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Out with the Old, In with the New


It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and as we approach the holiday season, many of us will prepare by sprucing up our homes, yards, and neighbourhoods. It’s not unusual to replace worn furniture, curtains, and rugs in favour of brand-new décor just in time for the holidays.

Considering the kind of year it has been, you might be tempted to throw 2020 out with the trash, but not so fast. You can neatly wrap up the year by following the tips below. You’ll enjoy both the old year and excitement for the year ahead.

Looking Back

Make Room for the New

When you buy new furniture or new appliances, you don’t simply bring them inside and put them on top of the old ones. That would make for a very cluttered space that no one would enjoy. Instead, you decide what to do with the old furniture, usually moving them out to make room for the new pieces. By doing so, you create a welcoming space that you’re happy to enjoy. Similarly, before you bring in the New Year, you’ll need to determine what to do with the old year. Here are some ideas to try.

The Year that Was

Often, we need to let go of the past before we can move forward. Looking back at your past year will remind you of some accomplishments and highlights you might have forgotten. Taking the time to recall these wins will empower you to move forward.

The reality, though, is that there is bound to be some not so glorious moments in your year. Sometimes looking back involves grieving lost hopes, dashed dreams, and the broken pieces of your year. Whether it’s our high hopes or the expectations of others, we can be decidedly hard on ourselves when our year doesn’t go as we would have liked.

No two years are the same, and every year has its own set of highs and lows. But even the years that seem to be wrought with lows will have some nuggets of wisdom to offer. Taking time to review your year will reveal those things and allow you a sense of peace and the space to move forward.

Year-end Review Exercise

As you reflect on your year, grab a journal, or some blank sheets of paper and answer the questions below. Alternatively, use the free printable Year in Review workbook at bit.ly/myyearendreview to capture your thoughts.

Ask yourself:

  • When I look back on my year, what highlights stand out in my mind?
  • What were some of the challenges I faced?
  • How did I overcome those challenges?
  • What did I learn in the face of my challenges?
  • Which of those lessons can I take forward with me?
  • What am I thankful for as I reflect on the past year?
  • What are some things that I’m counting as a win?
  • How have I celebrated (or will celebrate) my wins?
  • In what ways did this past year make me stronger?
  • How did I see God show up?
  • How did I grow in my faith?
  • How did I grow as a person over the past year?

End your reflection by writing a letter to your 2020 self, summing up what you’ve learned, how you’ve grown, and what you’re thankful for.

Having looked back and said goodbye to your year, it’s now time to move forward.

Looking Forward

The Year that is to Come

Now that you’re ready to welcome the New Year, let’s consider what steps you can take to set yourself up for success.

Prayerfully prepare for your year by going to God first. I have often had hopes and dreams of my own, but it turns out God had other plans – and dare I say, better ones as well. So, even as I set my goals, I pray and ask God to make His will clear. After all, the Bible tells us in Proverbs 20:18 to “make plans by seeking advice,” and who better to go to for advice than God.

It’s now time to start setting your goals and making your plans.

Goal Setting Tips & Resources

  1. Choose a word for the year

For the past six years or so, I’ve chosen a theme word to guide my annual goals. Typically, it would be a word that I’ve seen appearing time and again in my devotional time as if God is saying, ‘this is the direction I want you to go in.’ I’ve had words such as full, enough, rest, and more. For some inspiration and tips on finding your word for the year, visit OneWord365.com.

  1. Strike a balance

As you create your goals, seek to strike a balance rather than focusing on just one area of your life. For example, don’t just set goals around money. What about your health, relationships, career, and so on? Keep it balanced by setting goals for the main areas of your life.

  1. Leave room for Grace

The best-laid plans are just that, plans. God is the one who will have the final say about which of your goals and plans will come to fruition. For setting practical, godly goals in the context of grace, I recommend Grace Goals by Arabah Joy (bit.ly/getgracegoals). It’s a digital resource that helps you set goals and approach change in a revolutionary way.

  1. Be passionate

Set goals around things that are meaningful to you. Let go of any shoulds and expectations that weigh you down. In fact, goals that you set just out of obligation are least likely to work, so pour your energy into the ones that are really important to you. Having a strong reason and knowing your why behind your goals will also help you stick with them.

  1. Write Goals Down

Research shows that the actual process of writing down your goals increases your chances of success. When we write down our goals, we start to commit to them and are more likely to succeed. This might seem like a simple step, but it has a big impact, so don’t skip this one.

  1. Make Your Goals Visible

Keeping your vision board in a prominent place will keep your goals in front of mind. You can also do what best-selling author and goal-setting guru Michael Hyatt does. He types his list of goals, frames it, and keeps it on his desk. With your goals right in front of you, it’s hard to forget about them.

  1. Build in Accountability

For each goal you set, decide who will help you stay on track. Will your spouse help you get up early to go to the gym? Do you have a Bible study partner who will ask about consistency with your devotional times? How about a life or business coach who will help you turn those good intentions into actionable steps? No matter the size of the goal, you’ll need all the support you can get – see it through to completion.

With the old year neatly packed away and the New Year bursting with anticipation, you can finally say with confidence, ‘out with the old, in with the new.’ Here’s to a fantastic year ahead. I’m cheering you on!

Marva Titley-Smith, CMgr FCMI CCM

Marva Titley-Smith, Strategic Planner & Certified Life Coach

Marva is a work and life strategist with a passion for helping women thrive in all areas of life. She’s the BVI’s first local female architect and former Chief Planner. In 2012, after 26 years in the Public Service, she successfully transitioned careers and founded the management consultancy firm MatrixSpark specializing in strategic management, training, and coaching. Seven years later, she became certified as a life breakthrough coach to address the growing work-life balance struggles facing women. She continues to welcome reinvention and is always on the lookout for what God is doing next.

You can find her writing about work-life balance and intentional living on her website www.MarvaSmith.com