The last week of the year is usually spent in a total blur of lingering cocktails, carefree days (wait, what day is it again?) and written off indulgence. This downtime is the perfect time to start planning for the upcoming year ahead. But nothing kills a buzz quite like reflecting on the past 12 months and realizing that the resolutions you previously set didn’t come to reality. Whether you fell short in your professional, personal or love life it’s crucial to determine what went wrong before you try to right your path for 2017.
Use the prompts below to take inventory of your personal year. Take any areas of disappointment as an opportunity to dive deeper into your inner thoughts and unveil your true priorities. You may be surprised at where you end up.
Identify the highs and then the lows:
Start by congratulating yourself on your victories. Never define yourself by your mistakes – even though it’s easy to let them overshadow the good. As an accomplishment junkie I’m all too guilty of letting the the things I didn’t do have more power over my emotions than the things I did do. Identify the good, then pinpoint the bad. Really get into the root of what made each milestone a high, a low, or any moment where you may have lost sight of what was important. Be specific, get into the details, and try not to be so hard on yourself!
Understanding your failures can be a negative experience, but in reality they’re our biggest chances to expand our happiness. Did you set a goal but didn’t put in enough effort to achieve it? Or did you truly put in the effort and still fell short? It’s important to come clean with why you’re not where you want to be. Maybe your goal turned out to be something that wasn’t that important to you. Or maybe you had unrealistic expectations as to just what it would take to come to fruition. These failures (maybe I should use air quotes, “failures”) are learning experiences to improve future goal setting. Find closure in these disappointments so you don’t carry them with you. You have to let something go to find the room to create something new.
Set the table:
Identify what is most important to you for the next year based on your findings from the above. I try to prioritize one goal for my personal, my professional and my health and fitness life. If your list gets too lengthy you may not be able to dedicate your full energy or focus to each item. There’s nothing less productive than a half baked goal so simplicity and specificity will be the key components here. Give yourself the time to prepare and commit to each goal, you won’t do anything until you’re truly ready for it.
Prepare for success and failure:
Set benchmarks for periodic points of self-evaluation to make sure you’re on track. Prepare yourself for both success and failure to maximize how you handle moving forward. If you’re on track – good for you! Continue to push and challenge yourself so you don’t coast or get too comfortable. If you’re not doing so hot, you can decide if that’s because you’re not putting in the right kind of effort or setting your expectations unrealistically. These check-ins are meant to help you so you’re not blindsided come December with a list of unmet goals. Be honest and truthful with yourself.
No matter what happened in 2016 give yourself a clean slate for all the possibilities 2017 has in store. It’s going to be a good year. I can feel it.
Cover image via The Hungry Goddess.