5 New Year’s Rituals for Nonprofit Professionals to Build Personal Resilience

Earlier this month, I was honored to do a webinar with Network for Good on the topic of Modern Wellbeing for Nonprofit Professionals. The New Year is the perfect time to establish new habits and rituals for wellbeing.

Rituals are intentional small, tangible acts done routinely and with meaning. At New Years, we generally think of personal or family rituals. For example, our family has several New Year’s rituals, including a nature hike. This year we hiked by Pacific Ocean near Moss Bay.

Rituals can also be used by professionals to boost personal productivity because rituals capitalize on our brains’ ability to direct our behavior on autopilot, allowing us to reach our goals even when we are distracted or preoccupied with other things. For over twenty years, I’ve done several rituals that help me prepare for the year ahead because they allow me to gain focus and clarity.

Here they are:

5 New Year’s Rituals for Nonprofit Professionals

1. Review the Year

I use a tool called the “Year Compass, a free downloadable booklet that provides a set of structured reflection questions that help you look back and ahead. Since I do this every year, I also look at what I wrote the previous year.

2. Start A New Professional Journal

For as long as I can remember, I have kept an annual professional journal, using a variation of the bullet journal technique. I call it my “To Do, To Done, Don’t Do, Reflection List.” I use it for annual planning and goal setting.

I also use it as a reflection as the year progresses. I fill out weekly and monthly pages, not just tasks. I look at my themes for the year and habits to improve.

3. Update & Review My Personal Resilience Plan

In my workshops on resilience, I help nonprofits improve their personal resilience through life-work balance and self-care. I use my own self-care plan template to write down what I will do. This year, one thing I am doing for myself is exploring fountain pens and working on calligraphy.

4. Identify “My Three Themes”

I do a combination of Peter Bregman’s theme for the year and Chris Brogan’s “My Three Words.”  Chris Brogan’s technique is to select three words, but I modify it by articulating key themes. I use the themes to guide my professional work and writing. I’ve used Chris Brogan’s technique for over a decade and have found it very helpful in keeping me focused.

5. Send Myself A FutureMe Email

I use a site called “FutureMe” to write an email to myself post-dated a year from now, a practice I’ve been doing for a few years now.  I just received my email dated from last year and I was happy to see that I accomplished most of my goals!

How do you set professional goals and habits for the new year?

Guest Author: Beth Kanter, Master Trainer, Speaker, and Author

Beth is an internationally recognized thought leader in digital strategy, wellbeing in the workplace and training. Beth has over 35 years of experience working in the nonprofit sector in capacity building and has facilitated trainings for thousands of social change activists and nonprofits on every continent in the world. She is an in-demand keynote speaker and workshop leader. Named one of the most influential women in technology by Fast Company and one of the BusinessWeek’s “Voices of Innovation for Social Media,” Beth was Visiting Scholar at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation 2009-2013. She is the author of the award-winning Networked Nonprofit Books and The Happy Healthy.

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