5 Ways to Make the Most of 2016

If your inbox is like mine, it’s inundated with offers, programs, planning templates and numerous other resources to help you plan for the new year…ways to set goals and make the most of the next 12 months. I’m okay with it though because this is a great time to reflect on the past year, and to dream about what next year might look like.


A soccer goal with the ball ready for a penalty kick - less the players...


“Where do you see yourself in 12 months?”

As you consider your work, your family or your life in general, Where do you see yourself in 12 months?

Here are 5 things you can do to make the most of 2016

Start Something

Perhaps there is something you’ve wanted to do for some time now; maybe you thought it was going to happen this year but it didn’t.

If you could start something what would it be?

  • A new hobby
  • A new family tradition
  • A new morning routine
  • A new evening routine
  • A new exercise plan
  • A new eating plan
  • A new business

Quit Something

Bob Goff has made famous his practice of quitting something on Thursdays. Every Thursday he quits something. No one wants to be labelled a quitter but the idea implies that life is always moving, always changing. Life isn’t static.

I’m not suggesting that you quit your family or just walk away from your job but quitting something may give you the space and time you need to doing something new. Give yourself room to grow. Life can weigh us down and even hold us back. Quitting things moves us forward and allows us to explore new opportunities, to try things you wouldn’t have time for otherwise and to fill your life with things that are fresh and different.

Risk Something

When we talk of risk, we often associate it with change or trying something new. “What if I try and fail?” But what if there is risk in not trying? If nothing changed in your life over the next 12 months, would that be okay?

The real risk:

Status quo

Not growing

Not living up to your potential

I’m not suggesting you hit the casino and bet your home at the blackjack table. But sometimes what we see as risk, is an opportunity.

If you knew you couldn’t fail, what would you try?

“I used to be afraid of failing at something that really mattered to me, but now I’m more afraid of succeeding at things that don’t matter.” – Bob Goff


Plan Something

It’s been said that, “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit every time.” What would you like to accomplish in 2016? Once you’ve identified something, make it a goal. “I want to be healthy” is not a goal. “I will lose 10 lbs by March 30”  is.

A goal is…

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Action oriented
  • Realistic
  • Time Sensitive

Decide now the goals you want to achieve next year.

Pursue Something
Once you’ve determined what you want to shoot for, it’s time to put an action plan together. Break down your goal into clear steps you can take.
The outcomes you want will be determined by your daily habits. Using our example above, if you want to lose 10 lbs by Mar 30, what will you need to do on a regular basis? How will you exercise and how often? What will you eat/not eat? Who will you exercise with?

It’s time to stop being passive. Go after it!

What will you be saying about your life 12 months from now. Don’t wait for life to happen to you. Decide now what you want it to look like. I believe 2016 can be your best year yet.

Q. What are you going to start, quit, risk, plan and pursue in 2016?  



Stop Looking For Answers. Do This Instead

When I was in graduate school, I dreaded writing papers. I don’t know why exactly. I loved my classes and the whole experience of Seminary. But the process of a determining a thesis and research and rough drafts and rewrites seemed well, like a lot of work. So maybe the obvious answer to why I didn’t like writing papers was l was just lazy. The truth is I would much rather write test…even a 4-5 hour exam was more welcomed than a 10,000 word paper. Papers seemed subjective while tests were concrete…there was a clear right and wrong answer with tests.

alphabet pile

Our education system is based on having the right answers. From what is 2+2? To, which African capital lies at the confluence of the Blue Nile and White Nile? (Yes, I had to look that one up).

Today, answers are easy to come by…we are seconds away from them…with wikipedia, youtube and google (which is now used as a verb…”why don’t you google that?”) anything we want to know is just a few clicks away. And the education system is still trapped in the model of collecting answers and memorization. The key to success used to be having more answers. 

“Knowledge is no longer power because everyone has it” Jack Welch, SUCCESS Magazine 2014

Einstein said, “If I had an hour to solve a problem, and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.”

