Many of us start off the new year by setting intentions or new year’s resolutions, but we don’t actually take the time to reflect on the year that has just passed. And my goodness, there are SO MANY important milestones, wins, lessons and mistakes to learn from if we simply take the time to look back. It can be tempting to want to forget about the year and fast-forward into the fresh, new vibes of the year to come (especially as I’m writing this at the end of the wild and completely whacky year of 2020).
But wait! If you don’t take the time to reflect on where you’ve been, how are you going to know where you’re going?
How are you going to set clear intentions if you haven’t taken stock of what worked well for you and what didn’t?
As Albert Einstein famously said: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” And I know you’re not insane! Maybe a little crazy sometimes (my hand is raised here!), but insane is a little much ;)
So how are you going to walk into the new year knowing what needs to change, in order to get different results, without sitting down to think about it?
The Power of a Writing Ritual
“When you write down your ideas, you automatically focus your full attention on them. Few, if any of us, can write one thought and think another at the same time. Thus a pencil and paper make excellent concentration tools.”
Did you know writing things down actually activates your brain in specific and powerful ways? When you take the time to write something down, it activates a part of your brain that helps engrain it into memory so you're more likely to remember it, and act on it!
Awesome. We definitely want that.
But the coolest part is in order to write something down physically on a piece of paper (or a google doc), your brain needs to process it… so writing something down actually forces your brain to reflect and process in ways that simply thinking about something doesn’t do (1).
There's a certain kind of magic that happens when we actually sit our butts down and put pen to paper.
We Undervalue Our Accomplishments and Don't Learn From Our Mistakes
This is what tends to happen if we don't have a look at what's gone down in the last 12 months. We tend to be super hard on ourselves! We feel like we didn't get enough done, didn't accomplish all our goals and are falling behind. We basically feel like we've been running a marathon and the finish line is nowhere in sight. My friend, this is no way to start off the new year! If we aren't mindful about celebrating what we're proud of and how far we've ACTUALLY come since the clock struck midnight last year, then we'll start the new year feeling behind from day one. This will never do if you want to create a positive tone for the year to come.
Learning from our mistakes is what makes us evolve and grow into better versions of ourselves. If we don't take the time to look back and identify what didn't work so well for us, then we have no opportunity to make a different choice next time. We all make mistakes! Welcome to planet earth, dear human. And I believe those mistakes are there as opportunities for us to learn valuable lessons in how to become better parents, entrepreneurs, friends...whatever area of life it may be.
Taking an honest look at what has transpired in your life this last year (the good, the bad and the ugly) is what will set you up to start the new year with your best foot forward. Which brings me to the questions!
3 Powerful Questions to Answer to Set You Up For An Awesome Year
All the credit here goes to the talented, powerhouse entrepreneur Marie Forleo. If you don’t know who she is, she’s a successful business woman, host of Marie TV, author of multiple books including Everything Is Figureoutable and has basically dedicated her life to spreading good vibes all over the world (I’m a big fan!).
Ever since I heard about this practice, I do it EVERY year, because it’s just that good.
Without further adieu, here are the 3 Questions:
1. What’s one thing you did that you’re proud of?
2. What’s one mistake you made and the lesson you learned?
3. What’s one thing you’re ready to let go of right now?
(this could be a limiting story you have about yourself, a part of your business that feels soul sucking, a relationship that isn’t working anymore, a habit)
To kick this practice into high gear and get the most benefits, I highly recommend watching Marie’s 8 minute video HERE to hear her funny and helpful spin on how to approach these questions.
So go ahead and carve out 30 minutes, grab your favorite drink (kombucha, coffee, herbal tea, whatever suits your fancy), your trusty notebook and pen and get ready for the magic to begin. You’re going to discover things about the last 12 months you didn’t even realize were there, PROMISE!
Once you answer these questions, your mind and heart will be clear on what it is you're taking with you and what you're leaving at the door. THEN, and ONLY then, will any New Year's intention you write be aligned and centered with what's true for you.
1) Successful by design: http://www.successfulbydesign.com/writing-things-down-2/
2) Marie Forleo: https://www.marieforleo.com/2016/12/year-in-review/