As the end of the year – dare I say decade – fast approaches, some of us are already looking forward, thinking about New Year’s goals and plans. Others are aimlessly dwelling on anything and everything they set out, yet failed to achieve.
Whether your year was filled with celebration, was the worst year of your life or somewhere in between, I think we can all agree there’s a collective sigh that 2019 is coming to an end. It’s been a big year. It’s been a big decade.
The way you think about 2019 can affect how you welcome in the new decade.
With only weeks remaining in December, now is the time to prepare for what’s ahead. Below are three key areas of focus to finish strong and set yourself up for success.
It’s important to reflect on the year that’s been. As you review the events – both good and bad – take the time to give them the grace and space they deserve. Try to avoid rehashing the same things over and over, dwelling on what you wish was different. Reflection is a tool to gain insight into yourself and help you move forward.
A few tips on how to reflect well:
- Be honest with yourself
All self-reflection begins with honesty so be entirely honest with yourself about how things are going and how you’re behaving.
- Challenge your assumptions about yourself (both positive and negative)
Ask yourself probing questions like, why do I think this about myself? What evidence do I have to support this or under what circumstances is it true?
- Articulate your core values
Take time to consider what’s most important to you so you can better evaluate whether or not you’re living those values.
- Identify behavioural patterns
Behavioural patterns, otherwise known as habits, are our brain’s way of increasing efficiency. Some of them are helpful and others are not, so take the time to identify what patterns you want to keep and what you want to change.
Create goals for next year
Once you’ve spent time reflecting on this year, look to the future. Planning can help you feel prepared and equipped for what’s ahead.
- Identify the skills you’d like to sharpen
Whether you want to finally sign up for group Volleyball or become a better listener, spend time thinking about the skills – both personal and professional – you’d like to get better at.
- Acknowledge the habits you’d like to change
Consider if there’s a habit you’d like to give up or one you might want to pick up. Read more about how to change your habits here.
- Write down a short-term goal
Big yearly goals can be overwhelming – so aim for something you can do in 30 – 60 days. Creating monthly goals can help a big task become manageable.
Increase your mental strength
Building mental strength is similar to building physical strength in that small things done consistently steadily make the biggest change. Sometimes it only takes a few quick exercises to help build more mental muscle. Below are three quick exercises you can start working on now to build some strength before the end of the year.
- Practice gratitude
Whether you write it in a journal or share it with someone else, make gratitude a daily habit by intentionally identifying three things in your life you’re grateful for.
- Perform random acts of kindness
Positive action is a key component of mental strength; it helps you see you have the power to positively impact someone else’s life. Christmas is a great time to start.
- Speak to yourself with compassion
Your inner dialogue can build you up or tear you down. Practice speaking to yourself with compassion to develop a powerful dialogue that will enable you to become your best.
Although set with the best intentions, unfortunately, most New Year resolutions don’t last. These strategies will help you commit to grow stronger and be on your way towards making 2020 your best year yet.