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New year, new habits

Take time to remember the successes, opportunities, challenges, highlights, low lights, good times and bad of the last 12 months.

by Jon Dudgeon

Ever since joining Arthur Andersen (remember them!) in 1998 as a trainee chartered accountant, I’ve always found January an exciting and challenging month professionally.

Traditionally, January for accountants is a very ‘busy’ season… Often the calendar year sees many company’s financial year end close and this combines nicely with the personal tax return deadline of the 31st of January. So generally you have very organised company owners needing sight of their year end results and very disorganised personal tax clients in a panic about how much income tax they owe!!! What does this mean? The fun and festive period suddenly becomes a very distant memory and in it’s place? Well, hard work, focus, resilience and with a fair wind plenty of opportunity for some under-promising and over-delivering! Practice and experience are taking over and as I write this blog, it is currently 11.30am on the 31st of December… My mind is already on 2018!!!!

After becoming a business owner in 2007 and more recently a business coach, I now use this special, fresh, calm period of the year to take stock, reflect and ‘look back down the mountain’ of the year that was. I take time to remember the successes, opportunities, challenges, highlights, low lights, good times and bad of the last 12 months.

So what the hell was 2017 all about for you? What did you set out to achieve back in January 2017? Did you have a plan? Did everything go as expected? What came along that you never even dreamed of? Was it a great year? A tough year? These are all questions I look back on. This year I have asked my team to do this too…

As the hangovers subside, the 2nd of January is all about welcoming the team back into their work life after Christmas. Let’s continue the fun and recapture the amazing vibe that sent us bouncing out the office on Christmas Eve. Let’s chill for 24hrs and gradually move out of first gear. I prefer this approach to the ‘corporate’ welcome I used to get at some of my previous employers….

Then, on the 3rd of January we begin our day with our ‘looking down the mountain breakfast’. Let’s remember 2017 and all its goodness! What do we want to take into 2018 and what do we want to leave behind in 2017 forever? Let’s leave those bad habits behind us and use the freshness of the January breeze to welcome in the new habits of 2018, share our plans for the New Year ahead, and get some momentum to start climbing the mountain again.

Let’s plot the next stage of our journey together, set some milestones across the year, give ourselves a few markers to aim at and start tackling and enjoying the thoughts and vision of the new challenges facing us all as individuals and as a team.

What will be our key results to take away from 2018?

After all, without this brief period of reflective, perspective and planning for the year ahead, how will we be able to look back over 2018 in the same way as we are doing now? How can we say we will have achieved our vision and surpassed the appetite and enthusiasm we had for the next 12 months when we were guzzling champagne and singing Auld Lang Syne 72 hours earlier?

Where do we want to go next? What does 2018 mean for each and every member of the Blu Sky Team, our clients, our suppliers and most importantly our families?

What will we be talking about in next years’ look down the mountain breakfast? What will be celebrated and what will have unexpectedly happened by then?

So, as we bound into January, I encourage you to set the tone, the momentum… Agree on the small habitual rituals that will guide you and your team and help refocus you in the times ahead. This time will help you construct a plan to move through 2018 with a direction, a vision, a purpose to reflect on this time next year.

Yes, let’s remember, and look back down the mountain first! And then after that let’s look forward with excitement at the year ahead! Carpe diem. Let’s seize the day, let’s do this, let’s make 2018 the year of the best work of our lives!! Whatever it is that you want to do, let’s set those small regular habits to refer to, adjust, to remind you day after day after day of where you want to be by the 31st of December 2018. And of course don’t forget about plan B, C and D; having the flexibility to adapt and change as you walk through the year ahead will mean you are truly in control. If you need support, help and coaching setting, planning and plotting your key financial objectives and habits then think Blu Sky and get in touch…

Happy New Year and have a fantastic 2018!

Let’s do this…..

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