As 2014 draws to a close, many of us are reflecting on where we have been and thinking about where we are going. In this frame of mind, let me offer you some thoughts to intentionally close out this year.
First, I suggest you do something many of us just don’t do very often — take a few minutes to congratulate yourself. In closing down a goal, an outcome, a day, week or year, there are certain elements that will allow you to let go and move forward. One of them is acknowledgement. Many people do not acknowledge themselves unless they do something they find to be spectacular. Most people set the bar pretty high for themselves and won’t congratulate themselves unless they reach or exceed it. I am recommending you look back over your year and congratulate yourself for anything and everything. Congratulate yourself for showing up, for giving it your all, for risking, for failing, for not giving up, for having courage. See how it feels. Write it down; make a list of everything you are even mildly proud of. Start writing and don’t stop until you feel complete.
Once you have acknowledged all your accomplishments, think about what you learned this year. What were the lessons – what did you learn? What do you want to repeat (and not repeat) in the new year? Make a list of the learning.
One way to capture your learning, and the things you want to acknowledge yourself for, is to take out a piece of paper and divide it into 12 sections, one representing every month of the year. When you chunk it down like this, it will be easier to remember what you did throughout the year. Or go back through your calendar and see what was going on at different times during the year. Or remember the main events and milestones of the year. Or just sit down, close your eyes and look back over the year in your mind.
Finally, after you acknowledge yourself and capture your learning from 2014, it is time to celebrate! Find a way to consciously celebrate your victories and your learning from 2014. You may already have some sort of celebratory plan for Wednesday night. But make it a conscious celebration of you, what you have done, where you have been, who you have affected, etc. Celebrate consciously. Then, we will close the book on 2014. And move forward.