As the Year Winds Down

As the year winds down, and the momentum of the holidays takes over…and the days seem to fly by faster than ever, it’s a good time to reflect on the past year and look ahead.

While you are filling your calendar with visiting family and friends and attending holiday gatherings, take this time to also do some planning for your own growth and development. Resolve right now to review your personal and business goals. Look closely at your goals to get a feel for where you are with accomplishing them.

Is your action plan still relative? Does it need a fresh focus? Make the time to examine your physical, mental and fiscal health. What have you learned over the past few months that you would like to continue applying in your daily life? Are you reading enough, and taking time to appreciate your surroundings? How about physical exercise? Are you concentrating on that with the same vigor and purpose as your mental exercise?

Make a special effort to understand and embrace any changes that you know are going to occur in the next few months, whether they are personal, professional or family related. Relieve yourself of the “change frustration” and approach it positively. You might be pleasantly surprised how your attitude toward change can actually affect the impact it has on you.

Allow yourself some down time…everyday and outside, if possible. Unplug, and go for a walk; or, sit in a comfortable chair in the sun, or in the shade and feel the breeze. Visit a park. Feel alive. Appreciate whatever landscape interests you. Open your mind and heart and regenerate your energies.

Think of ways you can give back, whether you are a young business person, an artist, a banker, or a semi-retired executive. Find ways to help in the community. Get involved in sustainability efforts through your local learning institutions and civic organizations. Increase the scope of your knowledge by attending lectures, films and workshops about those subjects which are part of your world. Help organize something, offer to speak to a group of children or adults about a particular subject in which you have some background and experience. In addition, do something for someone who is less fortunate, someone who would benefit greatly from a good, warm coat, or that extra pair of gloves you rarely wear. Donate some other clothing items you’ve outgrown, or that sweater you got a few Christmas’ ago that never fit right. Visit a local center that accepts these kinds of items and ask them what other items they need.

Prepare to start the coming year rested, refreshed and ready for living everyday with clarity and purpose. Some call it “spirit;” others call it “focus,” or “vision.” Some just call it “planning.”

The point is, whatever YOU call it, know that your preparation for the coming year is an advantage you will appreciate once you start the new calendar. You will thank yourself, and come through the busy holiday season with your feet on the ground and your mind on your goals.

And finally, remember that all of life, including business, is about relationships. Nurture your relationships in every part of your life.

Douglas Crotty is a business consultant and freelance writer in Gainesville, FL. He has had an extensive career in business management, sales & marketing and organizational leadership.

Doug’s passions are developing customer/vendor relationships, strengthening organizational continuity, and helping businesses grow. His column pieces and articles have appeared in numerous business publications, community magazines, social media websites and blogs. He can be reached at 352-331-8849 (O), 352-213-2555 (C), or