A new year is right around the corner and that usually means the setting of new goals and/or resolutions for many people. I believe it’s important to have a vision for your life and I’ll be sharing helpful tips on how to set goals that lead to success over the next few weeks. However, there’s still a few days left in this calendar year so, before we start focusing on next year, I’m going to invite you to join me in taking a moment to look back at 2016.
Before you get nervous about my invitation, please understand that I’m not suggesting you look back at 2016 for the purpose of picking apart what went wrong or to beat yourself up about what wasn’t accomplished last year. I’m suggesting that we all take a moment to pause and reflect on what went well and what WAS accomplished in the past year. Where are areas that you saw success? Did you take that vacation you always wanted to go on or get that new job? Did you pick one healthy habit and stick to it most of the year? When you look back, you may be surprised at how many things you accomplished in 2016 that you are not giving yourself credit for.
As I write this, I am nursing our seventeen year old dog who has been battling cancer for over eight months. A few weeks ago she became seriously ill and needed to be hospitalized. When we picked her up from the animal hospital we left with supportive medication to make her comfortable, a tearful goodbye, and the instructions to simply take things day by day. For someone that is a big planner taking life day by day is generally not normal for me.
While it’s not exactly how I envisioned spending our holiday season, taking care of her has allowed me to be more still during what is normally a busy time of year for us. I’ve spent less time focusing on material things and more time spending precious time with my family around our Christmas tree. Sometimes you get what you need in unexpected ways.
This year has been full of highs, lows, and everything in between for our household. Basically, life happened. So, as mid-December rolled around, I found myself joining the ranks of society that is eager for the year to end and a “fresh” new year to begin. While I wasn’t quite at the point of “I can’t wait for this year to be over,” I was certainly saying “I’m looking forward to 2017.” And then it dawned on me. I was already revving up for 2017 and wasn’t living in the present. I was “enduring” rather than “living” and I realized that was not how I wanted to remember this time. That’s when I believe I received a nudge from God to pause and reflect on all of the good things that have happened this year, all of the goals that WERE met, and all of the surprise blessings.
While it’s true that we should keep our eyes on the road ahead of us and avoid coasting on our past successes, reminding yourself of the the things you’ve done right or the battles you have won in the past will help give you the strength you need to carry on while tackling the goals you’ve set for the new year. And, understanding your strengths helps you set realistic goals based on your own personal gifts and the desire of YOUR heart, NOT what society says you “should” want for yourself. I’ve yet to see a “list of shoulds” be a powerful motivator for anyone, myself included.
Before the clock strikes twelve on December 31st, I encourage you to take out a piece of paper or your journal and make a list of all of the goals you’ve accomplished, the things that went well for you, the blessings you received this past year, and anything else positive you can come up with. I promise you you’ll be glad you did.
Taking time out to reflect on your accomplishments will empower you to move forward because focusing on what you CAN do is always more powerful than focusing on what you can’t do.
Here’s to a healthy and very happy new year!
Shared with love,