One Thing You MUST Do Before Ringing in the New Year!

As this year comes to an end, do you find yourself thinking of all the things you had resolved to do during 2012 and how many of them you didn’t stick to or perhaps never even got around to starting?

Over the past couple of days, I also found my focus to be on how FAR I am from where I want to be with my personal growth, family goals, and professional success.  And then something amazing happened, actually quite by accident on my part, but it completely changed my perspective and I realized the potential this could bring if someone were to purposely do this one thing!  

One of the steps I’ve determined necessary to reaching my business goals in the New Year is setting up a testimonials page on my website, which I set to work on yesterday.  I began searching back through e-mails I’ve received over the past year, looking for the feedback messages I remember receiving from friends and family who had tested some of my recipes for the cookbook or tried recipes from the website and sent me thankful comments.  (Of course, I could write a whole separate post about how my procrastinating and unorganized ways forced me to spend an hour going through a year’s worth of e-mails to locate these gems, and why the process reinforced my determination to work on these pesky aspects of my personality in the coming year as well!)   

In any event, what felt like an overly time-consuming process in the thick of it turned out to be quite the eye-opening experience and made me realize I’ve actually accomplished so much more in the past year than I had bothered to consider.  I realized that over the past few days up until this point, I had been mentally beating myself up for not having a published cookbook to share by now.  I’d been feeling as though I’d let so many people down, including myself.  Fortunately, I’ve no mind to give up simply because it’s not happening as quickly as I (or anyone else) would like or because it’s been frustratingly difficult at times, to the point where my past self would have definitely called it quits.  There WILL be a book, a damn GOOD one, so help me!!!  

Anyway, as I scoured my 3000+ e-mails from 2012, here is what I found (along with some, but not all, of those testimonial gems!).  At this time last year, my ‘cookbook’ literally consisted of an idea in my head, a partially completed binder of typed recipes (which I was converting from a 4-inch thick folder of recipes scrawled on post-its and scrap paper), a self-designed cookbook cover, and a flyer I’d put together that outlined all of the features and benefits of my cookbook.  I was still in the midst of a 2-month process of testing the recipes with the help of friends and family, I had just begun to take my very first food photos (an exhausting, frustrating, and time-consuming endeavor with much learning by trial and error, as I had no photography experience AT ALL!), and I was fumbling around trying to get an understanding of how to create a plan or even figuring out what direction to head in to get the book published once it was an actual ‘book.’  I thought you might be interested to see those early images (I even had a different title for the cookbook at that point!):

My VERY first food photo – blueberry pancakes 




Original book cover                      

At the beginning of last year, I had no website, no social media sites in place, no logo or brand.  Over the course of the last 12 months, I’ve researched and learned A LOT about everything from graphic design and photography to copywriting, publishing, and website development.  I’ve learned how to use social media to connect with the wonderful people like you who have joined these groups.  I’ve also learned to utilize the resources I have available to me and accept the help of friends or hire a professional when it comes to a point where I’m just not able to do something on my own.  It’s been a hard life’s lesson, accepting the fact that I can’t (and don’t need to) be good at everything, but an extremely valuable one!  Coming to terms with that has opened so many doors for me.  Besides no longer feeling completely alone in my journey, I’ve also met and become friends with so many great people as a result!  

My point in laying all this out there is this:  Now that I’ve looked at all this and realized just how much I HAVE accomplished over the past year, I’m prepared to start the New Year with a more positive outlook because I will start off feeling like a success instead of a failure. Another takeaway: I have a more clear picture of where I am in relation to where I want to be and can now construct a solid list of goals with a measurable way to track and measure my success and easily plan a direct route to get there.   

With that, I hope that instead of ending the year with an emphatic ‘good riddance!’ you will take some time to celebrate what you’ve accomplished in spite of difficulties.  Think of all you’ve overcome and learned in the past year and leverage that to work in your favor in the coming one.  I wish you a truly amazing, productive, and Happy New Year! ~ Leah

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