This time of year offers the perfect opportunity to reflect on the past 12 months and resolve to be better in the months to come. Yet, have you noticed that we tend to make resolutions that are fairly disconnected from the trials and joys we’ve just experienced? The act of reflecting can be a healing process and if we reflect without then turning our thoughts and emotions into related resolutions, we’re doing ourselves a disservice. We tend to opt for this 3-step process for reflecting on the past with the future in mind:
1. Write down all of the accomplishments and missed opportunities you experienced in 2013.
It’s time to take inventory. What worked for you this year? Perhaps you’ve taken on a few new clients or managed to stay in touch with old friends a little better this year. Whatever milestones you’re proud of – both big and small – make a note and really give yourself time to let it all soak in. Now take a moment to think back on times you may have missed the mark. Did you say something you wish you hadn’t at a family dinner? Have you bowed out of a few opportunities because of fear? Write down all instances and scenarios in which you could have been better or shone a little brighter.
2. Celebrate your accomplishments and make strides to take them even further over the next 12 months.
Congratulate yourself – you’ve done well! Take a look at your list of accomplishments and ask yourself if you might be able leverage those milestones in the months to come. Maybe you finally published that article you’ve had tucked away for months. Could you expand it into an ebook or collection of essays next year? Perhaps you took a class or tried a few new things. Could any of what you learned be turned into a passion project or new career path? We tend to limit ourselves when it comes to goal setting, but now is the time to push yourself a little. The sky really is the limit, so be sure to aim high!
3. Create actionable steps to turn missed opportunities into accomplishments in 2014.
We have all been in situations where we didn’t quite do our best. What counts, however, is learning from our mistakes and missteps. Since you’ve already done the hard work of compiling a list of not-so-great instances, you might as well decide how you’ll avoid those pitfalls in 2014. Maybe you decide to hug aunt Millie next time she tells you to get a real job (“like teaching!”) rather than telling her how you really feel about her. You could decide not to let fear be the driving force behind your career goals by taking baby steps toward opening the shop of your dreams. Whatever intentions you have for the next 12 months, there is value to be had in examining the months you’ve just survived. We’ve found that taking a few minutes to really catalog both the good and the bad can provide us with a pretty solid road map for future greatness.
Let’s discuss: What’s your process for creating lasting resolutions this time of year? We’d love to read more about what works for you and the goals you have in mind for 2014!