I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to say good-bye to 2017! In just three days we will close the door on 2017 and a new door—2018—will open.
Although most of us tend to resist change, there are times when we welcome the end of a season, a job, a relationship, or situation. Change is inevitable, and change is good.
Are you ready?
How do you feel about the year to come? Does the prospect of a new year fill you with anticipation, hope, or excitement—or are you feeling fear and dread? Regardless of how you’re feeling about 2017, it’s worth taking some time to reflect on the past, and vision your future.
I just finished a year-end review and goal-setting process created by Michael Hyatt that I’ve done in years past called Best Year Ever. It’s a deep dive into reviewing the year that is coming to a close, and laying the groundwork for making the next year your “best year ever.”
In anticipation of the coming new year, I’d like to share with you some of my process, and invite you reflect, review, and do some goal-setting of your own.
Some time in the next week, sit down with pen and paper, turn off your phone, block distractions, and answer these 7 questions:
When I look back on 2017, what am I pleased about, or what went well?
I recommend you review your calendar or journal for the past year before answering this question.
The human brain is very good at remembering mistakes, or what didn’t work. But it’s not as good at remembering wins and successes. Sometimes this step alone is a significant mood lifter and encourager.
What didn’t go as well I wanted, or didn’t work?
While this question may sound like a downer, it’s helpful to think of this step not only as a way to acknowledge reality, but also to see where you may be able to course correct for a better outcome next time.
For example, maybe you wanted to get in better physical condition in 2017 but you didn’t. When you look back on what didn’t work about getting in better physical condition, it could be that you needed to put your workouts on your calendar, or set out your workout clothes the night before.
What life lessons did I learn in 2017?
(Hint: these are often related to the events and situations that didn’t work well).
As I reviewed my list of life lessons for 2017, every one of them was a roadmap for how I want to change the way I will approach situations (or people), and what I want to do more of in the future.
And that leads to . . .
What can I do now—or in the future—that will either minimize or eliminate this problem in the future?
Here, you simply write down what you learned or discovered as you reflect on what didn’t go well, and your life lessons from 2017.
List three goals you are ready to commit to in 2018
Ideally, goals should be specific, measurable, outside your comfort zone, and with a payoff that you know will enhance your life.
As you review your list, be sure you know why these goals motivate you. If the goal is to please another person or is actually another person’s agenda for you, it’s their goal, not yours.
Your goals should give you a feeling of pleasant anticipation, empowerment, or mastery.
Write down the first three action steps you will take to make each goal happen
Easy and simple are best.
For example, one of my goals for 2018 is to take an extended vacation with my husband. One of my first three action steps for that goal is to simply think about some options for where I’d like to go, and write them down. Making the first three steps simple and easy helps get you moving in the direction of making your goal a reality.
Post your goals somewhere you will see them often, mark the due dates on your calendar, and set reminders to review them throughout the year, or until they’re accomplished.
And finally, gratitude
Gratitude is a guaranteed feel-good experience, and I’ve learned that no matter how bad things are in the moment, there is always something to be grateful for.
List 10 things in your life that you are grateful for—nothing is too simple or mundane. My list includes having a supportive spouse, opportunities to learn and grow, and mentors who support and encourage me.
What are you grateful for? (Share your list in the Comments section below.)
Happy New Year!
I hope 2018 brings you even closer to realizing your hopes, dreams, and goals.
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© Vicki Tidwell Palmer, LCSW (2017)
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