Starting The New Year Right

The beginning of a new year is a great time to reflect on past successes, evaluate what is no longer working, and make plans for the future.

Hello! I’m thrilled to have the “Last Word” in Training magazine for 2019. It just feels right.

In truth, this column header reminds me of the Little Golden Book starring Sesame Street character Grover: “The Monster at the End of This Book” (Jon Stone, 1971): Having read the title page (or, in later editions, the cover), Grover is horrified to learn there is a monster at the end of the book. He immediately begs the reader not to finish the book, so as to avoid meeting this dreadful, scary monster.

Never fear, I’m going to try not to be a monster, but be warned I might write something that challenges you or you don’t agree with. Controversy sparks dialog. I’m good with that. I hope you are, too.


Speaking of challenging you, it is a brand-spanking new year, filled with possibilities. The beginning of a new year is a great time to reflect on past successes, evaluate what is no longer working, and make plans for the future. As such, I challenge you to leap into 2019. Here are some things to think about:

  • What will you stop doing (right now)?
  • What will you start doing (right now)?
  • What will you continue doing (only better)?

And here are some next steps:

  • Write it all down and keep your notes—on paper or digitally on one of the many online mapping tools. I like Post-it Notes on flip charts, but Mashable has compiled a whole list of online resources: Keep in mind that this is your list. Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAGs) are welcome! Typos or misspellings don’t matter, cuz who is going to see them anyway? Go for it! Don’t place any limits on yourself.
  • Record a few “next steps” and build a “to-do” list(s).
  • Put “by when” dates on the next steps or to-do list items that need them.
  • Prioritize the next steps, tasks, and to-do list, as appropriate.
  • Schedule time to review your Stop. Start. Continue. items (often). Set up recurring calendar appointments for yourself. Select timeframes that make sense for you (meaning monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly, etc.) Do it. Right now.
  • Update the information, as things likely have changed. Life kept moving forward, you’ve checked off items on your to-do list, projects have been completed, etc.
  • Use this activity to challenge your team or department, too. The information gathered also may be useful for future group work such as brainstorming or ideation sessions, prioritizing through “voting” or reordering the items, SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis, strategic planning, or goal setting.

Of course, you have budgets to manage and projects from last year to finish. People often don’t bother to get projects that were planned last year funded and “off the ground.” I get it (been there, done that). Make the time to do it anyway! You’ll be glad you did, even if for no other reason than that annual performance review.

Now, stop reading this column—for now. Get to work on your Stop. Start. Continue.

On your mark. Get set. GO!

Dawn J. Mahoney, CPLP, owns Learning in The White Space LLC, a freelance talent development (“training”) and instructional design consultancy. She is passionate about developing people through better training, better instructional design, and better dialog. Mahoney asks the tough questions to ensure the training content is relevant to the work and performance expectations. She does this work because she loves to see the moment when the learning “dawns” on her learners. If you need help, get in touch with her at: