One Simple Way to Radically Impact 2016

By Stephanie Zonars

We all love a fresh start. A clean slate. There’s something energizing about flipping the calendar over to January.

A number of years ago during my life coach training, my instructor (Lynn Meinke) shared the following exercise with our class and I’ve been using it ever since. It’s a thoughtful way to take stock of the past year and lessons learned into the next year.

Building strong team culture starts with leadership, but we’ve got to lead ourselves well if we want a shot at leading others well. Who you are and where you’re going as an individual flows into the identity of your team and where it’s headed.

So here’s your New Year’s challenge: set aside one hour between now and December 31st to complete the old and create the new. You’ll be amazed at the clarity that comes from this simple exercise!

Step One—Completing the Old

Look at all the areas of your life, reflecting specifically on 2015. Consider areas like family, career, wellness, faith, community, finance and recreation.

  • List all of your Wins, Successes, and Breakthroughs
  • List all of your Losses, Disappointments and Breakdowns

Regardless of whether the item is a “win” or a “loss,” you are not as likely to take on the next opportunity in your life unless you are complete with past accomplishments and disappointments. When you complete them, you create space for new things to show up in your life.

Some of my 2015 wins and losses (looking through my calendar helps jog my memory):

Wins, Successes, Breakthroughs:

  • finally worked with a physical therapist to strengthen my core and alleviate my back problems
  • new team building clients at Mississippi State, Oregon State, Providence, Penn State & Bucknell
  • visited friends in Oregon (after years of talking about it)

Losses, Disappointments, Breakdowns:

  • my dad passing away
  • a disappointing season last year at Penn State
  • inconsistency in writing and sending Wisdom for the BusyCoach emails

Step Two—Lessons Learned

Choose 5-7 lessons you have learned this past year that you want to take into 2016. When thinking of what to include, remember that you will want to consciously use these lessons in the coming year.

Some 2015 lessons I want to carry forward:

  • Life without community and local relationships doesn’t work for me
  • My productivity drastically increases if I make time to plan my week
  • Investing in my physical health is worth it

Step Three—Creating the New

Imagine ahead to December 2016 and write a list of your wins, successes and breakthroughs for 2016. Consider each area of your life, be specific and write them as though they have already happened.

Combined with this, some clients love to do a creative exercise. This might take the form of a poem, story, collage, or drawing—anything that captures the essence and excitement of where you want to go in the next year.

A few of my wins, successes and breakthroughs for 2016:

  • made weekly planning a habit
  • created a vision board
  • volunteered twice a month
  • reached 10,000 blog subscribers

After you work through these steps, use your new wins, successes and breakthroughs to formulate goals for 2016.

Merry Christmas and Happy 2016!


The post One Simple Way to Radically Impact 2016 appeared first on LifeBeyondSport.

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Stephanie Zonars helps coaches build and maintain championship cultures through her business, Life Beyond Sport. Teams at Penn State, Notre Dame, West Point and over 65 other schools have built stronger trust, communication and teamwork through her workshops. Stephanie spent three years on staff with the Penn State women’s basketball team, assisting the team to back-to-back Big Ten Championships. An author of four books, she now serves as Assistant AD of Marketing & Promotions at Cedarville University. Learn more at

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  1. terri said:

    This is a simple yet great idea Steph. So many times, we don’t take the time to Stop and reflect, because we don’t have time. Yet, if we would just make the time to reflect and grow, our future will be more positive. i know that I am very guilty of not planning my weeks out. Ironically, I carry a planner everyday. And everyday there are things written down to do on it. But my mind knows which items have a deadline that day and which ones don’t need to get finished. So as a result, I get only the most immediate things done. I am struggling with how to incorporate important over-arching goals that are fluid, with no immediate deadline, like regular daily exercise or reading. I am curious what your thoughts are?

    • Stephanie said:

      Great question, Terri! Thanks for posting it. You’re not alone—lots of us struggle with planning our weeks well. You’re probably familiar with Stephen Covey. Have you read about or seen his Big Rocks concept? Here’s a short video: The premise of the concept is that if we schedule the most important things in our lives first (seems like daily exercise and reading may fit into that category for you) then all the other stuff of life will fill in around it. But if we leave it to chance, we’ll get bogged down by the minutia and never get to the big stuff. Hope that helps!