"STYLE Savvy: Organizing the Year" by Lisa Hess (CatholicMom.com) Via Pixabay (2016), CC0 Public Domain.

I'm one of those people who loves to sit down on the first day of a new year to reflect and plan. For years, I created a best/worst list of the year I'd just finished, followed by a list of the things I wanted to accomplish in the new year.

But this year, I felt disillusioned by the year we'd just finished. I was sure that good things had happened, but the negatives were so overwhelming that, until I sat down and reflected, they overshadowed the positives.

So I started my reflection with the bad and the ugly of 2016, acknowledging the things that had made the year less than stellar at my house. From there, it was easier than I expected to count blessings and, when I did, good things came to mind in other realms as well.

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From reflection, I moved to planning -- not only all the things that didn't get done in the magical week between Christmas and New Year's, but hopes, dreams and goals as well, beginning with those I'd set for myself last year. When I reviewed what I'd written last year, I was pleased to discover that I'd made progress in areas I'd forgotten about (that's what happens when you set too many goals, I guess), as well as completely losing track of things that seemed important six months ago. That's a pretty quick way to set priorities.

I really do love this annual tradition. In fact, I was disappointed that January 1 fell on a Sunday this year because I had to wait until I got home from church to dig in. Laying out all the possibilities makes the year that lies ahead feel full of promise, and it also jump starts my motivation, as I take the big goals and break them into action steps that lead me down the paths of my choosing. Though I probably should have set a "go to bed earlier" resolution, it's a good thing I didn't because I got so caught up in tackling my newly created list that I definitely didn't meet that goal on New Year's Day.

How about you? Are you setting any goals for this year? If so, write them down. I have a lovely leather planner that I use (but I'm a goal geek), but an index card you can tuck into your pocket works just as well. I'm a firm believer that the first step to achieving a goal is putting it in writing.

I'm also a firm believer that the goals you set should be more than just self-improvement resolutions. But more about that next week, so if you haven't started that list yet, you've got a week to do some more brainstorming. Not sure where to start? Maybe this article on spiritual resolutions from The Catholic Company can help you get started.

Copyright 2017 Lisa Hess