Closing up the book on 2018, and looking forward to 2019, I’ve got a checklist of things I’m carrying over into the new year.

First on the list: trust and optimism.  Trust, because nothing really good happens without it.  And optimism because sometimes, with the things that matter most, you have to believe in them before you can see them realized. That’s optimism. And trust and optimism always go together.

Second on the list: reaffirming the relationships that matter most. There is just no better time to run your finger through your phone list and take a look around to identify the people are who really do make life work for you. I guarantee this will be fewer people than the “friends” you have on Facebook—probably around 8 or 10 special and precious people, if you are like most people. There are still enough hours before 2019 takes over the calendar to express appreciation for everybody on that core list.

Third: deepened commitments. What are you “all in” for in the new year? What are you willing to spend your time and energy pursuing? What’s your focus? Jot ’em down now—it shouldn’t take more than a few lines to really identify the things that top your list, both personal and professional. By the end of 2019, those people on your relationship list will be able to tell people what’s on your commitment list—if everything goes as planned.

Four: being open to the new and unexpected.  This is important because not everything does go as planned. New friends present themselves. Old friends take on new significance. New prospects turn up. Situations change. Opportunities knock—some quietly, some loudly. Door close, windows open. Things change.  When any of that happens, part of what you can do that no one else can do for you is to have your eyes and ears open and be ready to say “Yes!” or at least, “Let’s look at that for a minute.”

Those are the things in my briefcase, on my desktop, and topping my list for the new year—which will be here very shortly.

Happy New Year 2019!