Happy New Year!
I’ve always loved January, not only because its my birthday month – but also because its the ultimate fresh start. Everyone is turning a new page and starting the year off with a clean slate. Rainer Maria Rilke says it beautifully: “And now we welcome the New Year. Full of things that have never been.”
January is also an opportunity to reflect, gain awareness and strategize for the upcoming year. In this post – I’ll walk you through the “Year End Review” session I do with my coaching clients at this time of year. We take stock of what happened over the past year, the lessons we learned, the moments that changed us and what we want to see in the coming year.
Summary of 2017
I start off by asking my clients to create a two sentence summary that encapsulates the last year. How would you sum up those 365 days in just a few words? For me, 2017 was “Change across the board, which fostered growth and introspection. However, I struggled to maintain balance through periods of transition”. How would you summarize 2017 in two sentences? This question is harder than it seems!
Highlight of the Year
The next question I ask is, “What was the highlight of the year for you?” This is often a defining moment, a big success, or a turning point. Once you’ve identified what your highlight was, ask yourself why that particular moment the most stand out for you. What was it about that experience, or your reaction to it – left such a big impression?
Next, I like to start gathering evidence. Ask yourself what results you achieved in 2017. Did you start a business, go back to school, find a new passion, expand your social network? These are things that you would have set out to do – and then accomplished. It’s really important to write these items down. Seeing a physical list of everything you have accomplished is a huge confidence builder, and it will give you momentum to hit the new year at full speed. Look for patterns or connections that might exist. Was there a theme to your accomplishments in 2017?
Practice judgement free awareness while you start to explore what you set out to accomplish, but didn’t achieve in 2017. What were you hoping to do, that didn’t happen? Write down those thoughts and consider them as an opportunity to learn something about yourself and your behaviour instead of a representation of failure (for more on learning from failure check out this series). Why did you not achieving the result you wanted? Is there any pattern in behaviour that you notice when you look at your list? How is this different from what you see on your list of things you did accomplish?
Once you have spent some time looking at what you accomplished in 2017, and what was left unfinished – identify the three biggest lessons you learned in 2017. They could be about yourself (including fears, hopes, dreams or behaviour patterns) or about your environment (including your physical spaces, social or professional networks, social media etc). As we say goodbye to the old year, and welcome a new one – what do you know now that you didn’t a year ago?
Dream for 2018
Now that you have a great awareness of exactly what happened in 2017 (either happened or didn’t happen) take some time to strategize for 2018. What do you want to create in 2018? How will you do that? Who do you need to become on your journey to being capable of achieving your goal?
If you are looking for some inspiration, or clarity on what you can shoot for in 2018, be sure to check back on Thursday when I publish a list of Ultimate Outcomes to aim for This Year.
P.S. I have an amazing free course that will be launching February 2018… If you are perfectionist who struggles with goal setting, make sure you join my VIP Launch List for more details on how you can get an invite!