10 Ways to Embrace the New Year With Purpose

Happy New Year 🎉

I think we all know by now that anything can happen (like for real)… so the the best way to thrive in the chaos is through building our growth mindsets and appetites for change. Despite 2021 being another crazy year, it was one of the most significant years of my life.

To recap my 2021 in a nutshell: I celebrated my 1 year workiversary at Microsoft and received a special bonus for my impact, turned quarter of a century, migrated my blog over to WordPress.org, started a new role as a Communications Manager at Microsoft HQ, paid off $40K of student loans, and purchased my first home!

Did you know tht 80% of new year resolutions fail by February?

source: Why 80 Percent of New Year’s Resolutions Fail | Eat + Run | US News

To kick off the new year, I’m sharing some ideas and suggestions for you to be purposeful with the next 364 days ahead of us. The countdown has already begun! P.S. Play this song while you read on ☺️

10. Start, Stop, Continue

This is one of my most favourite feedback exercises ever. It’s simple, easy to remember, and hits almost everything that is worth remembering.

Open up a blank Word Doc or Google Doc and create 3 sections to populate:

  • Start: list down everything you should or want to start doing sometime, someday
  • Stop: list down all the habits/actions that you want to get rid of eventually
  • Continue: list down what has been working well and should be kept going forward

This exercise will keep you grounded in the new year while also giving you a chance to reflect on the past year.

9. Build a bingo card of goals (similar to a vision board)

This was an idea that my partner shared with me last year, and it has made such a huge difference in helping me reach my goals. I essentially created a 5×5 table and filled it up with 25 big goals or habits for the year. These included:

  • Reaching a desired net worth or income
  • Helping my parents buy a bigger home
  • Finish some of my marketing courses
  • Cleaning out my room
  • Journaling every day
  • Publishing interesting blog series
  • Etc…

Afterwards, I would take a screenshot of this and make it my phone background so that I would see it whenever I picked up my phone. Being constantly reminded of what I wanted to accomplish kept me more accountable.

8. Put together your Brag Doc

After my partner read and shared this article from Julia Evans, I added this to my 2021 Bingo. Think of your Brag Doc as a collection of highlights and accomplishments that you’ve made in your career. It’s critical for getting your work recognized.

This will be super helpful when performance reviews roll around because you’ll have this handy to share with your manager, and get that well deserved promo or raise!

You can even use a free tool like Bragdocs to create one if you don’t know where to start. You can see my Brag Doc here.

7. Create a list of people to thank

We tend to feel gratitude towards the end of the year, but why not start off the year with it instead?

Congrats, you’ve made it to 2022. You deserve a pat on the back. But, think about who helped you get here. Parents who took care of you? Friends who made you laugh? Coworkers who kept you accountable? Mentors who challenged you to grow? YouTubers who inspired you to #yolo?

I’m sure you can think of a few people… go take a few minutes and send them a Happy New Year note and perhaps ask for a coffee to catch up!

6. Plan for a 30 to 100 Day Challenge

I tried a 100 Day Challenge last year and surprised myself!

My biggest lesson? You always have time to do something—it’s whether you decide to do it or not that is the biggest blocker.

Check out this list of 50 challenges that you can choose to take on this year. Start small if you need to, find an activity that takes 5 mins per day because it will still add up to 1,825 minutes by the end of this year!

5. Start journaling your thoughts

This was a habit that I started developing last year because I had troubles falling asleep. One of my managers suggested that I write down everything that was running around in my head before going to bed each night. I took this advice and decided to also reflect on the entire day.

Handwriting is best… so I recommend grabbing a nice journal or notebook from a stationary store. Each evening, I would spend ~10 minutes pouring out my thoughts and feelings on paper. It was cathartic, and it helped me “let go” of any frustrations and anxieties from the day so that I could start fresh the next morning.

Bonus: I also found that journaling helped me become a better writer and communicator, because I could more clearly articulate my thoughts and feelings.

4. Practice a moment of mindfulness

Mindfulness was another practice that I discovered last year. It gave me another way to tackled my anxieties and stressful moments. You don’t need to sit on the floor and hum “Kumbaya”, just take a second to close your eyes and focus on your breathing—even if it’s just for 1 minute.

We all start somewhere, but I would suggest an app like Headspace which has guided meditations that you can easily follow. These meditations also allow you to choose how long, whether it’s 2 minutes or an hour.

3. Check your net worth

Personal finance isn’t nearly talked about enough, so here’s your mini reminder to take charge of your personal wealth and financial future!

Whether you’re drowning in student loans or saving up for a home, it’s never a bad idea to take a look at where you’re at right now and set a goal for where you want to be in the future. I started tracking my net worth in April 2021—which was negative—and it was both sobering and motivating.

I’ve found that a monthly check-in is most effective for seeing your progress. You can check out more personal finance learnings here.

2. Create your own career roadmap

Whether you want to switch career paths or start your own business, take some time to carefully think about what your next move should be and why.

Since my university days, I’ve been updating my 3-year career roadmap on a semi-annual or annual basis. Essentially, I would break down the next 3 calendar years into quarters (Q1-Q4) and specify career progressions (e.g. new job or promotion) that I wanted to make within those quarters.

Yes, it’s totally okay to change directions. However, I find that it’s generally helpful to have an idea of where you want to go before you decide you want to make a turn.

1. Share your goals with someone

Science, research, and Google state that sharing your goals make you more likely to accomplish them. I don’t question this since I feel like saying something out loud gives me a greater sense of responsibility and accountability.

Plus, you put in all this effort to manifest a better and brighter future for yourself—so be proud of what you’ve come up with and share it with others for their feedback and advice.

Ultimately, this is for you, so don’t be too plagued by the voices of other people!


There you have it… 10 ways to take ownership of your life and career this year. Please note that this is not an overnight exercise, it can take you weeks if not months (especially if you’re starting from scratch). However, there’s no better time to start than right now (before you lose that #NewYearNewMe spirit) 😏

I have no intention of slowing down in 2022, and I hope that you’re all excited to join me in making this an incredible year for yourselves as well!

Shoot for the stars ✨ and settle for the moon 🌙

first heard from terry rock