Title: Ten Things to Do Before Year End Word Count: 775 Summary: We attach significance to the turning of the calendar, and when the calendar turns to a new year, it means more than learning to change a digit when we write a check – we’ve started a new chapter. Keywords: Goal Setting, professional development, personal development, learning, lessons, fun, learning list, year end Article Body: We attach significance to the turning of the calendar, and when the calendar turns to a new year, it means more than learning to change a digit when we write a check – we’ve started a new chapter. It is instructive for us to think about how we can get the most from the end of chapter 2005. Here are my ten recommendations for you: <b>Reconnect with an old friend or colleague.</b> You know who I mean. The person who came to your mind as you read that sentence. Make the effort to call or contact them. But do more than just say hello. If they live close, get together for a meal or an evening. If they live further away, schedule time for a long, relaxed phone call. However you connect, make sure that you spend time on more than just “the good old days” and the old stories. Learn about what this person is doing, their goals and dreams. And see what you can do to help them achieve those things. <b>Spend one day in service to others.</b> Volunteer your day to a service organization. Go to a nursing home. Rake the neighbor’s leaves. Use your professional skills in a pro bono way. It doesn’t matter what you do, just do it with a giving heart. <b>Read one book you’ve wanted to read.</b> If you are a big reader, you already have a stack to read. Pick one and commit to getting it read. If you read less and don’t have a book in mind, talk to someone you trust and admire and ask them for a suggestion. It doesn’t matter what the book is; pick it, and read it. <b>Give someone a book that you have found personally valuable.</b> Maybe it is the book you are now going to read. Maybe it is something you read in January, or maybe it is your favorite children’s book. Again, what the book is doesn’t matter, the joy comes in identifying a person who will enjoy and benefit from it the way that you did. When you give them the book, make sure you share with them why you are sharing it with them – it will mean so much to them. <b>Make a list of the things you’ve learned this year.</b> Hopefully it is a long list! Don’t try to do this all at one time. Give yourself a place to write and a couple of days to allow your mind to find these nuggets. <b>Identify the top five.</b> Review the list you made and pull out the five that are most important to you. Write them down and think about why they are so valuable to you and how you can benefit from them today and in the future. <b>Make a list of the most fun things you have done this year.</b> You will have fun making this list – and yes I do mean make a list! <b>Identify why they were the most fun so you can do more of it next year.</b> This only makes sense. Once you have thought about your “most fun”, figure out how to get more of it into your life – whether it is an experience, time with specific people or whatever. <b>Commit to having another experience before December 31st that you could add to your “most fun” list.</b> Too often fun gets sidelined, especially near the busy end of the year. Don’t let it happen. Make sure that you have some big fun before the end of the year. <b>Make a list of things you want to learn next year.</b> Some things in life we learn serendipitously, and those are precious indeed. But we can also determine what we want to learn and why. Make some of those determinations now before you turn your calendar to the New Year. Some of these are forward-looking tasks, some retrospective. That is intentional. It is important for us to consistently and regularly reflect, and of course when we look to the future we will see where we are going – and correct our course to get where we want to go. These items may feel more personal than professional. Actually they are both. If you are reading this from a professional development perspective, I urge you to do these items. These actions will be like magic in your life. Your life will be richer and more satisfying and you will be moving in the direction of your potential when you do these things.