The holidays are here. A time of joy, laughter, and love. Well, for some. For others a time of anxiety, sadness, and regret. The end of a year can feel like a new beginning. Or it can feel like a massive look back at a loss, missed opportunity and disappointment. It doesn’t have to be that way!
Right now, my inbox is flooded with solutions to everything that has ever plagued me. From parts of me that are too small, others that are too big, some that are gone, and everything in-between. I want to understand how “they” got into my bathroom to discover such things. Damn you, hairbrush-of-truth! I do know, that if I don’t act now, 2018 will end up mirroring 2017. Miserable!
At least, that’s what the marketers of the world would have us believe. The reality is, we are beautiful just the way we are. Sure, we need the occasional tweak here and there. But an impulse buy is not going to save us from ourselves. Also, 2017 probably went a lot better than you think it did. Few of us ever bother to look back and celebrate our successes.
Be honest. Look back at 2016. Were you busy making resolutions for 2017? How did you do? Here’s a statistic. There’s a good chance you fell into the 80-92% of people who gave up on their resolutions. By February. FEBRUARY! The odds are not in our favor.
I know I failed to stand and deliver on everything I had planned. But, I also know, that I did some pretty kick ass things. That is why I am taking a new approach as I look forward to 2018. Rather than worry too much about next year, I am choosing to reflect on my past year.
I still plan to set goals, but I am waiting. The holidays are no time to be tackling next year. It should be a time for positive reflection. Congratulating ourselves on what we did do. Not beating ourselves up and promising to do better next year.
As the year winds down, I often find myself feeling melancholy. I place too much of my attention on what I didn’t accomplish. Then I start to stress about what I should achieve next year. It occurred to me later that I was looking at it all wrong.
The end of a year is a fallacy. It is not the END of anything. It is a chapter break. The world will not screech to a halt if I have failed to complete something in 2017. Nor, will it cease to exist, if I do not plan for 2018. I am not Cinderella. My life is not a pumpkin!
Chinese New Year tends to fall several weeks after December 31st. In 2018, it is on February 18th. I am making Chinese New Year my new target for any goals. It is the year of the dog no less, my personal Chinese Zodiac Sign! With this delay, I can focus on the positives of 2017. I can be more present during holiday celebrations, and still, have more than a month to set goals for 2018.
Some of you reading this might feel you have little to look back on and celebrate. I can assure you that you do. Don’t think you didn’t accomplish anything significant. You made it to today. That’s something you cannot underestimate. “Just surviving” can sometimes suck. But good luck interviewing someone who has suffered from the alternative.
In the moment, it can be difficult to recognize our impact. Our lives impact so many other people’s lives. I guarantee you did something. Big or small, your existence made a difference. Don’t believe me? Watch it’s a Wonderful Life and get back to me. Better yet, afterward, buy a bell. Carry it everywhere you go. Ring it continually proclaiming, “every time a bell rings an angel gets its wings!” Now, that would be something.
If you can’t think of anything, you have done. Start by thinking of people that have affected you positively in the past year. Write those people a short thank you note. By sharing it with them, you can help them to see their accomplishments. That would be something.
One last idea that I would like to share. Recently, I have become obsessed with the Free version of an app called Mindly. It is for brainstorming and mind-mapping. Don’t worry if those terms don’t mean anything to you. Consider it a way to visualize what’s in your head.
If you are like me, you may desire to overcomplicate things. That is the number one complaint, I’ve seen about Mindly. It is too simple! I see this as a benefit. It keeps me from playing with too many settings and losing focus. I use it to untangle and declutter my thoughts. Below is an example of my 2017.
Before using the tool, there were significant things that I remembered. But, it was not until I stopped and dug in, that I appreciated how much I had accomplished. If you’d like to try it yourself, check out the quick tutorial and downloads for IOS, Android. In under 2-minutes, you can see how easy it is to get started.
As a professional procrastinator, I can tell you the competition in the field is thickening. I am not promoting procrastination. I am suggesting delayed intentionality. Give yourself a break. Appreciate your past year. Get through the holidays. Then join me and many others as we move into our next chapter, titled 2018!
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