New Year

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. I can’t help thinking promises made just because it`s tradition are bound to fail.

January feels too cold, too dark and too sluggish to make grand, optimistic changes. looking-ahead

But I do have one New Year’s tradition. Every January I book myself a few hours off to spend doing my favourite pastime – thinking, reflecting, and writing it all down.

Positive Questions

I look back on the previous year and ask myself some nice, positive questions like:

What did I succeed at this year, or got better at?
What did I do that surprised me?
Which of my aims for the year did I achieve?
How have I grown as a person? Stretched myself, or been brave?
What have I learnt?

Challenging Questions

Then I ask myself some more challenging questions like:

How have my priorities shaped up this year?
Am I spending the right amount of time on what really matters?
How are my relationships – with God, my family, my friends, those I work with?
Am I happy with what I spent my money on?
What have I not done well this year?
Which of my goals did I fail to achieve, and why? Is this OK?
What have I neglected, or got too busy for, or avoided?
Am I proud of the person I have become this year?
Why is my house still messy and my to-do list still so long and complicated?

New Year plans

After that cheery self-examination, I start looking forward to the year ahead:

What are my aims and goals for this year?
What do I need to spend more – or less – time doing?
What issues have been sifted to the surface that need addressing?
Where does my self-discipline need tightening up?
What dream is it time to stop dreaming about and start doing?
What do I need to be more proactive about, and what do I need to be more patient in waiting for, or let go of?

Every year some of the answers are different, and some the same. I’m a list-driven person, so most of the aims from the previous year will have been done. The quantifiable ones like: decorate the hall, organise a conference, set up a website, sell X number of books. It’s the every-day, all year, drip-drip-drip ones I need to keep an eye on: invite my friends round, smile more, talk to my kids about the stuff that really matters. They’re why I need to take time to stop and assess where I`m heading.

But what always strikes me most is the ways in which my year will have gone “off-list” – the surprises, the unexpected adventures, the out of the blue challenges. And looking back, how these will have been the bits where I learnt the most, grew stronger, forged deeper relationships and probably ended up having the best time.

Not the happiest, or the easiest or the calmest, but the best.


So for this year, 2015, I’ve written my list of hopes and dreams, plans and possibilities. Some big and scary and exciting, some that will require a daily plod and months of perseverance. But in reality, the things I’m looking forward to most about the year ahead are those I can’t plan or foresee, the unexpected, out of my comfort zone and beyond my wildest imagining things. Those I may not choose, but afterwards I’m glad I didn`t get the choice.

So – here’s to a year that can’t be mapped out, planned or predicted (not by human minds, anyway). Whatever your hopes and dreams for 2015, I wish you a truly blessed one.

How would you sum up 2014? What are your aims for 2015?

Beth Moran is one of the trustees of Free Range Chicks. She is also a writer, speaker and author of the book Making Marion. You can read more of Beth’s work here


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