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New Year: Introspection, Renewal, and Growth

Some may see winter as their least favorite season, but maybe if we change our perspective we can see it as a season of introspection, renewal, and growth. Winter brings with it the New Year, the Holidays (love them or hate them), and the dreariness of the empty trees. It brings shorter days, the cold and the snow (at least here in Northeast USA). It’s these times that can make you take a good look at yourself over the past year.

Here’s a short exercise: grab a notebook, some paper or your handy text editor of choice and make two lists.

In your first list, ‘Things that I want to improve’, write down some skills or knowledge that you have and want to improve or expand. They can run the gamut from something you know very well to something you’ve just started learning. Mayhaps you’ve picked up on how to use a software program and want to become more familiar with the ins and outs. Do you remember any of that foreign language you learned in college, high school or on a trip? Perhaps you really enjoy something esoteric (like progressive-jazz-fusion-math-metal or pointillism or superstring theory)? Write down as many (or as few) as you’d like.

The second list is ‘Things I want to learn’. Here you should think about some topics, skills, places, people or anything else, you’d like to learn about. Is this the year you learn how to code your first app? Have you heard of Dame Nellie Melba? Who is she? Have you heard of the esoteric examples listed above? Give yourself lots of choices in this column! After you’ve finished your list, organize it in order of priority of interest.

Okay! You’ve got two lists! You’re going to pick two from ‘Things that I want to improve’ and seventy four from ‘Things I want to learn’. (Just kidding about that last one, I’m going to recommend three but pick as many as you can handle. Challenge yourself!) As an example, I chose: staying focused on my tasks and completing them ahead of time, learning more about myself and how I think, improving my coding skill, and learning about finance and economics, data analysis, and statistics (which should be useful in my career).

These items will be the tasks that I want you to focus on this year. Think of it as your New Year’s Resolution. Together we can grow and renew ourselves. I hope that through this process (repeat as needed), we can focus on continuing forward each year and forge the path we’d like to take in life. It will be through this self-initiative that we grow to learn more about ourselves, our friends and family, our colleagues, and the world.

I hope that this quote from T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets will inspire you in this process. “We shall not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”

Feel free to share your goals with us via twitter!