Ever since my school days, one of my greatest thrills has been to start a new notebook. That first nice-smelling white page, all clean and perfect, without wrinkles or dents, was so inviting and promising! It could be because I wasn’t always so neat, so here was another chance to finally improve my handwriting, or simply because I was excited about starting something new. Inevitably, as the days passed, I got sloppy again and couldn’t wait to throw away that notebook and start another new one.

Later on, I transferred this feeling of anticipation to new yearly planners. They came in all sizes and types—from the big, thick, luxurious ones to the small, humble pocket-sized that fit nicely into my smallest purse, then to the electronic ones that simply did away with paper altogether.

A few years ago, something changed in my perspective. Due to increasing responsibilities in my work, which required a higher level of organization, I also started using a large wall planner that allowed me to see the whole year ahead at a glance and start filling out the main upcoming events.

That’s when my focus also changed. I felt the need to have a yearly vision and not just a nice first few clean and perfect pages at the very beginning. It’s great to start off all excited, with great propositions and the best of intentions—they do say that well begun is half done—but I’ve been learning that it’s just as important to project all the way to the end goal, measure my strength, and realize that it’s going to take quite a few steps to get there, not to speak of the inevitable falls along the way.

With this in mind, the best pages could come around the end, or anywhere, for that matter.