Looking to make a fresh start this year? Here’s a way to begin.

A therapist I know has a standard line she offers to her clients, when they say they’re going to do things differently in the year ahead: “New year; same you.”

If that sounds unkind in any way, rest assured that it is delivered with warmth, compassion, and in the true spirit of collaborative relationship.

“New year; same you” is a reality check. You’re the same person you were yesterday, and last year, and a decade ago. Same you. What you have the opportunity to do, in the year ahead, is to change established patterns of behavior in ways that work toward what you want.

In my personal experience, the way to start fresh, harnessing the natural energy around a new calendar year, is first to look at the recent past, finding clues about what is and isn’t serving forward progress. Put another way, I become a student of the best version of me by looking at my own past behaviors, actions, decisions, responses, feelings, and desires.

Having spent several years developing this approach for myself and having worked one-on-one with colleagues on similar efforts, I’m turning this approach into an online course called Your First 100 Days. For all of you who’ve followed along, off and on, for the past 10 years here on the blog, I’m offering that same content (minus the video lessons) in daily posts. The first post in the series is here.

The materials for the work are in the course workbook, which you can download and print for free this month. Note that the workbook references information and videos that are in the online course, that won’t be available here.

(And an additional note that if this is your first visit to the blog or to this series, welcome!)

The first module in the work has four sections:

  • Investigate your own recent past, making notes about the prior year – victories and defeats alike – without interpreting or judging them.
  • After some time to reflect on that work, revisit the notes and look for patterns, insights, and things that you want to think about as you prepare your plan for the year ahead.
  • Grounded in that examination of the recent past, take a gratitude snapshot, acknowledging the things/people/events for which you are grateful, right now, and noting what makes you proud, what you want more of in the year ahead, and what you hope to leave behind or minimize.
  • Complete the module by listing 100 “wants” – which may be the most challenging part of this first block of work.

If you’re waiting for the weekend to do all of that work in one longer sitting, plan to spend 3-4 hours, total.

On Monday, we’ll start module two. Tomorrow, for those who’ve been here a while, we’ll return to some familiar ground.

See you then.


  1. Once, a few years ago, Norah was seeing therapist. The therapist said about the same thing. “New year, same you.” Norah took offense, stood up, collected her stuff, smiled and said, “No, New year, poorer you.” Heh!

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