On reflection: planning for non-planners

New Year is a time when we naturally reflect on the year that’s been, and what we hope for in the time ahead. I don’t do this in any structured kind of way, and I don’t generally set new year resolutions but I do spend some time mulling over lowlights and highlights from the year just past.

If you’re seeing a whole lot of “how to SMASH your goals in 2018” posts and they seem like a lot of WORK when you just want to kick back, I have a different approach which is much easier. This is also a great alternative to new year resolutions – which we’re notoriously bad at keeping – if you want a sense of purpose for the year ahead but you’re a little allergic to hard work and long-term commitment.


The backbone of this is simple. Think about your past year’s lowlights and highlights.

2017 for me included one awful lowlight (which – as is often the case with things which knocks us for six, was something I had very little control over).

And – fortunately – many highlights:

Going to two Women Who Get Shit Done Unconferences

These left me feeling so inspired and reassured that NZ is in very good hands. There are many many women out there doing amazing and important things. Also, I now have a whole lot more friends, and you can’t put a price on that.

(Huge shout-out to Anna and all the WWGSD organisers, who put in an ENORMOUS amount of work to get these events off the ground and to create a safe, welcoming environment where all kinds of magic happens).

Travelling around Australia for a month in the winter with my family

I expected this to be awesome and it exceeded expectations over and over again. We ate a lot of beautiful Australian chocolate, saw many animals we’d never heard of, and caught up with relatives I hadn’t seen in years. We also moved heaven and earth to get my son to an Aussie Rules match – in the freezing cold and pouring rain – only to realise that when he said the one thing he wanted to do in Oz was to go to a footie match, he had in fact meant soccer. Ah, good times.

(Huge shout-out to all the people who let us land on them and were so so hospitable…and to Ros and Flynn, we didn’t argue anywhere near as much as we might have and we’re quite the travel crew!)

Taking myself away for a week on a retreat

This was one of the best things I’ve done for myself in years, and it made me realise the power in spotting an opportunity and making something happen, when my gut told me it was exactly what I need. I talked about this on FB live here.

(Huge shout-out to Ros for giving me time and space for a week, my parents for the beautiful place to base myself, and to my buddies in Central Otago for the company; I can only laugh at so many of my own jokes!)

Working with amazing, wonderful and inspiring clients as an efficiency coach.

I am always so humbled that people choose to talk with me in this role. I love it when the discussions we have lead to real and meaningful changes in their lives. I’m also constantly in awe of people’s strength, creativity, dedication and willingness to step up and take action when change is what they desire. We have wonderful conversations and clients keep me optimistic about the power of human beings to grow in whatever ways we most want and need to. (Also, I’ll never tire of musing on the psychopathology of everyday life and it would be far less entertaining to explore this on my own.)

(Huge shout-out to all my clients, and the wonderful women in my mastermind group. Thank you thank you THANK YOU! It’s a true privilege to work with all of you.)


If you’d like to give yourself some direction for the year ahead, but don’t want or need to spend hours mapping out a plan, I suggest using this very simple strategy. It’s a series of question to ask yourself:

  • what were my highlights and lowlights of the past year?
  • was there anything I could have done differently to avoid the lowlight(s)?
  • what can I learn from the lowlights or the biggest challenges?
  • is there a theme to the highlights (are they mostly about connection, or wellbeing, or stretching yourself in ways which felt uncomfortable, or something else?)
  • how can I bring more of what I loved this year, into the year ahead?
  • what’s the very first step I’m going to take, to bring more of the awesomeness into this year?

This doesn’t need to take a lot of time and you don’t need a special journal (although if stationery is your bag, baby, then go ahead and buy something lovely to write in). You can mull these questions over while you’re walking on a beach, or driving, or waiting for someone to arrive, or chatting with a friend.

Give yourself some space in the in-between moments these holidays (step away from the phone, people!) and allow there to be some stillness…..that’s when the answers are more likely to be reflected back at you.

Here’s to the year ahead bringing more of what you love, need and cherish. Happy new year!

Nicola x

PS. If you’d like more help with figuring out what you most want out of 2018, and how to make that happen, I have a limited number of spaces for efficiency coaching clients starting late January 2018. Book yourself in here for a free consultation call so we can talk about what you’d most like help with, and how we can help you get traction quickly!



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