I hope all of you had a wonderful time over Christmas and had a chance to spend some time with your family. I know I had a wonderful time filled with family. What a great time.
I would like to encourage you to take some time over the next couple of weeks to reflect, think, dream, and plan. The week between Christmas and New Year’s is an ideal time to do this. Take this opportunity to slow things down a little bit in your life. Be sure to take the time to spend time with the ones you love and care about. Take some time to talk to your family about goals and dreams you have for the next year. Use this time to recharge your batteries (not just watching TV the entire time.) Think about a handful of changes or additions you want for your life for the New Year.
I belive that you will find the art of reflecting, thinking, dreaming, and planning to be one of the most important exercises that you can do that will positively impact the next 12 months for you. Let me explain a little further what I mean by each one of these.
This is simply the exercise of remembering your past. Remember back to goals you accomplished, goals you didn’t accomplish. Remember positive as well as negative things that happened to you. Remember back to people who positively affected your life and those that had a negative effect on your life.
Thinking is similar to reflecting, but it is taking reflecting one step further. Thinking is actually analyzing those things from the past that you are reflecting about. Some people can reflect and think about the past year in their heads, but for others, it might be helpful to write out all the things you are reflecting and thinking about. Thinking about how the experiences you had over the past year were either a positive or negative effect on your life. Your ideal goal would be to maximize the number of experiences that have helped you grow as a person and minimize the experiences that did not.
I want to point out here that both positive and negative experiences can help you grow as a person so don’t jump to the conclusion that you should maximize your positive experiences and minimize your negative experiences. Some of the experiences that will help you grow the most are negative experiences you endure.
It is very important that you take the time to dream. Think about long-term things that you want to do with your life. Think back to dreams you had years ago. Are these still dreams of yours? If not, why not? Remember, there is no dream too big or too small. They say that dreams are what make life worth living and I believe there is some truth to that. Take the time to revisit your dreams and prioritize them. From big dreams, you can then create smaller goals that can bring you closer to accomplishing your dreams.
This is taking everything you did in the previous three steps and putting it into action. Based on everything you have done to this point, this is where you lay out the map for arriving at where you want to go. The plan includes the creation of goals and the practical things you will do to accomplish those goals. They can be new goals that you have never had before. This can also include old goals that you did not accomplish or only partially accomplished. You may want to consider refining these old unaccomplished goals into something that might be a little more realistic for you to accomplish. This is the step where the rubber meets the road.
There you have it. This little 4 step exercise can be huge in your development as a person so please make doing it a priority. The best way to do this is to commit yourself to set time aside in your schedule. Plan time to perform this into your schedule just like you would with meeting. If you don’t schedule it, you will find the business of life can and will get in the way.
So, let’s all take a moment to gather up the past year of victories and defeats, times of growing as well as times of stagnation, and use it to wipe a clean slate and thoughtfully design the next year the way we truly desire it to be.