The Key to a Fresh Start

Executive coach Liz Bentley’s framework for turning over a new leaf in the new year.

Published: Jan 3, 2020

It’s the start of the new year, and with that comes the chance for new beginnings. But before you plow ahead, it’s important to look back on the year that just ended. Reflect on the good, the bad, and the ugly; then rejoice in what you loved, what you did well, what you overcame, where you got stuck, and what you would do differently next time. Your takeaways can help you as you navigate the year to come.

Here’s how to use the past to give yourself a fresh start in the future.

Be grateful for the good.

Celebrate the people and events that made you proud this year—that new employee you coached, that big project you got approved, that A+ report card your child brought home. In these hectic times, it’s important to bask in the good around us, for what we do well is the foundation of everything we build. Recognizing the good gives us the confidence and faith to face difficulties in our life as they emerge, and it gives us the resilience to believe in ourselves when no one else does.

The truth is that many of our mistakes are made again and again, year after year.

It’s also important to give credit where credit is due. So be grateful for the people in your life who are helping you rise, giving you opportunities you wouldn’t have otherwise, or making you laugh when you need it. It’s these people who make a difference and give life meaning.

Stare down the bad.

Painful as it may be, you should reflect on the challenges you faced this year. I always say to my clients that that which is hard is our gift. It’s what we need to stare down and address, not hide from. For when we are living a life of great victories and great defeats, we are living a great life. This is because we are taking just enough risk to do things that are hard, which will cause us to fail at times but will keep us working in our sweet spot in order to achieve success.

Embrace the ugly.

We often start the year saying, “I’ll do things differently this time.” The truth is that many of our mistakes are made again and again, year after year. We continue our bad habits and make excuses for why things must be the way they are. But if we want to move forward, we need to dig into these ugly tendencies. It’s up to us to look for patterns and break the cycle so that we don’t repeat the same mistakes in the new year.


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