As we think about what we would like to accomplish this year, we can all benefit from the investment of time in looking back, taking stock and evaluating the people and events that meant the most to us. Some people use journaling as a method of recording what they are grateful for. Others simply take a blank piece of paper and list everything of importance that occurred throughout the previous year.
Whatever method you choose to use, the value of the activity is in the process of remembering, acknowledging and reflecting on the things that made last year significant, and I encourage you to find the method that works for you.
I would guess that some of the goals you set for yourself were not completed, and several achievements took place that could not have been forecast. This is certainly true for me. Looking back, I now know that what I achieved was driven by the priorities I set – the time and effort I placed on actions I determined to be more important or satisfying than other opportunities – regardless of what I had on my list of things to do in the new year.
The message here is that you can trust your wisdom and rest in the realization that it is all good. The decision to be proud of your accomplishments is really a choice that is in your best interests. Choose to acknowledge and endorse yourself instead of the alternative. Coulds, woulds and the dreaded shoulds scatter your focus. Spend your precious God-given energy instead on being your own cheerleader, and eliminate the fear of reaching out to others for the help and support you need to be your best.
How can we then think about the opportunities for the coming year in a way that best supports who we are and want to be, as well as what is most important for us to accomplish?
We maximize our chances of achieving our goals when they express one or more of the following four elements:
~ what we’re good at
~ what’s important to us
~ what we like to do or our passion
~ what supports our destiny
Notice how effortless it is to do something you’re good at. It really doesn’t even qualify as work. It’s easy and you can almost do it without thinking. Very often the things you’re good at are also the things you enjoy doing. Your passion shows up as energy and enthusiasm. How about something that’s important to you? No doubt, you’ll move heaven and earth to get it done. How about your destiny? Do you have inklings about what it is? Are you living it now or have you ignored the call of your spirit?
A new year represents new beginnings, fresh options, a clean slate. When thinking about what you want this year to stand for, think about the four elements outlined above. List all possible goals and then filter them through the four elements – your talents, likes, priorities and your destiny. Goals will be easier to set and their achievement will be easier to realize. Even if you can’t answer each of the four questions yet, just spending time with them will get your subconscious mind working on your behalf to fill the gap and get you focused on what really matters.
I was talking with an actor friend just after her opening performance in an off-Broadway play. She had also just completed a successful run in a Neil Simon comedy on Broadway, and was sharing two special gifts she gave herself from her “Neil Simon money.” On her fingers were five of the most beautiful diamond rings that were distinctly beautiful on their own and dazzling en masse. She also bought herself a new bed.
After reflecting on my friend’s gifts to herself, I realized that she had made some very wise choices. The rings were demonstrations of her self-esteem. She had indeed achieved her dreams of a successful career on and off Broadway and was reminded of this every time she looked at her left hand. And her new bed gave her the resource for taking care of her best asset – herself – through the opportunity for self-renewal.