Happy New Year brilliant ones. I hope you’ve had a wonderful holiday season; I know I have. It’s been overflowing with vacations, friends, family, and some much needed down time. But now that the New Year is upon us, I wanted to share with you some of my favorite ways of ringing it in to ensure you elevate your business in the months to come.

Break out a pen and paper, and prepare to get sorted.

First, we look back.

Ready your confetti because we’re going to celebrate your accomplishments. What worked last year for your business? List everything that went well from accolades, to sales, to personal bests, to goals achieved. What went well?

It’s important to exercise your memory here because we so often focus on the things that didn’t work, or almost worked or the things we’re currently working on that we’re (possibly) afraid won’t work either.

It’s a dangerous cycle. Which is why we count our wins, every one of them. So take some time, right now, to write down what bloomed last year.

Next: What were your struggles? Write them down. Did you struggle with attracting new clients, retaining old ones, being visible in your marketing, getting your books balanced, or self-doubt? What didn’t run so smoothly last year?

It’s equally important to take account of the things that can be improved upon so that you can devise a plan to, you know, improve them. It may be that you need some mental reprogramming around a piece of your business, or you need to hire help, or you need to reprogram so that you can hire help. Whatever it is, you won’t know until you take account.

What can you do differently? Knowing the struggles means we can brainstorm the potential solutions. If you haven’t been consistent with your marketing, maybe you need to hire an assistant to run your social media or mailing campaigns. If your books are a mess (or non-existent?), hire a bookkeeper. Whatever your struggle was, list some possible solutions, pick the one that feels best, and commit to trying it in the months to come.

Now, we look forward.

Answer the following questions:

What would you like to remain the same in the new year? There are things we don’t want to change, and guess what, you don’t have to. If it’s working for you, keep on going.

What, specifically, would you like to be different? This might be related to your struggles, and it might be something that’s simply been born from experience. What’s going to change in the upcoming months?

What is your mission, or your overarching intent for this year? Some people simply pick a word to encompass their year; others take a more detailed approach. For this, I think simple is best, but you do what makes the most sense to you. Your job here is to know what you want the theme of this year to be.

What are your top three goals for the next period of time? This could be 3 months, 6 months, 9 months; whatever feels right. Pick a time period you’re comfortable with (in my experience 3-6 months is most effective) and write out your top three goals. Don’t overwhelm yourself, but don’t sell yourself short either.

Finally, how are you going to achieve those goals? What are your action steps? Now that you know what has worked in the past, what you’ve struggled with, and what you want to accomplish in the future, you are well armed to detail a plan of action. You’ll want to outline small segments of manageable steps, so as not to overwhelm yourself into inaction.

This is your time; enjoy every second of it!

The truth is, any time of year can be your new year, but sometimes it’s easier to tap into all the restorative and positive energy that centers on the calendar year. So take the time to bring yourself back to center, decide what you want, and create a plan to see you there, all the while dreaming wildly and believing in the best possible outcome.