• Allison

Kick off the new year with inspiration

Updated: Jul 9, 2019

The start of a new year is often a time for both reflection upon the last year, as well as planning, dreaming, and scheming for the year to come. It's a natural time to set goals, re-evaluate old goals, and generally get a fresh start. With that said, all of this type of thinking can happen at any time of year, and if you have a natural transition at another time of year, you can go through these same processes.

I have my own new year planning/reflection habits that I wanted to share with you, as well as a few books that have had a big impact on me (and might have a big impact on you too) if you are in the mood for shaking up your thinking, embarking on a new path, or just want some interesting reading.


For the past several years, I have used a reflection/goal setting (FREE) booklet created by Year Compass. The first half is a reflection on the closing year, and the second half is goal and intention setting for the year to come. If nothing else, it is a nice way to debrief on the year, acknowledge the highs and lows, appreciate your accomplishments and see where you fell short. Then you can move on to visioning for the year to come. I've enjoyed filling this out, and I have also enjoyed looking back through my past ones to see how I felt about the past years.


Habit making/breaking is a popular theme this time of year, however, I recommend before you make any resolutions, try to stick to a new workout routine, or vow to overhaul all your diet, read one of Gretchen Rubin's books (Better Than Before, or The Four Tendencies). Her '4 tendencies' framework has really revolutionized the way I think about myself, and the way that I think about habit change. She has a FREE quiz you can take online if you are curious what your tendency is! I read Better Than Before, and upon learning about her tendency framework, I recognized trends within my own personality that I thought were just quirks. I can now leverage my own tendency in work and life, and understand those around me better. It's been a game-changer!


During my years in graduate school (aka the last 7 years), I struggled in a variety of ways, and there are several books that I found either validating and/or inspirational. I'll mention several of them here for anyone who is looking for some interesting reads.

Quiet by Susan Cain: This one is sooooo meaningful to me. As a bonafide introvert, I have felt the pressure to be social and extroverted...forever. I recently read back through my last 10 years of journals, and I can't tell you how many times I wrote about feeling guilty for wanting to stay home by myself, or angry that I wasn't more social when it seemed like that's what others expected from me. There's pressure to be extroverted. Until I read this book, I didn't realize how introverted I really was, and how hard I had been fighting it. Now I embrace it, and plan around my need for quiet time.

Daring Greatly by Brené Brown: This book has become wildly popular so I won't talk about it too much here. It's definitely worth a read!

Deep Work by Cal Newport: This book will make you seriously consider how you spend your time, and how to get your best work out of yourself. This book really applies to folks who are in a knowledge field (i.e. if your brain is essentially the asset you're hired for). Reading this book really made me rethink my relationship to my computer/phone, and it motivates me to set up my schedule in a way that promotes 'deep work'...although this is easier said than done!!!

Books by Pema Chödrön: This woman is an American Buddhist nun, so if you are completely uninterested in books that touch on themes of Buddhism, you might want to pass on these. If you are open to some different ways of thinking and aren't opposed to the Buddhist style of approaching challenges in life, then these books are excellent and well worth the read. I've read several of her books are really enjoyed all of them. I most recently read "The Places That Scare You". I have found them really wonderful during times of distress and upheaval.


The passion planner: While I don't love the name of this planner, I do love the set up/format and planning exercises that are built into the planner. They use a planning system called the 'passion road map' wherein you map out short term, mid-term, and long term goals, then rank those goals, and finally make an action plan each month to chip away at those goals. This method has really helped me keep long-term goals in the back of my mind, and that is essential for slowly but surely moving in the right direction. I use the bigger size, which also gives me enough space to make lots of lists, record my exercise, and I use the blank pages in the back for a variety of things (training plans, Ocelli ideas, reading list, notes I may jot down from a book I'm reading, etc). I've used a ton of planners over the years, and this is my favorite one so far.

Do you have a favorite end of year ritual, routine, or habit? Drop a note on instagram and join the conversation!

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