Jackie Gingrich Cushman
The week between Christmas and New Years has always been one of my favorite times of the year. The hustle and bustle of Christmas is past, and the resolutions of the New Year have not yet kicked in, so the expectations and requirements are few.

Growing up, this week was part of Christmas break from school. During college, it was the time to relax after exams and before the start of a fresh semester. As a young professional, it was the time to get my desk and files organized while no one was around. As a mother of two middle schoolers, I'm looking forward to the unstructured time to sleep in, relax and visit with family and friends. It's the time of year when deadlines don't exist, planning for the future is put on hold and being, rather than doing, is the point of existence.

Most years, during this time of the year, I reflect back on the year that is coming to a close -- what was good and bad about it -- what happened, how did it turn out. Then I turn to the year to come -- what are my hopes and dreams, what goals do I want to set.

Reading over my column from the beginning of this year, "Ten Ways to Start the New Year Fresh," I realized that this reflection and planning has not produced any tangible results, at least not this past year.

The ten ways from the beginning-of-the-year column were:

1) What's past is past. Wipe all the disappointments of 2012 from your mind. Then do this again every month, every week, every morning.

2) Define success.

3) Think about long-term success, not short-term success ...Write your obituary. What do you want said about you when you die?

4) Define what you can do in the coming year that will build a foundation to achieve your long-term goals.

5) Survey the terrain. What are the strengths and weaknesses of your position?

6) Take inventory of available talent and supplies. What are the assets available to be used, and are there any alliances to be made that might help you reach those goals?

7) Break your annual goal into sub-goals that can be completed in individual months.

8) Translate the monthly goals into daily activities.

9) Develop ongoing amnesia. A large part of life is about momentum. Positive momentum should be amplified and reinforced.

10) Enjoy life ... Life is not about the accomplishments; it's about the relationships that we make along the way.


Jackie Gingrich Cushman

Jackie Gingrich Cushman is a speaker, syndicated columnist, socialpreneur, and author of "The Essential American: 25 Documents and Speeches Every American Should Own," and co-author of “The 5 Principles for a Successful Life: From Our Family to Yours”.