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Tag Archives: New Year

Your Year in Review: 21 Questions To Ask Yourself Before The New Year Hits


As the year comes to a close, I’ve been receiving numbers of great emails from my writer friends and colleagues who have taken the time to provide a fascinating summary of their 10 most successful and popular posts. I’m enjoying reading these posts, but in honor of this coming year, I’d like to try something a bit different that I hope will be helpful.

I’d like to suggest that we all do this one thing by New Year’s eve: instead of making empty resolutions that often bear no meaningful fruit, why not spend an hour quietly, with ourselves, and conduct our own honest, probing and insightful “year in review.” Let’s look back with eyes wide open, so we can see what’s happened clearly, and use those insights to fuel a happier, more fulfilling and fruitful life.

What would be helpful to explore in your “Year in Review” exercise?

Here’s the list of important questions I’m going to explore and answer about last year (and the upcoming one) as I embark on my critical review. I’m going to look as honestly and courageously as I can at what went very well in my life and work last year, what didn’t go well, what I’m proud of, what I deeply regret, and what I wish to bring forward in my life in a bigger way.

Perhaps you’d like to answer these questions as well:

What’s been the best?

1. What are you most proud in terms of what you achieved, accomplished or brought into being this year – in life and work?
2. What did these achievements or actions in turn make possible – for you, your family, your organization, your financial situation, and your health and well-being, for others?
3. What makes you smile just to think about it today?

What’s been the hardest?

4. What event or experience represented the “worst” of the year, and why exactly?
5. What action(s) did you take that you want to eradicate from your behavior forever?
6. What makes you feel ashamed and “less than,” or even toxic to others?
7. What brings tears of unhappiness and regret to your eyes when you think about it?

What do you want to accentuate and amplify in your life next year?

8. What outcomes or achievements do you want to build on next year?
9. What parts of yourself do you wish to expand and strengthen?
10. What role models and supportive people will you find to help you, and how?

Who has been most helpful?

11. Who are the top three helpers whom you’d like to knowledge?
12. Who has gone above and beyond in their efforts to assist you in a goal or important outcome?

Who needs to be chucked from your life?

13. Who has been terribly unsupportive or nasty to you, and needs to be let go of if you’re going to move forward the way you long to?

What are your top priorities?

14. What priorities did you honor well in 2014?
15. What priorities did you turn your back on?
16. What new priorities have emerged for you this year that you are committed to honoring?

What are your exciting stretch goals?

17. What goals did you set for yourself in 2014 that you met?
18. What important goals did you fail to achieve, and why?
19. What new stretch goals can you set that will be juicy, compelling and fulfilling to reach?

Knowing all this, what is your highest vision of your future self?

20. Who do you wish to connect with, and build stronger, more loving relationships with?
21. Finally, who do you want to become in 2015?

To me, there’s nothing more discouraging than believing you’ll do something important in the coming year, then failing miserably and having no clue why. Make 2015 the year you get clearer on what’s happening in your life, and the reasons behind it (obviously, it’s not all random – we’re co-creating what’s happening). Take some concrete steps to bring about the changes you long for most in your life and work, and make these changes stick. Let this year be a year you look back on and say, “Finally! I’m becoming the person I’ve dreamed of being.”

Here’s to an amazing 2015 to you.

(For a bit of inspiration to make the changes you long for, watch my video Time to Shine, and take my 6-day Amazing Career Challenge.)


A Holiday Wish and Musical Gift

As Christmas, Hanukkah and the New Year are happily upon us, I would like to wish you and yours a beautiful holiday season, and a New Year full of joy, peace, and prosperity.

I deeply appreciate being in community with you, and receiving each day the amazing gifts of wisdom, humor, insight, and support from all my colleagues, friends and peers.

A Gift of Music

Each year, my husband jazz percussionist Arthur Lipner (on the vibraphone) and I (on the vocals) love to share a little musical gift we’ve recorded.  Hope you like it (we’ve had a ball recording these tunes)!!
This year’s tune is (click the link to hear):
And here are previous years’ musical gifts, once again!
Click here:
You’ve helped make this year a wonderful one, full of joy, growth and learning.  May the New Year bring to you all that you hold dear.
Happy Holidays, and joy and peace in 2012 and always.
Much love,
Kathy Caprino
P.S. Check out Arthur’s documentary film in production – Talking Sticks!
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How to Make – and Fulfill – New Year’s Resolutions That Change Your Life

New Year’s Resolutions are promises we make to ourselves about a future vision we wish to achieve, but we often (dare I say “almost always”) lack the strategy, commitment, focus, and accountability to make them a reality. 

Here are five simple yet powerful tips to getting your groove on in terms of keeping these important commitments to your own success and happiness, and achieving true life change.

 1) Make your resolutions S.M.A.R.T.

Don’t just say – “I’m going to lose 15 pounds.” The vagueness of the “how” behind a big goal sets you up for failure.  Make each resolution a S.M.A.R.T. goal – that is, specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely.  So instead of “lose 15 pounds,” dimensionalize the goal and break it down into bite-sized pieces. 

 Develop a fully fleshed-out plan and articulate it in writing.  State something like: “Beginning January 7, I will follow my new plan to lose 1 lb per week. I’ll do it through my new nutritional menus, 3 days of 30-minute cycling per week, and a short hike each weekend.” Then monitor your progress each week and revise your course if necessary all along the way to your goal.  Remember: if you don’t DO anything different from what you’ve always done, nothing will change.

