The importance of reflection before the new year

written by Erica Quam

You hear your phone alarm going off and slam your hand down on it in an effort stop this unbelievably loud noise - as soon as possible. You stumble out of bed and dig through your drawer to find clothes for the day...and remember everything's still in the washer from last night. You head to the kitchen and open the box of cereal and realize you've only got a few crumbs left in the bottom. Arrggh!

You head into work and scan email before practice. You quickly skim through an email from a parent who proceeds to tell you exactly what they think of you...including how hard you're being on their daughter who is working so hard for you and "not getting the kind of coaching she deserves."

You head out to practice and before you can even say hello are bombarded by group of five athletes - each of them asking to do something different today because they're either sick, injured, or have an academic conflict.


A. Blow up at everyone - including your assistant coach - begrudgingly coaching the workout with a totally crappy attitude

B. Bring a hint of sarcasm letting everyone know you had a great practice planned...and since everyone's sick or injured, today's the day you can just do whatever the heck you want...and then smile real big behind gritted teeth

C. Turn around, walk out the door, tell your assistant coach to get the team warmed up...then go in your office, turn the lights off, and start chanting 'OM' to yourself

D. say nothing and appear unaffected on the outside...on the inside, the frustration of the day builds, your brain spins with thoughts of all the other things you still have to do this week

One of the biggest challenges coaches deal with is overwhelm. You can get to the point where you have so much going on in your life, so many things to do, and so many things to keep up with that it's easy to get overwhelmed....feeling as if life is quickly spinning out of control.

The bad news? Overwhelm will never completely go away. You'll probably never be able to just kick your feet up on your desk put your arms behind your head and set cruise control. 

Overwhelm is part of what you have to deal with when you're in a role where you're taking in a lot of information, taking on a lot of responsibilities, and don't have enough time to get to everything you want to do. 


That being said, there are some simple habits and practices you can begin to help you manage yourself more effectively. 

I don't believe in time much as self management. To be a great coach, you need to look at how you manage two things: your energy and your power.

Especially at the end of the year, start a new habit: reflect, reset, and realign before plowing forward into January full steam ahead.


Make it a habit to regularly look back...on your day, week, month, and year so you can learn. If not, you're simply collecting experiences and probably not learning much at all. It makes me think of the definition of insanity...doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. If you don't like the results you're have to be the one to make a change.

Now is a great time to look back and reflect on the past year. Try to do this when you don't feel stressed or rushed. 

Get grounded. You may even find it helpful to light a candle - something to signify the intention of allowing yourself time to reflect. If that's a little too "woo" for you, then just close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Feel your feet on the ground. Be in your body. Notice the rhythm of your breath, the beating of your heart, and any sensations you feel inside. 

Think back on 2017 and write some stuff down: (don't just think about it...writing will help you solidify your thoughts and will help you get clear...)

  • Write down 10 things that went well
  • Write down 10 things that didn't go well
  • Write down 5 things you'd like to do differently in 2018

This whole practice could literally take 15 minutes.


Do something special for yourself that you can designate as your 'RESET button'. Schedule a massage, go to a yoga class, plan a day with a friend, or simply go to your favorite coffee shop with a good book. Turn off your cell phone. Disable the alerts. 

You don't always have to go on a big vacation to recharge your battery. You just need to be intentional about it. Create an experience or space that will allow you to get grounded.


As the year comes to a close, there's a natural break in your normal routine. Coming back from the holidays can sometimes be a struggle. Before your break ends realign with your vision, dream, and hopes. Think about what you want to do in 2018. Ask yourself who you want to be, what you want to do, and what you'd like to have in the year ahead.

Then, think about where in your life there is an incongruence...between what you say you want and what you do? When do you get distracted and steer off course?

All it takes to begin to realign is to take one step in the direction you want to go.

Now, back to our little multiple choice question at the beginning.

What could it look like if you had some different habits and practices in place like...

  • get 8 hours of sleep each night
  • set clothes out before you go to bed
  • take 15 minutes to plan meals for the week
  • take 45 minutes to shop for the week
  • no checking email before practice
  • be at practice ten minutes early to say hello and talk with athletes

You wake up after a great night of sleep before your alarm goes off. You have a cup of coffee, walk the dog around the block, and eat your morning cereal with some fresh fruit on top. You walk out to practice thinking how grateful you are to be able to go to work in sweatpants and running shoes. Living the dream!

Your get to practice early, casually sit down, and are able to greet each athlete who walks by...asking them how they're doing and finding out there are some small adjustments you'll need to make to practice.

How much more energy would you have for the rest of your day in the second scenario? How much more powerful do you feel about heading into the rest of the week?

Your habits influence your behaviors. Your behaviors shape your life. As a coach, your behaviors also shape the lives of all the athletes you have the opportunity to work with. Aren't they worth you taking some time to be at your very best?

Share one thing you will change in 2018. (Remember...small hinges swing big doors. Even one small new habit can be a game changer.)

You're invited to an.png

I'm doing a special New Year's Day Training with coaches who are coming to a women's coaching summit in 2018. If you'd like to join us, let me know. I'll share all the details and how you can sign up to save your seat on or before December 31st. We'd love to have you join us to begin 2018 with more inspiration, support, and momentum than ever!