The holidays are hard. The hospital is busy, you are busy, and everyone has expectations of how the holidays are supposed to be. Notoriously, it’s also the season for goal setting, reflection, and resolutions. The combination can be more than anyone should have to face but we struggle to do it every year and it’s often a topic of conversation around the cookie and candy-laden conference tables in hospitals, after all, it’s the perfect setting to talk about losing 10lbs starting January 1st.

I’m going to invite you to bring a different vibe to the process this year, in fact, I challenge you to bring this to your December or January team meetings. We are going to make this simple, positive, and fun.

Write a list of 10 or more things you DID in 2019.  

This can be big or small, work or personal. A few things from my accomplished in 2019 list include:  swimming with manta rays in Hawaii, reading two or more books per month, road trip to the Grand Canyon, and finally doing the touch-up paint in the house. Yes, your accomplishments can include vacations, being there for baseball practice, and household projects that got finished (and that can include hiring someone to do the work). Spend a few minutes with this completed list and feel the accomplishment. You did well. 

Write a list of 3 things you wanted to do but didn’t in 2019.

This can be big or small, work or personal. The items on my not accomplished in 2019 list are:  Following through on an exercise program for three months, completing the Neil Gaiman Master Class, and setting a personal budget. Take a few minutes to look at this list and really consider three things. First, do they all fit into a particular category? For me, they all fit into wellbeing, physical, creative, and financial wellbeing. Second, ask yourself if you made progress on any of them.  If you did, celebrate the progress. Third, ask yourself if they still matter to you. If they don’t. Let them go. If they do, then ask yourself who can help you accomplish those things.

Write a list 10 or more things you want to DO in 2020

Don’t limit yourself here. This can be big or small, work or personal. A few things from my want to do in 2020 include completing a sleep study, reading two or more books a month, and increasing my flexibility in order to touch my toes.

Use Categories to create your list

You’ll notice that these happen to fall into wellbeing – because clearly that’s important to me so I made sure to dedicate a chunk of my want-to-do list to that. Some other specific categories that you might want to consider are Personal, Professional, Home, Family, Friends, Finance, and Fun. 

Pick 10 to 20 things for your 2020 List

Try to include something from every category on your list, something easy, something hard, something you love, and something new! 

Share your list

Share your list! If you can share your list with your teammates, friends, and/or family you’ll have the encouragement of others and a little positive peer pressure. Nothing is more helpful than that random text message or phone call asking how you’ve done on scheduling that vacation for the first time in five years! I love to borrow from the lists of friends. What did I borrow for 2020?  I’m so glad you asked. I’m writing a thank you card a week in 2020 rather than just journaling about gratitude. I think I’ll start with you. Thank you for reading and for being willing to try something new, to encourage others, and most of all, for being proud of yourself.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the editorial team.


Jamie has 18 years of experience in the veterinary field, most in emergency and critical care. In a prior life, she was an animal control officer and a veterinary team manager. She is the Administrative Manager for Dr. Andy Roark and Uncharted Veterinary Conferences & Community. Jamie is passionate about mental health and suicide prevention in the veterinary community and is a firm believer that education reduces stigma and increases survival. She is a certified Mental Health First Aid responder, QPR gatekeeper and certified gatekeeper instructor. Jamie is an administrative rockstar, organizational aficionado, tea geek, work-in-progress, and workaholic – not necessarily in that order.