I know. There’s a New Year just around the corner.
And even though we complain about how fast time goes, some of us still can’t wait to get there.
We lean forward, trying hard to see around the curve, wondering what’s ahead. Hoping for good things. Crossing our fingers. Saying our prayers.
Perhaps this year has been a great year for you, even if you didn’t do half of what you planned. You’re still excited about where you’re heading, and ready for a fresh start.
Perhaps it’s been a hard year, and you’re more than ready to tell it goodbye and good riddance!, for all kinds of really good reasons.
Either way, we’re all ready to start another trip around the sun. Still, there’s one last thing to do before we step over the threshold into What’s Next.
We need to Celebrate.
And sure, that can mean all the things you usually think of when you hear that word.
It can mean celebrating the good things in our lives – our families and friends, our health, our ability to earn a living, the roof over our heads.
For some of you, heck, it may mean celebrating that you’re still in the game, no matter how hard the road or how long the journey.
But I want you to do more than that.
I want you to celebrate you.
Just about every woman I know is so hard on herself, that all she can think about is what she didn’t do, where she fell short, what went wrong or what she hasn’t accomplished.
And most entrepreneurs I know are naturally restless spirits. We’re always thinking about what’s next, about what we can create, where we can go with our lives and our businesses. And we criticize ourselves for all the goals we haven’t reached yet.
This was the year you were going to run the half marathon, but you didn’t.
Or you were going to get that first book published, but you didn’t.
Or maybe you were going to break six figures…but you didn’t do that, either.
Yeah. I know.
And yet – you have done a lot.
Way more than you realize.
Even if, right this second, you can’t think of a single thing!
So maybe I can help. :)
Get out a notebook, or your favorite journal. Grab a pen you love, a fresh cup of coffee or tea, and plant yourself in your favorite nook. Leave your phone in another room with the ringer off (do this!), and tell your family to leave you alone for a little while.
Now, allow your mind to wander over the past year, and all that’s happened.
Some of it has been really hard – sad, scary, exhausting. If you need to cry a little, cry. It’s okay.
And some of it has been incredibly awesome – fun, fascinating, surprising even. If it makes you smile just to think about wacky times or proud moments, let out a little grin. No one’s watching. That’s okay, too.
There were moments when you weren’t sure you were going to make it through the day.
And there were moments when you couldn’t believe how good life could be.
Now, as you think back over the past year, look over the questions below. Answer them all, or use them as prompts to journal wherever your thoughts take you. Take a moment to notice the feelings that come up, too.
Ready? Here we go.
1. What’s one place you went this year that you’d never been to before? It could be anywhere from Tahiti to a new restaurant or an unexplored backroad in your own county.
2. What’s one thing you tried this year that you’ve never tried before? A new recipe? A new software? Or maybe something bigger like an art class, or something over the top like jumping out of a plane. (!)
3. What’s one thing you’ve said this year that you couldn’t have said before? Did you speak up when no one else would? Maybe you asked for help – finally. :)
4. What did you learn this year, that you never understood before? Did you read a book that gave you a new perspective? Did you hear a talk or attend a class? Perhaps a life experience brought you new wisdom or insight…
5. If you’re a business owner, what new steps did you take this year that you couldn’t have taken before? Did you give a talk? Offer a new program? Get your first client? Write your first blog post? (If you’re an employee, what new skill did you learn? What new role or responsibility did you accept?)
6. What blessing came your way this year that you might have missed before? A special gift from a friend? A compliment from a client? A kindness from a stranger? An unexpected check in the mail?
7. What did you learn about yourself that you didn’t know before? What discoveries did you make? How have you surprised yourself?
8. Where have you gained clarity when you were foggy and confused before? As you learn about yourself, what you love, what you have to offer, that fog starts to lift. Sometimes it’s as simple as getting clear on what you don’t want.
9. Where did you find Courage that you’d never noticed before? Hurdles you overcame? Hard days you got through? And what strengths did you discover that you never knew you had?
10. Where did you build Confidence when you’d always struggled before? A year ago, you never knew you could do this, and here you are, doing it just fine. What is that?
As you reflect on all you’ve accomplished, all that you’ve learned, take a moment to soak it all in. And before you say good bye to this year, allow yourself to feel just a little bit proud.
You got through it, didn’t you?
And you accomplished way more than you realized, didn’t you?
No matter what. In spite of everything. Life is good.
And you’ve done well.
So give yourself a little credit, and let’s Celebrate.
And a P.S. – I’d love to know what you think about this exercise. Is it helpful? What have you realized as a result of working through it?
Photo Credit: Jayhem on Flickr