As we approach the end of the year and plan for a new one to begin, most of us enter a phase of reflection. We assess the goals we set to achieve throughout the year. We look at the highs and lows we faced over the past months. We see the things we did do, what we never had a chance to do, and the things that happened organically that we never expected.
Hopefully, your end of year reflection is full of positives, even among the negatives.
As one year ends and another begins, I like to look at everything that happened as a whole. The good, the bad, and the ugly. You have to take it all in and look at everything from a high level. No one has a perfect year, 100% of the time. Even you.
Here are some ways to end the year on a high note, even if the year did not unravel as you had hoped it would:
1. Don’t beat yourself up.
You might have set ambitious goals for yourself at the start of the year that you now realize you’re not close to reaching as the year comes to a close. Hey, it’s okay! We can’t always reach every single goal we set for ourselves.
Assess why you didn’t reach your goal(s). Maybe you needed more time? If so, extend it as a resolution for next year! Maybe it was too ambitious? If yes, consider adjusting it to be a more realistic goal.
There’s no need to harp on yourself for failing at something. Failure does not define you. It’s part of life. Learn from it, grow from it, and move forward.
2. Adjust your expectations.
It’s probably safe to assume that most of us begin a new year with high expectations.
We think the year ahead is going to be full of amazing things like beefing up our savings accounts, traveling abroad, hitting a milestone at work, or reaching a new chapter in a relationship.
Sure, some of these things do happen in a given year. But, not everything good happens all at once.
Adjust your expectations to be more realistic. Learn the art of patience. Be okay with good things happening in small doses. Your year wasn’t perfect? Hey, things happen! Try to let go of what you cannot control. You’ll be much more satisfied in the long run.
3. Celebrate the highs and acknowledge the lows.
Take the necessary time for some self-care. It’s a really good thing to celebrate your highs from the year.
Maybe you graduated, landed a new/better job, welcomed a baby into the world, adopted a new pet, or quit a bad habit. Those are all amazing victories! Celebrate them! Take yourself out on a date, buy yourself something pretty, or do a little victory dance in your living room.
And if you didn’t achieve everything on your list this year, celebrating the highs will no doubt outweigh the things dragging you down. Acknowledge what did not work for you, make peace with it, and redirect your attention on the things that did happen.
Your glass is half full, my friend! Maybe even more than half full.
4. Develop a plan for next year.
As long as you live, there will always be a next year to do things differently. A new chapter. A new blank canvas to draw on.
Whatever metaphor works for you, own it and make it yours. Learn from this year and turn your disappointments into action items to take into the new year.
We don’t have to own the negatives or carry them with us any longer. If something doesn’t serve you, set it free. Vow to make next year better in whatever way(s) you can. Create a plan that is actionable and realistic. Even if you end up straying from it, it’s better to create a road map that you can aim for and hope for the best.
How do you put these tips into practice? Take notes on the pros and cons from the year. Reflect on everything that did happen.
Make actionable goals for the new year on the things that you did not follow through with. Set new goals and achieve them in the coming months. Life is a journey, not a checklist. You can’t do everything or be everything all at once. Take it day-by-day.
You’ll see the progress unfolding as time goes by. Trust me, your year was not as horrible as you think it was. End it on a high note!