I’m not big into new year resolutions. I find that turning over a new leaf really does hold a lot of promise, but without an actionable plan, most new endeavors fall flat fairly fast. I think about the recently passed NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) as an example. While a great many people are able to accomplish 50 thousand words in 30 days, more people begin and fail to complete. With good cause: It’s a daunting task. If you’re not used to writing 1,333 a day it could be very intimidating.
Shoot for the moon.
Even if you miss, you’ll still land among the stars.
~Norman Vincent Peale
I once knew a writer who accomplished fifty thousand in a week! I’m not talking (only) about accomplishing outrageous goals once a year. It’s about reflecting and reviewing the year.
At the beginning of the year, I had hoped to double the number of contacts on a particular media platform. The plan required spending more time there, networking, reaching out to people, and physically showing up. All of those require a certain amount of bravery that I wasn’t sure I had. But, as the year progressed, I followed the plan (a series of small steps) and ended up tripling my goal. (Yes, I’m thrilled!) Other parts of my plan didn’t fare so well.
We’re great at saying, “Time flies!” and “Where has the time gone?” But do we take the time to appreciate what transpired in the last 365 days? Whether or not you reached every goal, came through the year with flying colors, or failed spectacularly in your endeavors, the tail end of a year is a great time to reflect on what worked, what didn’t, and many other events that may have been overshadowed for one reason or another.
If you’re a journal keeper, this may be as simple as flipping through your notes of the last year. If you’re not so much into writing it all down, can ask yourself (or a trusted friend or relative) these questions to jog your memory.
What are some of your brightest memories?
Your shiniest moments?
Who were the unforgettable people you met this year?
Can you recall some of your significant conversations?
What were your pivot points or paradigm shifts?
This year was one of incredible growth, a sincere activation of positive affirmations and arresting negative thoughts. I surprised myself by increasing my level of bravery by saying yes (instead of no) to scary things, and not running away from challenging situations. And I surprised myself and upped my bravery level.
What challenges did you overcome?
What skills or abilities did you learn?
How many people did you add to your life? Or subtract?
For everything you have missed, you have gained something else,
and for everything you gain, you lose something else.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
What habits did you lay to rest? And what replaced them?
Did you lose someone significant this year? How did they affect your life while present? And gone?
What failures did you learn from?
Which was the most heart-rending?
What would you repeat if you could? Or skip?
It may be sad to remove people from our lives, but if they’re not on the same wavelength, conversations can sound like a lot of static. I learned that not every question and remark needs an answer. By limiting exposure to certain people, I’m able to maintain my motivation and positivity.
And, when I lost someone significant this year, I took time to reflect on their death and lessons they’d taught me just by being present in my life. To honor them, I decided to challenge myself and be present in a new way, in someone else’s circumstance.
What victories did you celebrate?
What memory did you most enjoy making?
What day was the most joyful of your entire year?
What insights did you gain or what big question was finally answered?
Did you surprise yourself this year? If so, how?
What were some of your pleasant surprises?
Overall, would you say your year was mostly negative or positive?
I’m still learning to pause and celebrate my victories, even the small ones. It doesn’t have to be expensive, just acknowledgment that I had a success. I treat my self to lunch, a special coffee or share time with a treasured soul. It refreshes me.
It is a supreme joy to look back on the good and bad and see how those events (even the negative and the heartbreaking) have created the path I currently travel on. I have not arrived, and I’m happy being a work in progress, learning. and growing and finding new talents and capabilities.
It is my hope that you can recall many moments that will bring a smile to your face, warm your heart and brighten your days and nights. I’m grateful for you, dear reader. For taking the time to stop in and read a post or two, leave a comment and maybe even share. Keep coming back, I really like you!
I wish you all the best. Let’s challenge each other in the next year.