The new year is a time of rebirth. To begin on an inspiring note, I suggest you spend a little time taking stock of your achievements from the year that is ending. Make a record of your accomplishments — everything you did or said or bought or made happen that you’re proud of. This is not a journalistic account of the ups and downs of the year; it includes only the successes. They’re what matter most in the long run; they’re worth pausing to reflect on to give you fuel for the coming year.
This is similar to advice I relayed some time ago to record three good things at the end of each day. It is not a mindless exercise in feel-good, rah rah positive thinking. Reviewing your actual achievements is much more profound than that. It reaffirms emotionally that these successes are good and important, and keeps that context activated.
There is an added benefit to reviewing the whole year. You get to see the brightest achievements all in one list — a list as long as you can make it. To make sure you remember the highlights, I recommend you review your calendar or some other record of your activities; it’s surprisingly easy to forget important achievements from months ago.
If it was a difficult year, you can see clearly all you accomplished in the face of adversity. If it was an unusually good year, you get to count up the amazing total of successes. When you see the year as a whole, you add to the sense of yourself as one who achieves something over time. As you do this over many years, you can reflect on long-term improvements that you see from year to year.
I think you will also find that reflecting on the successes of the previous year puts you in a good frame of mind to look to the future. As you review, you will find some unfinished business. Seen in the context of all you did accomplish, it’s natural to treat these items as next year’s successes, rather than last year’s failures. I always find the process leaves me inspired to achieve more in the future, because I am building on the success of the past.
This reflection takes a little time, but the time has a payoff. Reviewing your achievements across the year gives you a sense of yourself, and helps you keep your life in perspective.
A productive and happy new year to you.