Key Point: Between now and the end of the year is a great time to look back on 2014 and do a personal, “lessons learned” analysis. If we don’t do this with thoughtful and mindful intent, how will we really learn more about ourselves? And if we don’t “breathe in from the belly,” we are likely to transact and react to our buzzed schedule into the New Year without any meaningful, positive changes. Also, as part of building our PERSONAL EQUITY, it is important to invest in our self-awareness.
How to approach the New Year?
I’m currently reading Scott Eblin’s Overworked and Overwhelmed: The Mindfulness Alternative. If you want to give yourself or some one you care about an important read, this is a great choice. In a recent blog, Eblin comes up with a few short questions to help get us started on our 2014 personal review. Find a great place to reflect, and reserve a half hour or so to take some notes on Eblin’s coaching questions below:
“What went right this year? – There’s almost always something that’s going right. How can you acknowledge that, celebrate it and build on it? Make a list.
What am I proudest of, most grateful for or happiest about this year? Out of all the things you listed, which ones most warm your heart or charge your batteries? What steps did you take to help make those things happen? Get as specific as you can about actions you took, behaviors you exhibited or habits you set and followed through on. Connect the dots in reverse from the outcome back to the sequence of decisions and actions that eventually led to those outcomes. What patterns do you see that inform your goals and plans for 2015?
What changed this year? – Of course, there are lots of factors in our lives that we can’t control. List the big changes in your life this year that seemed to be more out of your control than in your control. That’s all of the extrinsic or external stuff that was going on around you. Once you have the list, we’ll move on to a more important question.
What was my response to the big changes? – Now we’re into the things you can control and that’s your response to all of the big changes that occurred this year. Focus in on three or four of the biggest changes and take an honest look at your internal or intrinsic response to them. Did you do happy dances and victory laps when good things happened? Did you freak out and throw a pity party when bad things happened? Did you stay more or less even in your response no matter what happened? If you graphed your range of responses or reactions would it look fairly steady or more like a seismograph during a big quake? No matter what the shape of your graph is, consider what impact your responses had on your actions and subsequent results this year. Does your pattern seem to be working for you or do you need to make some changes next year?
What did I start doing this year that I want to keep doing next year? – All of us human beings learn by doing. When you look back on the past 12 months, what have you started doing that seem like good things to continue doing in the coming year?
What habits or routines have I had this year that don’t serve me and my goals? – And, of course, you want to take a look at the flip side. What have you been doing this past year that, when you take a really objective look at it don’t serve you and your goals? Take a few notes on the most important things you want to do differently next year.
When you boil it all down, what do you have? –One last step for now. Mentally step back and take a look at everything you’ve written down. Look for the patterns and connections. When you boil it all down, what do you have? My guess is that you have a greater sense of clarity about what worked and what didn’t work as well in 2014”
- Eblin is encouraging self-reflection on these questions as a jumpstart to a more complete review process; what he calls Mindfulness Monday. It is scheduled for the last Monday of the year December 29th. Check out his blog, if you’d like to participate.
Less overworked and overwhelmed in The Triangle,
One Millennial View: One of the most commonly experienced, unspoken, unwelcome but ironically appreciated (I guess?) aspects of being a young professional is a concept I know as, the “Sunday Scaries.” Maybe you can relate… Every Sunday, the hours start to click by, and as the wondrous freedom of a weekend slips away, the realities of the coming week start creeping in. Mentally planning the week turns into a whirlwind tornado of thoughts bouncing between WORK, BILLS, ERRANDS, DEADLINES, RESPONSIBILITIES, ANOTHER WEEK WENT BY? WHAT HAPPENED? THAT HAPPENED? THAT DIDN’T HAPPEN? WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE? – And, now, you’ve arrived at the Sunday Scaries, a too true, semi-hilarious over-think that not even an NFL game can quiet down sometimes.
My point is, year end reviews can bring similar concerns… But if we actually take action, take those notes, make those lists, and actually formulate a plan instead of rocking back and forth on the couch, maybe 2015 will be a lot less scary. I’ll think about it on Sunday.
Edited and published by Garrett Rubis