I have a confession to make that may take you by surprise since I advocate for setting goals and constantly pursuing personal growth- I hate New Year’s Resolutions. I’ve never believed in them because I’ve rarely seen these efforts yield results other than leaving people feeling inadequate and further behind when they don’t achieve the outcomes they were hoping for. Personally, I prefer to create smaller habits and then build upon them once I'm consistent in the new behavior and ready for the next challenge. But before we can talk about setting goals in 2019, I think too often we set ourselves up for failure by jumping right to what we want to accomplish and failing to reflect on where we've been.
While this is certainly a busy time of year, it's also a perfect opportunity to take a few minutes to yourself to look over the past 12 months before jumping into setting life-changing resolutions! Put down the Christmas cards, wrapping paper, and shopping lists for 10 minutes. Set a timer, put down your phone, and go somewhere quiet where you can think undisturbed. Don't believe it's possible to get away from your kids asking you when Santa is coming over and over again? Try just 5 minutes. Whatever time you can take, give yourself permission and sit quietly with these simple questions:
What have you created that didn't exist at this time last year? When were you scared but pushed through the fear and took action anyway? What new habits do you have that you weren't practicing in 2017? What did you learn through all these experiences?
I do my best thinking when I can write on an old-fashioned piece of paper, so I created this simple printable template you can carry around with you and jot down notes as you think of answers to these questions.
One of my strongest beliefs is that in a society where everyone has ideas and opinions, the people who set themselves apart are those who take action. Give yourself credit for what you brought to life this year. Whether it was a new product you helped launch for work, a revised resume, or trip you've always wanted to take but actually put on the calendar, take a moment to assess what you accomplished. Even if this year wasn't what you'd hoped it would be, taking action is fully within your control and I hope you'll celebrate even the small victories you achieved in pushing yourself to keep going despite the challenges.
Like this topic? Here are some great articles that dive into the issue on a deeper level:
How to Reflect On Your Year in an Actually Useful Way
Reflection, Resolution, and Reinvention in the New Year
A Visual Plan for Setting New Year's Resolutions