I’m a BIG fan of routines and rituals. Hello! who isn't? (Aries girl with Virgo tendencies talking here).
Since I’m such a fan of my daily habits it was surprising to me that I didn’t have some kind of ritual to close out the end of each year before ringing in a new one.
Then I thought about how easy it is to look back and remember the unhappy memories, painful moments, disappointments, regrets and all the things that didn’t go as planned. Yes, guilty!
Since that kind of baggage can bear a heavy emotional weight, I wanted to start my year off fresh and leave it behind so I can focus on what's truly important to me. I bet you want that, too!
Okay, let’s dive in.
01 | WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?
For many of us, finding an answer to this question is tough. Our first reaction might be that we need a big accomplishment for it to be noteworthy when in fact the opposite is true.
I love Denise Duffield-Thomas' (Get Rich Lucky Bitch) recommendation to create a list of 50 things you’re proud of. It’s easy to forget all of the little things that make us feel proud like how I managed to get through an entire year with only 8GB of storage on my iPhone. True story.
The truth is, you'll probably get stumped. That’s why this exercise is brilliant because it really forces our brains to stop and think. I did manage to come up with 50 but obviously not everything that made the list is worth bragging about (I knew I was stretching when I added iPhone storage to the list).
However, the point is to acknowledge and celebrate your successes regardless of how big or insignificant they may seem.
P.S. I wrote this list about 3 weeks ago and forgot about it. Today I looked at it, and whoa! I'm impressed. I have a LOT to be proud of last year and now I'm feeling pretty good. *pats back*
02 | WHAT WERE YOUR TOP 2 TO 3 CHALLENGES OR STRUGGLES LAST YEAR?
Okay, we're getting kinda deep here.
In other words, what rests heavy on your shoulders as you reflect back on your year? What energy needs to be cleared to help you move forward and start the year fresh?
If you don’t bring it to your attention now then it can hold you back and keep you stuck. It’s important to note that this question isn’t asking you to resolve anything. Simply bringing it into your awareness giving it space to be honoured and acknowledged may be all it needs. We’re allowing it to be "heard" so to speak.
If you want to take this one step further, write your top 2 to 3 struggles, regrets, challenges and fears from last year on a piece of paper and release them by meditating or burning them in a fire as a way to signify that you are ready to let it go, choosing not to carry your pain, anger or disappointment forward.
03 | WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM YOUR CHALLENGE OR STRUGGLE? WHAT WAS IT TRYING TO TEACH YOU?
My friend, this is a very critical question. Try not to skip this one. The harsh reality is, life is life and that means that things don’t always work out (jeez, who's this a-hole?).
All funniness aside, let's be real.
We don’t always get the job we prayed for, the promotion, the baby, the soulmate. We put a lot of effort into something and get little to no payoff or return. Our relationship holds on by a thread. We’re just keeping our heads above water. Our kids push us to our breaking point (Ok! who's the a-hole? Kidding. Maybe). And, the list goes on, right?
I'm a believer that there is something to be gained from our struggles; usually, an important lesson needed for our journey to advance our personal growth.
Perhaps that’s a hard concept to grasp right now but the key is to not get hung up on that thing that happened or didn’t work out because it can keep you stuck and feeling downright miserable.
In order to maintain forward momentum in your life, I'd encourage you to seek the thoughtful lesson behind it.
What spiritual purpose did it serve in your life?
Sometimes our rational, logical brain can't conceive an answer so we must take this question to our higher self (you know, that third eye thingy). Go inward. Meditate. Journal or sit quietly to reflect and wait for an answer to emerge.
Often times our greatest struggles are the spiritual wake up calls needed to bring our attention to an area of our life that needs the most love and attention. Nurture this part of yourself. It's an important part of your journey.
04 | WHAT GOALS DIDN'T YOU ACCOMPLISH?
This isn’t about berating yourself for all the things you didn’t do that you said you would. That wouldn’t be helpful, obvs!
The point is to identify them and write them down to help you determine a new approach to take going forward.
The next two questions will help you gain clarity on how you can follow through the next time if you choose to keep the same goal.
05 | WHAT PREVENTED YOU FROM ACCOMPLISHING YOUR GOALS?
You’ve probably got some legitimate reasons for not knocking it out of the park with some of your goals last year, right?
In my case, I couldn’t blog as much as I wanted to or expand my reach because I had a baby and moved countries. Both BIG, life changing events that required a lot of my time and energy (and still do).
Understandably, circumstances change and we can’t factor in or control every outcome no matter how much we try to plan our year ahead. As they say, we’re striving for progress, not perfection, right?
The important thing is to get to the root of the matter to determine what course of action to take next (i.e. ditch your goal, modify it, give yourself more time to accomplish it, make it doable, take a new approach, etc.).
Looking at the goals you didn’t accomplish, ask yourself what stood in your way and prevented you from following through?
If you lacked support or resources, perhaps an accountability partner or a mastermind group would’ve been helpful.
If it wasn’t that interesting maybe it’s time to take that one off the list (guilt free of course).
If you were too busy and didn’t have the time to devote to it, then maybe it’s time to re-evaluate your priorities to ensure you have time to fit it in.
These are just a few examples to get the creative juices flowing to help you get clear about how to move forward.
06 | WHAT WILL YOU CHANGE OR DO DIFFERENTLY TO ACHIEVE YOUR GOAL NEXT YEAR?
This is a very empowering question because it helps remove any blame (from you or other people). I know that when things don't always go as planned (usually due to highly unrealistic expectations) the rational part of my brain wants to find someone or something to blame for the reason I didn't succeed or follow through.
In other words, I'm making an excuse. Excuses are truly a waste of time and energy in my books. That's not to say that I still don't fall victim to them from time to time but over the years I've become much more conscious about how the choices I make affect my life.
Take some time and evaluate your goals and what you wanted to accomplish last year. Today's a new day.
What do you need to change in your life to make it work?
Be honest. The choice is up to you.
07 | LOOKING BACK (ONE YEAR AGO TODAY), HOW HAS YOUR LIFE TRANSFORMED?
Oh, this is Biiiiiiggg! *Oprah voice*
Wow, when I look at how much can change in one year it truly astounds me. I've been blessed with a new baby, a beautiful new home, space to sit back, grow this blog and decide how I want to advance my coaching business.
Although I didn't accomplish as much with my business as I had hoped, I made enough mistakes to really know what not to do going forward and sometimes that's the only gift or greater lesson needed. There is so much value in that alone.
Take a little time this weekend to reflect back on your year; the good, the bad, and the "oops, not again" moments and give yourself a big ol' loving pat on the back for getting though another year a tad bit wiser.
If you don't feel like you've grown much or made much of a transformation, revisit your proudest moments or your struggles list to see how it's changed your life's trajectory (even just a little).
Phew! That's a lot, perhaps too much to tackle all in one sitting.
I recommend carving out 30 minutes to run though this list of 7 questions to help you find closure and boost you forward in the right direction.
I truly hope that you're feeling a little more equipped to leave your baggage behind and start this year FRESH! You go girl! *Oprah voice again*
LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW AND TELL ME:
What's one thing you're most proud of last year?
What do you want to release and let go of to help you start your year fresh?
How has your life transformed looking back one year ago today?