It is 9 days till the year ends. The media is pumping us with motivations for 2014 and encouraging us to make New Yea’rs resolutions already. We get emails every day asking us to reflect on 2013 and create a vision for the new year. Hey, wait a minute! What’s the rush? Before we jump into the New Year buzz, let’s make sure we feel happy, joyful, and free in what’s left of this year. Let’s not wait 9 more days.
Let’s look at our tendencies, our normal reactions, first.
There are 2 tendencies that strongly emerge when we are asked to reflect on the past and plan for the future. The first tendency is to worry about the future. The second is to regret the past. Have you seen the famous Las Vegas sign found in every casino? ?You must be present to win.?
Before we start planning for next year and before we lose our power by examining disappointments of the past year, I invite you to do one simple thing: Review the past year from a place of love and gratitude so you can be fully present and feel much happier right now.
I like to take time to reflect at each year’s end. I used to look at different areas of my life and think, how could I have done things better? What would I do differently if I could do it all over again? The reality is: I’m an expert at looking back at things and seeing how I could have done better. As they say, hindsight is 20/20. What I was lacking was the ability to give myself credit, the ability to love and accept myself, the ability to be happy and feel good now, in the moment, even when looking backward. Of course it is important to improve! We always want to improve! But first, let’s take a minute to acknowledge ourselves, to tap ourselves on the shoulder, to look at who we are and to say: ?Wow!?
You might think it is egotistical to recognize and acknowledge yourself. Or maybe it feels selfish to give yourself credit. But think about this for a minute: Do you want your children to love themselves and be proud of who they are? Wouldn’t you encourage them to stop beating themselves up and start loving themselves more? Well, my friend, how are you doing at ?being? who you want your children to be?
Here is a question you must ask yourself at the end of this year:
What am I proud of?
Make a list of 10 things you’re proud of.
When you’re done, make a list of 10 more things you’re proud of.
And when you’re done with that, make a list of 10 more things you’re proud of.
Some of the items on your list might be accomplishment and results. But make sure that you also include recognition of how you handled different, and sometimes difficult, situations.
?Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen,? says author and researcher Brene Brown in her book Daring Greatly.
It might be that in this past year there was a complicated dynamic in your family. Maybe even a situation that didn’t end on a positive note. Don’t spend time evaluating results and outcomes. Begin evaluating how you handled them. Look for progress you’ve made in the ways you’ve dealt with life’s challenges. It doesn’t have to be big. It can be really small. Here are few examples from my own ?What I am proud of? list:
- I’m proud of how much more courage I had to speak my truth.
- I’m proud of how much more vulnerable I was with my husband.
- I’m proud of the progress I’ve made letting my son find his way.
- I’m proud of how present I was for my daughter when she went through a difficult time.
- I’m proud of being more understanding towards my sister.
- I’m proud of owning my responsibility and apologizing to my client, Jamie, when I messed up.
As you transition into the New Year, take some time to be happier and feel that sense of ?Wow? right now, without regretting the past, and before focusing on the future.
Please share with me because by saying it out loud, you are affirming your strengths and gifts.
What are you proud of?