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Forget ushering out the old year. It’s time to say goodbye to an old DECADE. No pressure but have you started on your new decade 2020 goals?

I’m not a resolutions person. Resolutions just feel like vague wishes. I am a goals person and a list person. I also love goals tied to milestones. I often pair big goals to personal milestones like my birthday or the transition from my 30s to my 40s. I can’t let the shift into the 2020s pass without making a ten-year plan and giving you some tools to make your goal new goals for 2020.

What I am about to share with you is a modified version of the new decade goal setting plan I’m working through personally. It’s one-part annual planning and one part dreaming big. Are you ready?

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Step 1: Release the old.

Before you can move forward it is essential to let go of the old resentments and limiting beliefs. We all have stories we tell ourselves about where we should be or what we should have done. These shoulds are doing nothing but keeping you small and standing in the way of significant growth. If you keep looking backward you can’t focus your energy forward. It’s time to forgive and forget.

You might find it helpful to do a version of this ritual I used to close my last Refill Your Cup retreat. You’ll need some dissolving paper (easy to order on Amazon), a watertight bowl or pot (I have a decorative clay pot that I love to use for these kinds of things) and water in your bowl or pot.

Once you have the dissolving paper, I want you to cut it into small squares. 1×1 or 2×2 squares should be adequate but how many you need depends on how much stuff you need to release. On each square, I want you to write down the limiting belief or resentment you need to let go of or what you need to forgive. Then drop the paper into your bowl of water. Repeat this process until you have inventoried everything you can think of that you need to release. Stir until all the paper is dissolved.

Then take the container outside and slowly pour the water out, thanking yourself for all the hard work you did to get to this point.

This is also a good time to let go of anything physically in your way. Make some time to clean out the pantry, organize your office and get rid of the old clothes cluttering your closet. Do whatever you need to do to make space for a new life, new energy and new habits.

Step 2: Dare to dream.

Now is the perfect time to revisit your 100 Dreams List, if you have one. You might even choose to start one now. If the idea of a 100 Dreams List seems too overwhelming, I suggest this free writing exercise instead.

For free writing, I believe in the power of good old-fashioned pen and paper. If you want to save it in the cloud, you can still take a picture of what you write and upload it.

Find a place that is quiet and where you can remain undisturbed for about 30 minutes. (The library is a great spot if you can’t find this at home.) With your pen and paper in front of you, take a few moments to just settle and quiet your mind. Allow your brain to relax and observe how you’re feeling. For 15 minutes, I want you to write whatever comes to mind about the future. Don’t edit. Don’t limit. No one will see this but you.

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Step 3: Choose three goals.

I want you to reread the pages you’ve just filled or review your 100 Dreams List line by line. Don’t get overwhelmed! Don’t start thinking about what you can’t do. We’re leaving those limiting beliefs in 2019, remember?

Instead, I want you to give yourself permission to focus on just three goals: one personal goal, one professional goal and one relationship goal. I am sure these goals may intersect and overlap, but there should be one specific thing you want to do, to change or to create in the new decade. Let them be big and bold but give them time to breathe. Your goals should be clear but you don’t have to set a deadline yet. You have a decade to create the life you want.

I want you to keep this list and these goals in a place that are accessible and visible. You might start creating a vision board based on your three goals. You might write them on Post-it notes that live on your bedroom mirror. You have the decade but don’t let that be an excuse to put them aside for another day.

Of course, no dream becomes a reality without action. For each of these goals, brainstorm the steps it will take to get there. You may not know all of them yet but I am confident you have some ideas about what it will take for you to go back to school for your master’s degree or to visit six of the seven continents. (Antarctica is pretty much off limits to most of us.) These are your actions steps. As you go, you’ll discover more action steps to get to those action steps but the important thing is to get started by doing just one thing that gets you closer to your goals. I want you to take one step, no matter how small, towards your new decade goals in January.

That’s how I want you to kick off the new year. Not with resolutions but with clear action steps for your new decade 2020 goals and all the possibilities they bring.

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