Successful people take time to reflect and acknowledge accomplishments and plan for the future. If you’re not clear on what you really want you’re likely to get more of what you’ve always gotten. I was happy to see one of my favorite coaches, Cheryl Richardson, on Good Morning America yesterday morning talking about taking a personal inventory.
I wanted to share with you my own personal ritual for bringing the old year to a close and ringing in the new year. I don’t do resolutions (they don’t work…more on that in an upcoming post). Instead I create a vision and intention (backed up by a plan) for what I want to achieve and experience in the coming year. Here’s my ritual that I hope you will incorporate into your New Year’s activities this weekend.
Make a list of what you accomplished in 2006 and those experiences, activities, or events that were a great success for you. What really worked this past year? What did you accomplishment? What turned out the way you hoped? What memories can you celebrate?
This list builds your self-confidence because you are taking the time to acknowledge yourself for all the amazing things you accomplished. It also allows you to steep yourself in gratitude for what you do have.
Note Your Disappointments
Now make a list of the things that didn’t really work out for you. What were your disappointments or regrets from 2006? Where did you fall short of your goals and desires?
This is not an exercise in beating yourself up or dwelling on the negative. Quite the opposite. It gives you a chance to take a look at what isn’t working for you and what you might have done different so it can inform your choices going forward.
A Vision for 2007
Think ahead to this time next year. When you do this exercise then, what are the things you want to put on your “accomplished” list? What are the memories and experiences you want to have in 2007.
There are several ways to do this exercise. You can make a list of all the different items or you can write a narrative in the present tense as if it is next year and you’re reflecting back on what you have done and who you’ve become. Whichever approach you choose, allow yourself to really feel what it will feel like to have, be, or do these things. Really drink in the feelings and experiences so it anchors it in your body and soul.
My partner and I along with two friends create a list each New Year’s Day of what we most want to accomplish in the coming year. Then, we fold up the paper, and seal it in an envelope and wait until the next New Year’s Day to open it. The power of intention and writing something down can be mind-blowing.
Create a Plan
Don’t let this work-intensive sounding word — “plan” trip you up. It is a holiday after all. However, successful people don’t let life happen to them by chance, they create a plan. So, take a look at your vision for 2007 and create a list of the things you need to do in 2007 to make them a reality. For now, keep it simple. Make notes of the types of support you’ll need in order to reach your goal and some of the actions and behaviors you’ll have to put into practice to get where you want to go. Perhaps you need to join a group, hire a coach, or get more sleep. Maybe you need to block off time every day or week to work on your goals.
Build on Your Successes and Forge New Paths
A combination of building on your past successes and forging some new paths is the best way to keep momentum going in 2007. So, as you create your plan take some successes from this year that you want to build upon (example: in 2006 I got out of debt, in 2007 I am going to create a savings/investment plan) as well as creating some entirely new goals (example: time for a career change).
I hope you find this little New Year’s ritual helpful and I wish you a superb start to 2007!