December closes the year. Most of us reflect on what has passed. Those with children review academic, sporting and performance outcomes. Sounds just like your 9-5, right? Where December 31 is the last day to squeeze in sales to hit financial targets and the bonuses that flow from them.
When we review our year, do it with intention. Align the goals you started your year with to your outcomes. Not to beat yourself up if you did not make it in one area; rather to balance the numbers with reality.
This year has been really tough financially, in personal relationships, health and business. If I dwelt on how my results aligned to my projections, but left out the economic, political and personal well-being challenges; I would be on the way to seek help for depression and anxiety; not buoyant with expectation and optimism for the year ahead. Here are the steps I have followed to arrive at this outcome.
Although I commenced it in late November, the best time to do this is now: the moment you are aware of its benefits.
- Write out the things for which I am grateful
My list contains the people, the places and the events that make me smile as I type. My partner, yoga teachers, my neighbours, my clients, my mentors, professional service providers and joint venture partners. It is significant because the total list is well balanced, it is not all about travel or wine, laughter and excitement; it also contains the pure joys of daily life, sun, beach, water, dogs, times that impacted on my mental and physical well-being and small time financial successes. It has been a year I loathed; filled with learning and wisdom that I deeply appreciate.
- Do annual filing, planning, and tax management for the year.
When our desks, office or lives are cluttered, we are unable to relax, be calm and settled. Our brain notes the number of ‘open loops’, those things that we need to attend to, which or sub-conscious mind then tries to ‘file’ or sort into manageable tasks. Often the need to de-clutter is a direct result of a system or process failure that we have not corrected. Now is the time to attend close the loops and jot down how to ensure our desk is not a mess a week from today. Download your Clear the Decks System here >
Where you find the task overwhelming, it is time to follow a Clear the Desk System. If you like to hang onto things for when you may need them, your brain panics and sets up roadblocks to prevent you getting started. As a collector of anything that may be useful one day, I know how this feels.
My partner believes I should conduct my consulting business on a tablet. Everything else is excess, including 5 years of taxation records, mortgages on houses, wills and other legal documents. Our system is simple. He must not touch anything in my office without first piling it up for me to review. I know when a clean up is due, my PC desktop has so many icons on it that I have to remove my screen savers to see them.
Moving office this year forced me to carefully document everything I did to make a system that conquers the fear of loss; giving my brain permission to clean up all the excess stuff my work environment had accumulated. The sale of my office space meant repeating the clean up process 20 times in quick succession, at least twice per week. This must have worked well, as the sale was a success!
- The review starts here: the questions I ask myself.
Starting on my birthday in late November my mind knows I have a month to answer these questions, giving myself room to think, process and add or modify questions for future years. Use the questions below, or download and print them if you process better using pen and paper. Yes, I ask them in the third person!
What three things are you most proud of / grateful for this year?
Which event or situation challenged you the most / provided the biggest opportunity for growth or wisdom?
What did you notice about yourself this year that you have never noticed or spoken about before?
Where do you need to treat yourself more kindly?
How did you let your kids know you believe their efforts and dreams this year?
Where can you become more helpful for your partner?
What needs a more focused intention in your life?
What are 3 areas of unfinished business for the year?
What is one thing that, if you had done it this year with your team would have made a profound difference to your life/business/relationships/bank balance?
This is the pre-planning stage. Use December to get ready for your New Year’s plans.
You can download our client tool to Plan Your Year. Design Your Life >
This exercise prepares you for that.
I am already getting a sense of the key words and phrase/theme that I believe might shape my year. I am just giving myself enough time for me to think.
Create space and time – get up a bit earlier or take some time on the weekend to meditate, exercise and think.
Create your favourite ambiance: the smell of coffee or a favourite breakfast, get out into the fresh air to walk, swim, run, ride or your favourite outdoor pursuit.
Carry your notebook everywhere, even have it beside the bed. Write and you learn. Capture the thought.
Undertake random acts of kindness. Those people and events, groups and memories you were grateful for are a place of inspiration to get started. I have a simple rule, it should be free or cost less than $10. Kind words, a smile, card, email, text or meeting create joy and satisfaction.
Pray, dream, ask, seek. Be active in reviewing and you will see your reservoir fill quickly.
Now it is your turn; don’t miss the chance to review. Take time to look back as this is the foundation to spring forwards into the New Year.Tags: Mindfulness, success coaching, Time Management