By Sunny Simon

Planning for the New Year is energizing. It always reminds me of what my engineering friends call “clean sheet design.” My process is similar. Based on my personal requirements for success, I open a new word document and develop my goals for the coming year. There is one important thing I do prior to gearing up for a brand new calendar year. My practice is to mentally walk through the past 12 months. Pausing to rewind and reflect helps me identify what I am grateful for, what I learned, where I dropped the ball and how I can improve.

Admittedly I was always confused by the lyrics in the Robert Burn’s poem “Auld Lang Syne.” One day I realized “should auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind,” was an invitation to remember friendships. I kick off my year end review by focusing on all the incredible people who passed through my life.

Next I check in on my personal development. Did I do the right things to stretch and grow? What did I learn? What new skills did I master? How did I work at being a better coach, a better person? Then knowing how I tend to get distracted, I assess which items were left untouched or incomplete noting what course corrections are required to get to the goal line.


During my annual review, I whisper a silent prayer for my mentors. Then I acknowledge my clients, a group of courageous individuals who succeeded in raising the bar high and making positive changes in their lives. Oh yes, the teacher always learns from the students. When I contemplate the many blessings bestowed upon me over the past year, I stop to give heartfelt thanks.

Reflecting on my blessings leads me to question my actions. Did I give back enough? Was I a cheerful giver? Did I offer friendship to strangers? Did I spend sufficient time helping those in need?

So, my friends, as you take the last strand of tinsel off the tree and finish up the remains of the Santa Claus cookies, stop for a moment and make that trip down memory lane. Spend some time in quiet reflection as you rewind and review the 12 months of 2013. Begin and end with gratitude. Congratulate yourself on your achievements and take to heart the lessons learned. Then turn the page and make 2014 your best year yet!

Sunny Simon is the owner of Raise the Bar High Life and Career Coaching. More about Sunny at