Here’s an exercise you might find useful to end 2017 with satisfaction and start 2018 with confidence

When you reflect on 2017, what words spring to mind? Mine are: challenge, pain, growth and gratitude.

I have found the exercise of reflecting on a year a critical part of my yearly process, and find it sets up the following year, so that, in the words of Napoleon Bonaparte, I don’t “fail to learn from history and be doomed to repeat it.”

For many years, I would just let the year draw to a close with some vague recollections of good and bad, hit new year, have some thoughts about how the next year would be better than this one, only to notice that a month into the following year, those great intentions were looking more and more unlikely to materialise.

This is the process I have used for several years to end 2017 with satisfaction and feeling of fulfilment and completion. Why not try it?:

  • Write down the 3-5 words that come to mind from the year
  • What has been positive and what can you acknowledge yourself for?
  • What has been challenging and what can you learn from those challenges?
  • What are you grateful for?
  • What do you need to say, do or let go of, to declare 2017 complete?

Then, I start to plan the next year, which I aim to get done by 31st December. As with any journey, it’s a work in progress and focus and flexibility are key. Here is my process for starting 2018 with confidence:

  • What are the words you’d like to focus on to keep you on track and inspired in 2018? Mine are: focus, discipline and delayed gratification. I have a creative mind and I am self-employed so these words are going to help!
  • Next, project your mind to the end of 2018 and write down all that you have achieved, as it were. Have fun, be creative and have no barriers. Dream big.
  • Now, list the most important result you’d like to achieve for the year, then the second, then the third. Trust that by doing what’s important you’ll allow a ‘cascading effect’ of other great things in your life to happen,
  • Now break those goals down into 90 day sub-goals
  • Finally, get a buddy, partner or coach to support you in staying accountable for what you have promised.

Here’s to a great wrap-up of 2017 and a great planning of 2018.

What do you think? Useful or not? I’d love to hear your comments.