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Growing Leaders Blog

on Leading the Next Generation


The One Thing I Do at the Beginning of Each Year

Yesterday, I blogged about a ritual I perform at the end of every year, for the last twenty-six years. Today, I will share with you a second ritual I do, as a follow up. It enables me to enter a new year “on purpose.”  After I invest a morning reviewing the previous year, I spend the second half of the day previewing the new year. Once again, I think, I write and I pray as I open a new chapter of my life.

I don’t simply create a list of goals, although some of the items I will list below feel a lot like a “goal.” I like to view it as an “action” list and a “standard” list. What are the actions I plan to take and what are the standards I plan to live by over the next year?

Here are the issues I address to create the goals, actions and standards for 2012:

1. What are my greatest dreams for 2012?  What projects will these dreams require of me? What daily actions must I engage in to fulfill them?
2. What standards will I live by, throughout the next year:

a. Health Standards
b. Family Standards
c. Financial Standards
d. Friendship Standards
e. Personal / Spiritual Standards

3. In what areas of my life do I most want to grow in 2012?
4. What books will I read this next year to achieve those growth goals?
5. What mentors will I seek out to achieve those growth goals?
6. What magazines will I scan and file to achieve those growth goals?
7. What events will I attend to achieve those growth goals?
8. What podcasts (audio recordings) will I listen to, to help me grow?
9. What will I do Monday through Friday to be intentional about my growth?

I want to be better in January of 2013 than I was January 2012. To do this, I have found that the issue is not prioritizing your schedule but rather scheduling your priorities.  This means I must put into my calendar those things I say are the most important habits and attitudes I can embrace. Our character is simply made up of the habits and attitudes we possess daily.

This week, I’ll post a video blog that compliments what I’ve shared here. If you don’t have an action plan, feel free to try mine.

What do you do to make sure your new year is off to a great start?


Looking for a leadership development plan for 2012? Check out Leadership2Go – an online mentoring community that features monthly lessons designed to foster your personal growth and provide practical tools to expand your leadership skills.


  1. Matt on December 27, 2011 at 6:35 am

    Thank you for this fantastic Post, Mr. Elmore.  It’s a great way to look forward into the next year.  I’ve always been pretty haphazard with my New Year action plans, and this is a great guide.  I agree that we should be scheduling our priorities!  Well said.  

  2. Carole Stolz on December 27, 2011 at 8:39 am

    Great post. Thank you. What I might add to this is to start with a very intentional “Not to do list” as only by getting rid of the lower priorities is it possible to schedule higher priorities. I tend to have a very full schedule of low priority time stealers!

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The One Thing I Do at the Beginning of Each Year