 2) Dream Big, But Add a Dose of Realism

It’s wonderful to dream big, but you also need to be realistic about the time, energy and commitment it will take to make your resolution a reality.

 If you want a lofty goal as a resolution such as “I will finally write my book,” first understand what you’re committing to in terms of time, money, focus, and actions that will make this goal a reality.  As an initial step, “try on” the goal (before making the resolution) by researching it online and offline, and interviewing five people you know who’ve published a book about what it truly takes to write one.  If after researching it, you feel you can and want to do it, make your resolution clear and manageable – “I will complete my manuscript by the end of 2011, finding the helpers I need along the way.”

3) Don’t Based Your Goal on the Negative – Juice it up with Positivity

If you hate your job and want out, don’t make your goal “I’ll leave my job by June.”  Reframe your goal to a more positive, expansive direction that encompasses what you truly want, not what you want to leave behind.  Shift your resolution to, “I will begin January 7th on a path of finding an exciting new job that aligns with my passions, talents, and skills.”

Then follow it up with the actions and endeavors required today to land a great new job.  First, figure out what you really want in the next chapter of life and work (take my free Career Path Assessment to gain deeper clarity on where you want to go.).  Then, take key steps to build your personal brand and a powerful network to support you.  Revamp your resume, reach out to recruiters, colleagues and friends, get more connected on social media and LinkedIn, and request endorsements on LinkedIn, for a solid start.

4) Connect With Your Capabilities and Past Successes

Before you make a resolution, think about times in the past you’ve achieved a great goal. How did you do it?  What motivated you, and how do you persevere through the challenging times?  Bring forward those traits and capabilities you already possess, and make sure those steps and abilities you’ve drawn on before are reflected in your new resolutions. 

For instance, a client of mine wanted to raise her fees in her consulting practice this year, but was nervous to do it in these recessionary times.  I asked her to recall a time when she asked for more money, and it worked out well.  She remembered asking for a raise in her corporate job several years ago, and getting it.  She brought to mind all the steps she took to accomplish that success (outlining her key achievements, doing research about what others at her level are earning, assessing the obstacles to her getting more money, becoming clearer about the value she brought to the table, etc.).  This past process that she successfully followed gave her the courage to ask for what she deserved in her new situation, and it worked. 

Bring all the learning from your past successes forward into your 2012 resolution success planning to show yourself you can do it.

5) Get Help To Be Accountable

We don’t achieve big goals alone, or in a vacuum.  That’s simply not how the best and most powerful work and accomplishments get done.  You need a collection of different helpers to fill in your “gaps” – including a mentor, a coach (if you can afford one), and a role model who is ten steps ahead of where you are today, and who embodies what you want and how you want it.  Realize what you don’t know, and get outside help to support you. 

As Einstein pointed out, we can’t solve a problem on the level it was created.  Ask your mentor or coach to hold you accountable.  Meet with them regularly to assess your progress, share your challenges, and ask for their insights into what you could be doing differently and how you can learn, grow, and change your mindset, habits and behaviors to achieve what you want.

 *  *  *  *  *

In the end, resolutions can be empty, unfulfilled promises filled with regret, or enlivening, motivating goals that help you be all you want to be in life and work.  It’s up to you.  I’d go for the latter! 

What’s your top New Year’s resolution for 2012 and how will you achieve it?

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A New Kind of Year

Hello and Happy New Year!  I hope your holidays were lovely, and you feel refreshed and excited about the New Year.

What a challenging year 2010 was for so many, including me.  In thinking about what I would like to bring about in 2011 in my life and work, I’ve decided to take a very different approach to my planning and envisioning process. 

I’ve suffered a good deal of heartache and disappointment over the past years because I overly-attached to what I thought I wanted to achieve and create.  When these events or experiences didn’t come to pass, I was let down, only to learn later (days, months, and even years afterward), that what I hankered for so keenly wasn’t even what I truly wanted in my heart and soul. 

 Over-Attachment Causes Suffering 

I’ve observed that we humans attach ourselves with full force to a specific outer “form” of something we think we want (this new job, house, business, etc.), because we believe this “thing” or experience will bring us happiness. 

 What I’ve learned is that experiencing joy, fulfillment and “success” is much less about outer experiences and things, and much more about the process of living – namely, letting go of what we think we should be doing and being, and instead, embracing with gratitude and gusto the person we are and what we have already created, and moving forward from a perspective of acceptance rather than resistance.  After all, what we resist, persists.

 A New Process

So this year things will be different for me.  Sure, I’m excited to set out key goals for my life, work, and business.  But at the same time, I’m ready to let the year unfold as it will, embracing what comes, learning and growing from it, and knowing that much of what life brings is out of my control.  I know now that if I can be fully present for the ride rather than resisting it, life is more joyful, peaceful and fulfilling. Make sense?

I encourage you to set out for yourself the heartfelt goals you’d like to achieve, but also forge a new process of living whereby you are able to deeply and wholeheartedly feel, embrace, and cherish who you are and what you have in your life, each and every day.

Sound good? Let’s do it together.  Let’s plan, envision, and embrace.  Here’s to a new kind of life experience in 2011.

What can you accept and embrace today that you’ve been resisting?

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