, and hopeful. Add a good dose of self-regulation, too. And maybe even bravery if your basement was as piled up with too much stuff as mine was!

Speaking of motivation and plans, here is one of my favorite poems from “The Story People.” I hope it rings in a joyful Happy New Year for you:

“Rebel with a Cause”

by Brian Andreas

“this year semi-colons,
not periods,
will mark my journey’s end,
for each ending
brings new
my life will be full of more!!!
and less…
?’s may linger
but I will be more accepting
of the answers;
I will find antonyms
for any emotions
clouding the sky
which I daydream under;
I will fill my coffee mug
with synonyms
for love and happiness
and offer that cup
willingly and fearlessly
to quench others’ thirsts;
I will eat my words
if I must,
but only with catsup or mustard;
I will look for more ways
to be a rebel with a cause
rather than a rebel
without one;
I will take pride
in marching to the beat
of my own drum
and will create new moves
out of any missteps;
I will pay more attention
to the voice of my gut
rather than to the hopes
in my head.”

Happy New Year!

May love in your heart spark lanterns of light and joyfully guide you to fascinating new horizons,