Feasting season is coming to a close. At the end of December, our collective focus makes a dramatic shift to self-improvement. Throughout January we are bombarded with messages about ways we could improve and should discipline ourselves. By mid-month many of us are demoralized and hoping no one remembers our bold new year promises.
If we want to make some changes where’s a better place to start? How about first taking an inventory of your achievements? Taking stock of successes is an essential counterbalance to concentrating on what’s missing. Pause and say thank you for what you already have, and celebrate what you want to see more of in your work and life.
And don’t just consider your superficial successes. Think about areas where you made progress by taking smaller steps toward a larger goal, the lessons you learned when things didn’t turn out the way you planned. How you managed to show up and be gracious while getting through difficult times.
Why is this so important? Because if we take an inventory of triumphs and take stock of our assets, we are more likely to make the change. The truth is most of us need more encouragement than criticism to make meaningful changes.
Most of us need success reminders – especially when we are facing a new challenge. It’s easy to lose perspective as we experience the inevitable ups and downs of making change real. To follow through with our resolutions, we must find ways to stay motivated and hold the course until the benefits of our new choices show up.
Our success inventory is evidence of our capacity to change, and of our strengths. Reviewing and acknowledging our evolution offers proof that we are growing and learning. It can inspire us to have some faith in ourselves and keep going. It can also take away our excuses for staying stuck.
The crossover into a new year is a natural place to pause and celebrate the gains we’ve made. Recognizing where we are already successful can build our confidence to claim bigger dreams.
Think about all areas of your life – not just your professional life. Acknowledge how you are evolving. Appreciate the community of friends and family supporting you, and the people that can make you laugh – even on the worst of days.
Take some time to reflect on the questions below. Celebrate what you already have in the service of getting more of what you want in your work and life in 2019.
• Thinking about last year, what makes you most proud?
• What were your most significant personal and professional challenges and successes in 2018?
• What more “modest” but meaningful things are you proud of accomplishing last year?
• What have you accomplished in 2018 that has surprised you?
• Where did you not achieve what you set out to accomplish? What progress have you made towards larger aims?
• Where did you miss the mark or make a mistake that requires acknowledging? What did you learn from life not going your way? What makes you proud about how you handled it?
• Entering a new year, what do you need to stop blaming yourself for and accept? What will letting go create more space for you to experience and achieve in 2019?
• Whom do you need to thank for their contribution to your successes and well- being in the past year?
• As we move into a new year, what can you not deny you are good at and is your unique gift to share?
• What three words do you want to define 2019?
Happy New Year!