Don't you just love New Years? All that promise of a bright, shiny new year to play with along with the chance to reflect fondly on the preceding year, and (bonus) we get to chuck out what didn't work and start over.
Of course, the chucking-out bit requires some careful weeding through the previous 12 months, to make sure we capture and keep the good stuff. Wouldn't want to throw the New Years baby out with the bathwater, now would we?
Here's what I recommend as a series of questions to ask yourself as you bid a fond and final farewell to the year.
Note: there are no right answers. What we are after here is process. The main objective is to deepen insight and awareness so you can design the year you truly want.
So, get out a pencil and a little notebook, and proceed:
1. What did I do well last year? What am I proud of?
2. What did I not do so well? Where do I feel disappointed?
3. What goals and intentions did I achieve?
4. What goals and intentions did I not achieve, and why?
5. What strengths did I discover or develop during the previous year?
6. What skills did I learn, acquire or develop during the previous year?
7. What habits do I need/want to: change, eliminate, nurture, and/or create?
8. What am I most grateful for?
9. What do I regret most?
10. What passions, priorities or meaningful activities did I WANT to focus on or include in my life, but didn’t? How do I feel about that?
11. What passions, priorities or meaningful activities DID I focus on or include in my life, and how do I feel about that?
12. What do I want or need to give up in the upcoming year?
13. What do I want or need to add in the upcoming year?
Not to worry, question #14 is coming in a minute, but before we get there, try this: When you imagine yourself into the upcoming year, how are you being? List three adjectives that describe the state of being you desire. (Yes, you are allowed to have more. Fill your boots).
Too often we focus the year’s goals on doing – action steps that we can check off on some kind of achievement list. I have a great deal of respect for that form of goal-setting. It is critical to strategic planning, as is being as concrete as possible about the when, who, how and what of whatever you want to achieve. And…
We’re on a different kind of hunt here. We are searching for what has meaning for you. We are searching for what is trying to emerge as this year closes and a new year opens up. Why? So that whatever you ultimately choose to do will be in alignment with who you are.
So, looking at your responses to the questions and lists above, here is question #14: What did you learn? What is your ‘big aha’?
Now ask yourself, given what you have learned and your desired stare of being, what goals or activities might bring you closer to what you truly want?