Wednesday, 28 December 2016

As one year closes, another one begins… Review last year and plan for the year ahead

At this time of year, there’s a natural inclination to look back on the previous year and assess how it was. We very often hear people talking – in general terms - about what a great year it’s been, or saying that they’ll be glad to see the back of the year, hopeful that the new one will fare better.

Rather than a superficial assessment, have you thought about conducting a more comprehensive review of the year? As you would in a work situation, a review of your year can help you identify learning opportunities and set goals that will help keep your life moving in the direction you’ve planned.

There are many aspects to our lives that – when compounded together - make us feel happy and fulfilled:

  • Work
  • Play
  • Health
  • Growth
  • Spiritual

It’s unrealistic to expect every aspect of your life to perform in equilibrium and it’s natural to feel as though certain elements of your life are getting more attention at certain times. Problems tend to arise, however, if we neglect one aspect of our life in favour of another. Any major imbalance can leave us feeling off-kilter, which then impacts on the other aspects of our lives.

Think about the big picture

This isn’t about focusing on the small things that went well or the events that didn’t quite go to plan, it’s about taking a look at how the year – generally - has helped you progress towards your life goals. Are you still going in the direction you’d hoped to be? Or have events happened that meant you’ve needed to change track? Are all aspects of your life being nurtured and getting enough attention? Or are some requiring more energy at the detriment of the others? By thinking first about the big picture, we can really focus on what we need for the year ahead.

Failures are opportunities to learn and grow

It’s important to change how you think about ‘failures’. Things are bound to go wrong from time to time, but if we think about each of these failures as an opportunity to learn and grow we will be better able to embrace the failures that will undoubtedly come our way in the New Year. Don’t just concentrate solely about what went wrong, take each failure in turn and think about what happened, how you dealt with it and the opportunity it has given you for growth.

Savour your successes

There is a human tendency to give just a cursory nod towards our successes and dissect the failures – so we can avoid them in future. It’s time to reverse this habit. Take some time to look into your successes too and really understand how they came to be. Most successful events are of our own doing and by focusing on how we achieved our goals, we can concentrate on replicating this behaviour over the coming year. Professional sports people really believe in the power of positive thinking, if you think about success, you will become successful.

Visualise your perfect year

Think about what would make next year perfect. How will you feel at the end of the year when you have achieved all that you set out to? Now break it down. Think about what a perfect month would look like… a perfect week… a perfect day – you get the idea... Now break this down into actions and behaviours that you would need to adopt in order to realise your perfect year. Now do it!

Think of this time of year as an opportunity to start afresh. Think of it as a clean sheet; a blank canvas. You have a chance to become unstuck and to celebrate success and move on from failure. Make of it what you will, and remember that the future lies in your hands.

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