Your 8-step finish strong, start stronger plan

We are moving fast into 2019. While most are in the holiday mode, many forward-thinking people are focused on how to start things off right in January.

Ideally, before you jump ahead to 2019, it’s a good idea to position yourself to start on the right foot.

What can you do now to close the year strong? How can you be ready to stand out and set yourself up for success next year?

I do the following 8 steps every year end and encourage you to consider adopting it in your own life:

1. Identify your wins and successes.

How will you remember this year? Take as much time as possible to list of all the accomplishments, areas of progress and results or positive events that took place during the past calendar year. Include all areas of your life – business, career, personal – as much wins you’ve had this year. Aim for at least 50. This may be hard starting off but keep going even if you think you are feeling stuck. We sometimes do not give ourselves credit for our wins and you may be surprised that you have accomplished a lot more than you ever give yourself credit for. When complete, recognize how fortunate you truly are. Do not minimize the many good things that have happened in your life regardless of the difficulties that you may have also experienced.

2. Set your 365 vision and action plan.

Consider this: when you saw the calendar change to November, did you get a feeling of dread because you haven’t accomplished most of the goals you set out to achieve in 2018? Or, are you like many who rarely set any goals at all? As the saying goes, “You’ll never get there if you don’t know where you’re going.” You definitely “can’t get there” until you decide where you want to end up. Ask yourself, “What do I want to be, do, have, accomplish by December 2019?” What would you be happy that you accomplished one year from now? Clarify this vision now and work backward to develop your 30-day, 7-day and 24-hour plan of action so you won’t be in this position next year at this time.

3. Improve your productivity.

How can you get more done more efficiently? How can you become more of a master time manager moving forward? If you’re not already asking yourself this question, now is the time to start. If you can accomplish more in less time, you’ll free up hours for projects or goals you don’t think you have time for. Some key time wasters include excessive email checking, not prioritizing projects and spending a lot of time on social media. Start tracking your time on these activities and you may be surprised by how many hours you can recover from your day.

4. Learn a new skill.

The quote “learn or die” rings true for me. In the new year, decide to add one new skill to your personal and professional portfolio. In a competitive global environment, one way to get ahead is to put in extra effort in skill-building to make yourself more marketable as a valued employee. What skill or skills will you develop to grow your business, career or team in 2019?

5. Identify a coach, mentor or mastermind.

If you have new goals for 2019, it is highly recommended to find a coach, mentor or mastermind to support you as you work to accomplish them. The best are willing to invest their time and energy in you; add value from their experiences and you can expect to learn something in return. Consider actively seeking someone to serve these roles.

6. Expand your relationships.

Is there someone you would love to get to know better, but you’ve never made the effort? Maybe it’s a role model or a someone in your professional organization. What can you do to get to know the person better? Early in the new year, invite him or her to join you for coffee or lunch, or attend a networking event together. Make a list of people you would like to work with in the new year. Never forget that personal and professional growth, and achievement success, always comes through people and the right associations. Who will you add to your network in 2018?

7. Establish your standout brand.

There’s no time like the present to ramp up your personal and professional brand. If you’ve been hesitating to get a LinkedIn profile, or you never bothered to take a professional photo to use online, now is the time. Employers and potential clients are turning to social media to source candidates and to learn more about you. What will they find?

8. Create your 2019 Dream board.

Lastly, Now that you have gotten clear about your wins, your vision and your skill building and brand-boosting plan, it’s time to put it all in a place and format that inspire and remind you often. My favorite way is an annual dream board through words and pictures that represent exactly what you want in 2019. It is the #1 tool you can use to kickoff a new year. A fun way to create one is at my upcoming Dream Board Party beginning Dec 15, 2018 or early 2019. 

If you’d like to attend or arrange a Dreamboard Party  Experience for yourself or your team, contact me at

•Listed in The Nassau Guardian’s “Top 40 under 40”, Keshelle Davis helps companies and individuals improve their productivity and performance. She is the CEO of The Training Authority, an entrepreneur and internationally recognized speaker and author. Formerly she served as Executive Director of the Chamber Institute – the education arm of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation (BCCEC) – and has impacted thousands through her mission to educate, empower and inspire. Contact Keshelle at


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