Nourish. Savor. Plan.

A mindful, intentional approach to year-end planning

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Photo: Juliette Leufke

The new year is fast approaching, and while many of us are speeding ahead with our plans and resolutions… maybe it’s time for a more intentional approach.

One that feels less frenetic and more sustainable. Less rushed and more inspiring. Less fix-it and more loving.

I’ve got just the thing, and it’s got three equally important parts.


It can be far more challenging to slow down at the year-end than to speed through. So, I’m going to challenge you here. If you want to move into what’s ahead in a deliberate and intentional way– and you want to make changes or set and accomplish goals and enjoy the journey, then you need to fuel your fire.

That starts now.

What do you need to do in order to end this year in a way that feels great to you, personally and professionally?

What would feel nourishing and fun? What would feel like a treat?

Which parts of your life need a little love and attention?

What would fuel you through the year end?

How you choose to wind up your year is up to you. Start to create it the way you’d like it to be, one small step at a time. Make a change to your environment. Schedule a holiday or year-end break.

Carve out time– even if it’s just one hour this month– to reflect and plan, because that’s coming next.


It’s time to celebrate your successes. Too often, we breeze past accomplishments on the way to the next goal.

What did you accomplish this year?

What did you learn this year? Which lessons, skills or newfound strengths will be coming with you into the new year?

What happened that changed your perspective? What’s changed for the better in your world?

What was the best decision you made this year? The most fun you had?

You can also look at what didn’t work so well, but that’s often the default. We’re not doing a post-mortem focused on fixing what’s wring. Research shows that savoring the most positive moments increases our mental, emotional and physical well being. It’s also incredibly motivating. (What we focus on, really does expand.)

Savoring and celebrating also includes mindfully enjoying the time that you have set aside at this time of year, whether for your family, for holiday celebrations, for yourself.

It doesn’t mean you need to take three weeks off. Just make a point to slow down wherever you can. This will mean making a clear choice. It won’t happen without your consent.

To enter your new year with a solid vision, one that is built on positive reflection, well being and sustainable ways of fueling yourself, means you take a stand for that. Try it, and see the difference it makes.


Now, let’s get moving. It’s time to plan.

I purposely leave planning to last. We do our best planning when we’re rested, fueled and filled with purpose and well being. Yet too often, we plan first and furiously, fueled by ideas of what needs fixing, what’s not working and where we need to change course.

Try this way instead. Plan last. Plan joyously. Plan positively.

What will you be letting go of, and leaving behind as a part of your 2016?

What will you keep and bring with you into the new year?

What is your larger vision for the year ahead, and what priorities feel most important now?

What were the things that didn’t happen last year, that you want to make space for in the coming year?

Which self care practice will you allow to fuel you and create more balance in your life, even if it’s just a teensy bit?

With these answers in hand, consider the top four life and top four work goals that you will make time for this year. (Sorry. Just four each, eight total. Focus is key.) Assign one each per quarter. Add your self care activities. And then you can fill in any additional goals and priorities, leaving plenty of room for flexibility.


Your plan will evolve, of course. But nourish, savor and plan, and you will move gracefully and intentionally into your next year. No resolutions or crazy-busy required.

Originally published at

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