“Great ideas are birthed from the labour of asking great questions.” Peter Drucker


Here are some, just to get you started: as you consider your relationships, work, health and finances…

  1. What were the most important lessons I learned this year?
  2. What did I put off this year?
  3. What am I most grateful for?
  4. Who do I need to express gratitude to?
  5. Am I physically healthy?
  6. Am I using my personality, strengths and abilities on a regular basis?
  7. What can I do to improve today?
  8. What will be my greatest challenges in the next month?
  9. Am I living my best story?
  10. How do I want to be remembered?
  11. If I was living a balanced life, I would be…?
  12. What am I afraid to do?
  13. How can I do it anyway?
  14. If I knew I couldn’t fail, what would I do?
  15. If money was not an issue, I would…?
  16. What gives my life meaning?
  17. Looking to next year, I am most excited about…?
  18. Looking to next year, I am most apprehensive about…?
  19. Looking to next year, my priorities will be?
  20. What are three things I want to accomplish next year?

Action Step

As you consider your relationships, work, health and finances, what questions come to mind? What are they telling you? What will you focus on in 2016?


You Don’t Have to Shop For What People Really Want (Need) For Christmas

A couple of years ago my daughter and I went to see Josh Groban at the ACC in Toronto. The concert was part of a weekend away, her high school graduation present from dad. We had an awesome time.

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During the concert I noticed how many people were watching through their phones. Then at one point Josh actually took a moment to “encourage” everyone to put their phones away.

Why did he do that?

Well, I suppose as a singer, after all the hard work he put into writing, practicing, travelling and performing, he didn’t want to sing to a bunch screens for 2 hours.

Even more than that though, I think he wanted to make a connection with the audience and the only way he felt that was going to happen in a meaningful way, is if they would give him their undivided attention. Which meant putting down their phones. Can you imagine?

What he was saying was, “Hey everyone, I know you want to capture this on your phones, but we’ll all have a much better experience without them.” Instead of saving something to your phones to watch later (which most times we don’t) stay focused now, take it all in…the sights, the sounds, the dialogue, the crowd reactions, the lights, the band members etc

Josh Groban reminded the crowd of something of tremendous value that night and he gives us a clue as to what we can give others this Christmas too.

If you’re still shopping for  someone, consider this. Give them this incredible gift…your attention!

It seems that people are in constant motion, moving from one thing to another, in a hurry, usually late and stressed. Help them slow down, relax and benefit from doing nothing other than engaging with you, one on one, quietly and slowly. Think about it. It’s a gift each of us can give.

So how can we do that?

  • Prioritize it. You may not be able to connect with everyone you want to before Christmas but start with your most important relationships.
  • Count the cost. Spending time with others does cost us something…our time, which is perhaps our most precious commodity. It may cost us the price of a coffee or lunch.
  • Schedule it. How often do we say to someone, “We should get together sometime.” But it never happens…why? Because you didn’t plan for it. In today’s world, if it’s not on your calendar it’s not happening. So next time, say, “Hey what day next week works for you? Where can we meet and what time?” Done!
  • Personalize it. Connect face to face if possible. Social media has it’s place, but as we say in our house, “Social media is for information, not conversation.” The exchange of your voices will mean more than you know. You may have to drive a significant distance to make this happen and it might be the best use of your time.
  • Leave the cell phone off. Having a conversation interrupted by their cell phone going off is annoying…and rude. If you’re having a meaningful conversation with someone, leave the phone off. Give them your attention.
  • Talk on the phone, (don’t text), if connecting in person is not an option. Believe it or not the sound of your voice will be a blessing.
  • Keep it going. This isn’t just a Christmas idea, this is a life idea. Keep the habit going into the new year.

Still wondering what to give someone this year? There is something of greater value than anything you can buy from a store. Save yourself some coin, and make an investment in someone else, by giving them your attention…your undivided attention.

What an incredible gift!

Q. Who comes to mind right now as you consider who you can give your attention to?

Q. What’s stopping you from contacting them?