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8 Ways to Start the New Year Right

6. Refocus

After a time of reflection, I refocus on what I consider to be my core identity. I intentionally take this time to review a “Destiny” document that includes my:

Biblical Purpose— A single statement that articulates the big-picture purpose of my life.

Life Mission—A single statement that articulates what God has called me to do.

Core Values—A short list of what I value most in my life.

Ultimate Contributions—A list of statements that describe the legacy I want to leave.

Strategic Priorities—The top five things I must do to fulfill my purpose and mission.

Life Scriptures—Passages of Scripture that are pivotal in my life.

Life Goals—A list of objectives, hopes and aspirations I would like to achieve before my life finishes.

This focusing process keeps me centered. It helps me refocus on God’s purpose for my life, how I can make the greatest contribution and what is most important to me. It also gives me a starting point for mapping out the next year.

7. Remove

The seventh practice is all about de-cluttering my life. It’s very easy throughout the year to pick up habits, time-wasters and distractors that rob my productivity. During this week, I intentionally remove this mental baggage from my life. That plays out in a number of ways including:

a. Reviewing my calendar to see where I’m spending my time.

b. Creating a “stop do” and a “delegation” list.

c. Purging my email inbox.

d. Unsubscribing from every unnecessary email list.

8. Reprioritize

Finally, I take time to identify strategic priorities for the new year. The last four practices (renew, reflect, refocus and remove) help me to see more clearly, and they serve as the stimulus for developing my priorities for the new year. Reprioritization is usually expressed by:

a. Creating a new Personal Growth TRAC (download my free ebook to learn how).

b. Identifying goals for the new year.

c. Making schedule adjustments.

d. Clarifying next steps.

One final note: The last week of the year is not rigid. I spread these practices out over the course of a week. I don’t cram them into one day or race against a hard and fast deadline. Some take longer than others, but all of them can easily be done in less than a week. Remember, “rest” is the first practice. A slowed pace will help you think clearer and enjoy the process.

What do you do to start the new year right?  

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Stephen Blandino is the Lead Pastor of 7 City Church near the downtown/cultural arts district of Fort Worth, Texas. He holds a Master's in Organizational Leadership and is the author of "GO! Starting a Personal Growth Revolution." He lives in the Fort Worth area with his wife Karen and their daughter Ashley. Stephen blogs regularly at www.stephenblandino.com on leadership, personal growth, church, and culture. You can also connect with Stephen on twitter @stephenblandino.