While some people might prefer to leave the past in the past, every year, on Dec 31st, I review my past year. I write. I reflect. I study my notes and I extrapolate the lesson the year has taught me. It’s a process that serves me well.
Don’t get me wrong, it used to make me nervous. Especially, when I first started because the process is tethered to my goals. The first time, I remember looking at all the things I didn’t do and starting to feel that little twinge of guilt, that I somehow managed to turn into thoughts like, “What a failure.” The thoughts led me to conjure up feelings of overwhelm and self-doubt. Then, I ‘d feel even more overwhelmed, which led to self-defeating, sabotaging self-talk. It led me straight into what I call a spin cycle. (spinning in circles and cycles but not really getting anywhere)
Then, it hit me. It hit me like a ton of bricks. It was an undeniable message, like the bible that jumped out of the overhead compartment on flight a few years back, bopping me on the head quite hard, knocking me senseless for a few seconds. (I Know what you are thinking, and yes, that, too, was a message.)
I am here for the lessons. They are my lessons. No one else ever has to see them. They are for my benefit and growth. They are not particularly lessons for everyone else. They are for me. Rather than allowing myself to focus on the things I did not get accomplished, I changed my focus. Allowing myself to simply see and hear the messages of year; my life lessons.
Now, I look forward to my “me” time of journaling. The process brings great joy and satisfaction. When friends, family and colleagues heard about the simple process I use, they wanted to know this secret. They wanted me to walk them through it. They wanted to retrieve their life lesson for the year as well and set goals based on what they had learned and what they were learning.
Since I have now taught this process to friends, families and businesses for years, so that they can accomplish more in business and life, a friend suggested that I share this idea on my blog. So here it is. I hope the process brings you a great amount of satisfaction.
During the first part of the process, I spend the entire day writing and reflecting in my journal. (Inquiry minds wanted to know.) Journals are great tools for reflection and introspect, so you should get a journal that you love. I like journals that provide some type of inspiration. The process I use is one of the best ways I know to close out the old year and begin the new year (or a new chapter or a new month) with true intimate lessons that allow me to improve and grow whole reaching for my goals.
First, I do this religiously. I do it every year! I do it even if it’s a “bad time.” I do it even if I don’t “feel like it” and even when I don’t have the “time” to do it. No, I am not perfect, but this is one thing that I do because it works! So, I don’t make excuse, I just do it! Hang in there, and I am going to show you this simple process and how I use it to step into my new year.
Start by asking yourself questions:
- What am I most grateful or thankful for today, this year or right now? (I always start with this question first, before moving to the next questions.) I try to list out as many as I can think of 10, 20 or 50. You can be grateful about the big things and the small things. For example, today I am grateful for the opportunity to have lunch with my daughter and to have a meaningful conversation.
- Who do I want to thank for adding value, teaching me a lesson, or working with me? (Take time to send a handwritten card, letter or something small but nice.)
- What did I most like about this day, month (or last) year? List everything. Then narrow it to your top 3 things. After each, ask yourself, Is this something I want to continue doing next year? Example: A college proof read one of my blogs today. I’d like to say thank you with a personal note.
- What worked well in business? In my life? I relationships with friends, families and colleagues? (What do I need to avoid next time?) Example: Asking for help when I need it has been a hard task for me over the years. This past year, I learned who to ask for and accept help. It worked well for me, because it freed up some of my own time to do other things and I felt more productive.
- What changes did I make this year or what did I do differently than I have done in the past? In Business? In Life?
- What were the benefits of these changes?
- What if any were the pain points? (Trust me there are tons of lessons in the pain points)
- What Lessons did I learn this year and how can I use them to create a better, healthier, relationship, business or life with myself or with others? (I usually take each lesson and write at least a paragraph about what I learned.)
- How did what I learn provide clarity or focus?
- How can I use this lesson to create a more vibrant life or focused business plan?
I hope this little process will bring you clarity, joy and satisfaction. Perhaps, it will add to a legacy of lesson that you can leave for others. Once you have extracted the lessons, you are ready for the next step which we will cover in the next blog. (video)