The holiday season is upon us and no matter what country you are in or faith you follow, I am sure you are finding yourself winding down, filing things away and putting off new projects and meetings until the new year.This could be a big mistake!The fastest way to achieve what you want and set yourself up for success is to see December as the start of the new year and deliberately prepare yourself and lay the foundations for a solid start come January 1.Instead of winding down, consider December the time to ramp things up!If you’re ready to launch yourself into a spectacular 2013, here’s five ways to get yourself ready before the end of December comes to a close.1. Reflect and CleanseI love the last few weeks before Christmas and make a habit of using this time to get myself organised and prepared for the coming year. First I clear away the year that was, following up invoices, sending thank you notes to clients and stakeholders, cleaning out files and having my office spring cleaned. Like Mr Miyagi in the Karate Kidd said “Wax on, right hand. Wax off, left hand. Wax on, wax off. Breathe in through nose, out the mouth. Wax on, wax off.” there is something therapeutic and cleansing about closing off for the years end and showing gratitude for those who have contributed to what you have achieved.2. Think BigTime to bring out the calendar for the next year (I buy those giant wall planners from Officeworks so I can see my year ahead in a big and bold way) and get planning. First blank out the holidays, rest and recuperation times you plan to have and then start looking at the big ticket items, significant events, major strategies or launches and projects you plan on in the new year. C.S.Lewis said “You are never too old to set another goal and dream a new dream.” This time of the year is a perfect time to put your creative attention to dreaming of the year to come. Bill Gates dreamed of a computer on every office desk. Steve Jobs dreamed of a computer in everyone’s pocket. What’s your big dream for 2013?3. Check In With ThemThe end of the year is a great time to check in with your people, your direct reports and team members to review their year and help them clarify their new goals for the coming year. Employee disengagement is a major culture killer in modern day workplaces, by taking the time to meet one-on-one with your people and find out if there is a special project or interest they’d like to have an opportunity to be involved with next year is a great way to keep them engaged and enthusiastic about their work. I know you genuinely value and care for your staff – this is just a reminder to show them that!4. Plant a SeedThe end of the year and many people begin to take their eye off the ball, winding down their energy and effort rather than ramping things up. Few things are more exciting in business that starting off a new year with a highly productive month and record sales. The best way to do this is to establish your momentum now. Rather than assuming everyone won’t want to hear from you, make contact with new leads and start working on planting a seed and building your pipeline of work and clients for January.5. CelebrateOK, now you can take the time to rest, recuperate and enjoy the fruits of your preparation! Merry Christmas.