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May 2024
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Embracing the Fresh Start of a New Year

By Morag Mathieson, DTM


Toastmasters International President Morag Mathieson
Morag Mathieson, DTM

When I was growing up, I did the same thing every January 1. After breakfast, I would go walking in the woodlands near our house with just the dog. The old year, whatever it had been like, was gone and now it was time to focus on the possibilities of a new year: the plans that I knew were already in place and the ambitions that were still only dreams. I asked myself if I would dare to make those dreams a reality.

As we say goodbye to the year that has ended, the new year offers us a fresh start. Many of us use this time to write down our intentions, our resolutions, our goals for the year ahead, or maybe like me you choose a guiding word for the year.

Regardless of what a fresh start might look like for you, it will require some effort and commitment. By focusing our energy, defining our goals, and putting plans in place to achieve those goals, we can realize the change we dream of seeing in our lives.

The goals we set are as individual as we are. You may want to run a 5k race, travel to Thailand, read a book every month, or study for a qualification.

Regardless of what a fresh start might look like for you, it will require some effort and commitment.

We can set goals that relate to Toastmasters too, such as completing a levelor a whole pathin Pathways, mentoring a new member, inviting colleagues to come to your club meeting, competing in a speech contest, promoting your club on social media each month, or offering to serve as a club or District officer.

Determining your goal is just a start. We set ourselves up for success when we make a plan of how to achieve the goal, beginning by identifying the specific actions we need to take to succeed and anticipating how we can incorporate those actions into our routines.

A new year can also be a fresh start for your club. January falls in the midst of the Club Officer Training period and offers an opportunity for the Club Executive Committee to review the quality of the club, including its progress toward achieving the Club Success Plan. If your club is not progressing as you had planned, don’t lose heart.

Although you can’t go back and change the past, you can always start where you are and change direction by embracing the fresh start that the new year offers.


Morag Mathieson, DTM

2023–2024 International President



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