Six Questions To Make the Most of Your Year-End
As 2016 comes to a close and year-end conversations with clients are a focus, it seems this has been a tough year for many. You’ve likely had your share of struggles and challenges, too. That said, I bet you’ve also had some incredible, inspiring and truly wonderful experiences as well.
While it’s tempting to want to fast forward our focus into the new year — and the new opportunities and goals that come with it — don’t underestimate the power of a little reflection and release first. I’m willing to bet there is wisdom to be gained from the past twelve months, if you’re willing to look. And scientists, sages and counselors alike speak to the value of letting go of the old in order to make room to bring in the new.
For most of us, there are usually a few important — yet unrecognized or uncelebrated — milestones or accomplishments in any given year. Several clients are celebrating the launch of a new website for their business or getting some real clarity on their vision, brand or message. One is getting real traction in a service line just launched a few months ago. Another finally hired the right person for a position they’d been struggling to fill. Yet another is celebrating signing up for a grocery delivery service that is saving her an hour or two every week.
And yes, along with the accomplishments, there are probably some tough lessons you’d be wise to take note of so as not to repeat. Perhaps there’s also an old story or some emotional weight that won’t serve you or your vision and goals if it’s carried forward into the new year – and so is ready to be released.
There is science behind the value of letting go of the old in order to make room to bring in the new – with more ease and clarity. All sorts of studies indicate that negative thoughts, feelings, words and behaviors affect our mental and physical health, our success, even our self-worth. And it’s not about putting a band-aid over things to just think positively, that doesn’t work, at least not for long. If you’re looking for long-term results, the process is about taking an intentional look at what’s not working, releasing what can be released and in so doing, making room for the new… room for more positive beliefs and behaviors that support your new actions and goals.
It’s difficult to create different outcomes and results when we hold onto old stories, emotional issues or other limiting beliefs that have outgrown their usefulness. Whether in our conscious awareness or, more often, our subconscious, it’s important to begin to unearth them. When we challenge those beliefs that are no longer serving us, we can create enough space from them to invite in new beliefs – and new results.
Your Year-End Review
The following questions will guide you through all of the above. And while many year-end rituals seem complex and time-consuming, you can do this one in 15 minutes or less (or you can give yourself the luxury of a longer reflection). Whichever suits you, I encourage you to try this simple yet profound exercise to create space and perspective before you set big new goals or resolutions for the next twelve months.
Take a few moments to acknowledge and release the old so that you create space to fully embrace the new – new possibilities, new experiences, new learnings and new growth.
These six simple questions help me clear the mental and emotional clutter from the past year so that I can look more clearly and honestly at what my priorities are – on all fronts – over the coming year.
- What were the most significant events of the past year? List 2 or 3 you most want to remember, acknowledge or appreciate.
- What’s one thing you accomplished this year that you’re truly proud of?
- What’s one mistake you made — and what lesson did you learn from it?
- What did you complete or let go of this year – and what still feels incomplete?
- What’s one limiting belief or old story that you’re ready to let go of before the new year? Feel free to list more things you’re willing to release – and remember to have gratitude for what they’ve brought you in terms of learnings and usefulness.
- What’s one realization or insight you gained from this exercise?
Treat yourself to a few quiet moments to reflect upon what you did, how you felt, what you liked and didn’t like, what you learned. You may find it helpful to write out your thoughts and feelings in a journal – or to talk this through with a trusted friend, colleague or your partner. Personally, I keep a version of the Bullet Journal which provides a great way to review the year. You might flip through your own appointment calendar or review the pages of your journal as you consider these questions.
An important part of preparing for a new year is to review the past, reflect on it, release what needs to be released and intentionally create space for the new. In order to fully embrace the new, we must release the old that is no longer serving.
Once you’ve completed your year in review, you can look ahead more clearly – now with room for the new that you’re inviting in. And even better, once you’ve really acknowledged your lessons and accomplishments, you’ll have created the mental and emotional space to truly enjoy your holiday festivities. Now that’s something to celebrate!
If you enjoyed this post and want support in moving past old limits to get clear on what’s most important to you in the coming year, contact me directly to see if you qualify for a complimentary strategy session.
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