Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.
It's December 31st. Your last chance to get everything done that you meant to do in 2018. It’s going to be a busy day.
Just kidding, all that stuff will still be there tomorrow morning. Today is the day to reflect, to think about the past year and conduct a final accounting of what worked out and what didn’t. Try to take a few minutes to contemplate 2018, even if the year behind you wasn’t particularly easy. Celebrate the high points, be grateful they happened. Did you set goals or make plans and resolutions back in January? What where they? What did you accomplish this year?
Acknowledge the lows. Every year brings with it losses, difficulties, and regrets. They are now a part of your personal history. Spend some time contemplating those as well.
Photo by John Baker on Unsplash
As part of my reflection on the year, today is usually the day I choose for my “year end review” for my personal plan. I take out the plan that I put together back in January (and revised in July), and give myself a final appraisal for the year on whether I met my goals or not, and note what I accomplished along the way (see my book for more info). Whether you had formal plans or not, you can still look back over the year and give yourself a pat on the back for successes (and make note of any mistakes or undone items that you can add to next year’s plan).
Here are a couple of thoughts to keep in mind:
Celebrate your accomplishments! You absolutely deserve and need to give yourself credit for making good choices and for achieving your goals. As long as your celebrating doesn’t wreck other goals you set, you should splurge on those new boots or help yourself to the cookies as a reward for all your hard work. Acknowledging your success doesn’t have to be a splurge either, it could simply be that—acknowledging to yourself that you have made progress. Smile. Give yourself a hug.
At the end of the day, reflection should make you feel better, not worse. Do not beat up on yourself for not accomplishing everything you set out to do. For unmet goals, ask yourself:
Why did I set this goal in the first place?
Did my priorities change over the year?
What got in the way of meeting this goal?
Did I lack the time, resources, or motivation to achieve the goal?
Were there external factors that became barriers to achieving the goal? What could have been done to clear those barriers?
Do I have enough control over this situation for this to be a realistic goal?
Making mistakes, missing deadlines, not reaching goals—these are a fundamental part of being human. When something doesn’t go quite like you planned, take some time to analyze what happened, accept the lesson learned, forgive yourself and move on.
Know this is not a one-time event, it is a continuous effort
Although the last day of the year is a popular time to reflect on the past and look to the future, it is simply another day on the calendar. It takes time and effort to make significant positive changes in your life. Start any time. Build on small successes. Each one will create more momentum to keep pushing forward, which over time becomes an avalanche of good things happening in your life.
Photo by Ev on Unsplash
Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.
If you are ready to build your own personal plan, now is a great time to start. I lay out the process in detail in my book, Ten Thousand Choices, and also provide coaching support if you need some help getting started. I am happy to chat if you have questions: email@example.com.