guiding principles

How to Finish Well in 2018

How to Finish Well in 2018

By: Jenni Catron


These last few days of the year are a treasure to me. The busyness of Christmas is behind me and the opportunities of a new year are still ahead.  I want to bottle up these days and savor them. They are hopeful. Reflective. Unhurried.

It hasn’t always been this way. In years past we were on epic road trips trying to visit every possible family member across four states in ten days. From Christmas to January 1st was a blur and I found myself facing a new year with no perspective and no energy.

In my coaching calls this month, I discovered that for many leaders peace is the last word they would use to describe the Christmas season. Many looked at me with tears bubbling up in the corner of their eyes when I asked them if they had scheduled time to pause and reflect before they went racing into the New Year. Time to reflect? That sounds like a ridiculous question for most of you juggling the expectations of extended family and travel madness.

After years of frantically racing through December, I have become more intentional with seizing these last few days of the year. I adjust the pace.  I resist a schedule (which is a complete act of discipline for this Enneagram 3). And I engage a process of reflection that has become an anchor for perspective in the coming year. 

I wanted to share with you my process in hopes that it might inspire you to carve out some time these next few days to dream, pray and plan for 2019.

  • Relax/Refresh

Catch your breath. Drop your shoulders. Do something that allows you to change gears from the overdrive you’ve been in all month. For me that is often a long walk or hike. For some of you it might be some time at the spa. For some it’s playing games with your family. Consider what relaxes you and helps you feel refreshed and purposefully spend time doing these things.

  • Reflect

To plan for where you want to go you must reflect on where you’ve been. Perspective is essential to your success. Here are some questions I use to help me reflect on each key area of my life (spiritual, relational, personal, vocational):

– What were my favorite moments/memories?

– Where did I grow?

– What changes can I make?

– What does it look like to be intentional in the year ahead?

  • Recommit/Reorient

I intentionally use the word “recommit” or “reorient” because as I begin to plan for the upcoming year I’m rarely setting new goals that I’ve never considered before. Rather, I’m recommitting myself to my values and my passions. Tactically the goals may be new or they may be the next iteration of living out my purpose. But what I really need to do is to reorient myself with the gifts, passions and purpose that I feel God has called me to and is equipping me for. 

With this reorientation or recommitment to my sense of calling, I then set one to three big goals in each of the four key areas of life: spiritual, relational, personal and vocational.

I’m praying that 2019 is an extraordinary year for you! I hope that you’ll find time to reflect and relax, that you’ll adequately reflect and that you’ll passionately recommit to the work God has called you to do.  As one of my favorite passages of scripture says, “Do the creative best you can with your own life!” – Galatians 6:5 MSG