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 possibility that you have 365 new, fresh, opportunities to steer your life in the direction you want and create your dream year is amazing.
In order to do that, however, you have to pause.
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 how things went wrong. It’s easier to want to just start new and fresh.
But it is so important to make peace with 2019 first and reflect on this past year in order to close this chapter and make the coming year your best year yet.
This is the first part of a 2 part series.
We’re going to reflect on the current year, learn what went wrong and what went right, let go of what no longer serves us, get into the right mindset for 2020, set goals the right way, and come up with an action plan to make 2020 your dream year.
Year end reflection:
The purpose of this year end reflection is not to be hard on yourself. No.
That doesn’t serve or benefit you in any way. Instead, this is like 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.
7. Giving back to the society.
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 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 regarding 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 this could be whatever you tell yourself, 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”.
You see the difference? It is so easy for us to get caught up in the stories because we’re human and that’s okay.
It’s important to notice when you’re doing this, stop, remind yourself that this does not serve you in any way, and then focus on the results instead.
Once you’ve written down the results in your category of choice, then look at the story behind it and more importantly, how you choose to tell that story.
You could easily say “I only lost 10 pounds this year and didn’t meet my goal because I eat when I’m stressed and I was stressed because someone passed away and I didn’t know how to cope and I was so tired to workout” or you could choose to say it in a way that serves you: “This year was extremely stressful and busy for me and despite that, I was able to lose 10 pounds. I’m going to come up with a strategy or an action plan that works even better so that I can lose the remaining 40 pounds”.
Notice the difference, guys. It’s how you tell the story that determines your mindset.
No matter the result, you can choose how many stories to tell and which one to tell for the same result. Remember not to dwell on them for too long, whether they are good or bad.
Now that you have your results for the category of your choice, I want you to ask yourself the following questions:
What was the main emotion I felt for this category?
And it has to be only one word emotions/feelings. 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.
You see the story you’ve told yourself or your thoughts created the feelings or emotions that you felt.
If your story or thought was “Oh no, I only made $10,000 from my online business”, your emotions are probably scarcity, disappointed, and so on.
On the contrary, if your thought/story was “I made $10,000 from my online business. That’s $10,000 extra to my annual income and I can use this as an opportunity to invest in courses and learn how to make more money”, the emotions you feel are probably more positive such as determined, excited, grateful.
These emotions 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 eg: if you spent majority of your time on a relationship that brought you nothing but sorrow, is it 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 really let go of what no longer serves you.
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 partner, 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”.
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 feelings.
2. Your feelings create your actions.
3. Your actions create your results.
4. And your current circumstances are neutral.
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!
I would love to hear about how you chose to make peace with 2019. As always, you can always reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will personally reply to you.
Do hard things, make peace, and get excited about the future!