Today’s guest post is written by Lisa Gerber.

As I write this, it’s the morning after Christmas. Boxing Day. We’re cleaning out the boxes here. Getting ready for the weekend, New Years, and more importantly taking advantage of down time to clean out.

I love this time of year. It’s quiet everywhere. My house is quiet, the blogosphere is quiet, and my newsfeed is full of comatose friends needing to detox after a hedonist season. We’ re cleaning out closets, basements, inboxes, and Facebook friends.

All the clients are on holiday and it’s time to get the “push back” items on the list done; those tasks or projects that keep moving on the to-do list from week to week. It’s a time reserved for doing work that I love, but obviously a time of reflection.

I keep thinking about how this year did not go as planned. In some ways it sucked, but in a lot of ways, it was an amazing year. It sucked because we didn’t hit our goals. But that isn’t enough to qualify the year as a bad one.

We’ll do it in 2012 for sure. We’re setting new goals, budgets and resolutions, just like we did this time last year, and the year before, and the year before.

Bu this year, I’m going to do something different. I’m going to plan for the unplanned. I mean, we can plan and plan, but do things ever go as planned?

Three Resolutions to Prepare for the Unexpected

  1. Look for the lessons: I can track how many people are following me, talking about me, and even supposedly how popular I am. I can track how far I ran, skied, climbed, and what my heart rate was. Isn’t there an app to tell me how much I learned this year? My graph would go off the chart for 2011. I made some mistakes this year, and things didn’t go as I had hoped. No one was harmed; no one lost his or her home. At each moment, I became one point smarter.
  2. Watch for the open door: This is the favorite thing a good friend of mine said to me when I was faced with a very big, life-changing decision: “Even if it doesn’t go as planned, it will, at a minimum open new doors.” As I walk the hallway of life, I’ll be sure and watch for the open doors, rather than stare at my new shoes.
  3. Send a note for no reason: Last week, I received a note from someone from whom I hadn’t heard in awhile. It went something like this: “How are you? How are the holidays? What are you doing? By the way, I was wondering…” Honestly, I didn’t mind. I was happy to help. But it gave me an idea: To keep in touch with people for no reason. We all have a lot of friends who are rude enough to not be active on social media, right? So it takes a little more effort to keep in touch with them. I’ll go through my LinkedIn or my Facebook friends, and send a note or two each week for no other reason than to say, “Hi, how are you?” It keeps the network fresh, and wide.

S–t happens. It’s either within our control or outside of our control. We can let it rock our world, or we can grow from it.

This time last year, I sat at my computer hopeful that 2011 would be far better than 2010. Actually – same for 2009, and 2008, now that I think about it. So while I know 2012 is going to rock, my pragmatic self keeps reminding me that’s what I was thinking a year ago. But it doesn’t have to suck. That’s our choice.

Thanks to Kewl Wallpapers for the kewl image of unexpected guests.