For last year’s words belong to last year’s language. And next year’s words await another voice. – T.S. Eliot
The new year is almost upon us. A fresh start, a new beginning, a new decade (how crazy is that?!), an empty book for you to fill up.
I am someone who believes that you can start afresh anytime you decide but I also love setting goals for a new year. If you’re anything like me, you love setting goals, filling up your planner, and creating schedules. And why not? It is exciting! The fact that you have 365 new and fresh opportunities to steer your life in the direction you want and create your dream year is supercalifragilistically amazing!
In order to do that, however, you first have to pause and rewind.
Pause right now and take a deep breath.
Before the 2020 fun begins, it is important to learn from and make peace with 2019.
I can understand why many people don’t do this. It’s uncomfortable looking back at how things didn’t work out or cringe at all the things that went wrong. It’s easier to want to just start new and fresh on a blank canvas.
But until you close the chapter of your past by reflecting on it, you won’t be able to truly create your best year yet and achieve all that you’ve planned.
This is the first part of a 2 part series.
In this post, we’re going to reflect on 2019, note what worked and didn’t work for us, let go of any habits, relationships, or things that no longer align with your future, get in the right mindset for 2020 and create a blank canvas for the year ahead.
Year end reflection:
Use this exercise to find out what went well in 2019 and what didn’t. This is an amazing opportunity for you to be proud of yourself if you had a wonderful 2019 or learn and make peace if it wasn’t your best year.
The purpose of this year end reflection is not to be hard on yourself or beat yourself up about how you could have done better. No.
That doesn’t serve or benefit you in any way, lovebug.
Instead, think of this as an evaluation of how the year went in various categories of your life.
Some categories I recommend and that you can use are:
4. Personal development + Religion.
5. Career/Online business.
6. Home life and your environment.
If there are any other categories that you believe are important to you, feel free to include them.
Start with one, any one and write down the results you have had in this category.
It is important to focus on results for now rather than the story behind the results which we’ll get to in a moment.
Results are facts that you can prove.
If you were to start off with category on career/online business, for example, your results could be:
I set up a website for my online business and earned $10,000 this year.
This is a result because you can prove it. You can see a website that exists and your bank statement shows $10,000.
An example with results in the category of money could be:
1. Paid off $50,000 in debt.
2. Increased income by 1.5 times, or
3. Accumulated $10,000 in debt.
These are again, facts that you can prove and that you want to focus on.
The story behind the results whatever you tell yourself about why you got the result that you did, whether that be “I only paid off $50,000 when I wanted to pay off my entire debt” or “ I tried so hard to double my income but failed and it only increased 1.5 times” or “I wanted to lose 50 pounds but my diet failed because I was stressed and I didn’t have enough time to go to the gym so I only lost 10”.
It’s so incredibly easy for us to get caught up in the stories and dwell on them and beat ourselves up.
It’s important tonotice when you’re doing this and stop. Remind yourself that this does not serve you in any way and that the story is just a series of thoughts you had about the result. You can choose to think different thoughts and create a different story that is positive and serves you (E.g: I paid off $50,000 in debt which is a significant amount and I’m so proud of this achievement!)
So once you’ve written down the results in your category of choice and the story you’ve been telling yourself, choose what story you want to tell about the result.
Now that you have your results for the category of your choice, ask yourself the following questions:
What was the main emotion I felt in this category?
Describe the strongest emotions you felt in that category in one word. If the category was relationships, for example, what was the strongest emotion you felt through out the year in that category?
Did you feel excited? Did you feel concerned? Did you feel anxious? Were you stressed? Whatever emotions you felt, write them down in one word and really focus on the one emotion that was stronger than all others.
Do you want to continue feeling this way? If you answered yes, then you are doing it right. If you answered no, then something has to change.
These emotions that you feel drive the actions you take which in turn give you your results.
If the emotions driving your actions are negative, the outcome is also going to be as such. If the emotions backing them up are positive, the outcome is going to be phenomenal.
How much time and energy did you spend in this category and how did it serve you?
This one is so important because it allows you to recognize and let go of what no longer serves you. For e.g: if you spent majority of your time on a relationship that brought you nothing but sorrow, is that relationship worth carrying forward to the next year?
If you spent the majority of your time gathering information online learning how to start and earn money online, was it fruitful? Would you have benefited a lot more investing in a course instead which would have saved you months of time and allowed you to make that money back?
Ask yourself this question in the chosen category to understand if the time and energy you spent on something was worth it and can it be better invested elsewhere this year 🙂
Would you remake the decisions that you made?
This one is life-changing.
For eg, if you were to start an online business or blog today, would you still spend weeks and months researching online or would you rather pay for a course and learn from those who’ve already done it?
Or if you had the chance to decide today whether or not you want to date your current partner again, what would your answer be? If you were offered the job you’re working at today, would you accept it again?
These questions are hard in a lot of ways. You may feel certain emotions crop up and that’s okay.
It’s important that you be honest with yourself and answer these questions assuming none of the other circumstances change.
The person you date remains exactly how they are, the course is priced exactly the same, the pay you’re offered is exactly what you make right now. Everything in the same. Would you still remake the decisions?
This allows you to decide what you want to continue in 2020 and what chapter is to be closed in 2019.
Who do you want to be in this category?
Regardless of your current circumstances, one year from now, who are you?
Are you an online business owner who makes an extra $5000 a month? Are you a 6 figure business owner? Are you a good listener and an amazing best friend? Who do you show up as one year from now? What are the major emotions you feel? Do you feel glowy and fit? Do you feel secure and confident and grateful? Do you have an amazing relationship with money?
This personality is going to be your “After personality”.
You don’t have to dive deep and start setting goals just yet. We’ll cover that in Part 2 . For now, just focus on the main emotion you want to feel one year from now. And remember, your circumstances are neutral so you can have anything you want and be anyone you want. Just remember:
1. Your thoughts create your feelings.
2. Your feelings create your actions.
3. Your actions create your results.
4. And your current circumstances are neutral.
That’s all, my friend! 🙂
I recommend you do this for each category one at a time and only move on to the next once you have gone through all these steps for the first.
I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past. – Thomas Jefferson
The next post will be all about setting goals (Yayy!), getting in the right mindset, and creating an action plan to achieve those goals and make 2020 your best year yet!
As always, you can always reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions, stories, messages, or to just say hi! and I will personally reply to you.
Do hard things, make peace, and get excited about the future!