Welcome to 2015! Now that the holiday craziness of family and friends and food is behind us, it is time to get ready for the New Year ahead. I find that one of the best ways to do this is to first get some completion with the prior year. January can be a gloomy month weather-wise, but it does offers a wonderful opportunity while indoors to take stock of all that you did in 2014. Each year, I like to review every month of the prior year to honor and celebrate all that I accomplished. Try this out and you will be amazed by and proud of how much you did, even if you thought going into the activity that you didn’t do a thing last year! Here are the steps to review 2014.
- Put on some background music, sit on a comfy chair, get a cup of tea—whatever you need to make yourself comfortable, relaxed and ready to reflect on last year.
- Grab a pretty pad and pen and pull out your calendar (electronic or otherwise) from 2014.
- To jog your memory, review your calendar month-by-month beginning at January 2014.
- Write down everything you did each month that you are most proud of. Include any and everything that you did, no matter how big or small. Some possible items on your list might be:
- Things you learned
- Items you got or let go off
- Support you received or gave
- Transitions you went through
- Projects you started, completed or decided not to do (that is just as important and can be as beneficial as finishing a project)
- Decisions you made
- Changes in yourself you observed
- Gifts you gave or received
- Risks you took
- Opportunities you grabbed on to
- Goals you accomplished
- Take your time and write down as much as possible for each month. Often I find that I didn’t write much in my calendar for a particular month but I remember lots about what happened that month by staring at the things I did put on my calendar.
- After you have a full 12-month list of everything you did in 2014 on paper, put the list in front of you and get another clean sheet of paper.
- Reflect on what you did last year. Is there a theme (or themes) that emerges as you review the list? Was this the year of big change? Perhaps it was the year of reconnection with someone important in your life? Maybe on the face of it the year was not so different from the prior year but you learned to be calm and mindful each day? Try not to judge but rather look for organizing ways to describe what transpired during the year.
- Now look again through the past year and create a gratitude list. Write down the names of all those people in your life (pets count ☺) to whom you are grateful. Jot down a note after their name to remind you of why they have your gratitude. You can even use this as an opportunity to send a thank you note to those special folks.
- Do another pass through your review of 2014 and consider what didn’t go how you wanted last year. Be extremely kind to yourself while you think about what happened. Don’t focus on why it happened, rather just allow that life is an experience and you are living it as it occurs. Look at the ebb and flow and realize that this texture is what makes up life and that your behavior reactions are what make you completely human.
- Finally, celebrate! Of course as a celebrant, I think celebrating is critical. Look over your accomplishment list one last time and pick at least one thing that you want to celebrate. The celebration needn’t be huge—or it can be. All that is required is that you recognize something that you are proud of from last year and give yourself the acknowledgement you deserve.
You may find the year-end reflection process easy or you may find that it is really hard, but in all likelihood you will get so much from the exercise that you will come back to it each year. And of course this sets the stage for planning. Join my mailing list and get your free Big Picture Guide to dream and plan for your future.
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