An ending is a time for reflection, and the end of the year is no exception. I don’t much like to look backward, but the year-end is a natural time to do it.
No looking backward
I don’t like to look backward because the past is done. If it didn’t go well, there’s nothing I can do to change it. If it did, well, that’s great, but you can’t live in the past. But if you’re going to look back, the end of the year is the time to do it.
I also don’t like to make resolutions. “I resolve …” has a negative connotation. More often than not, the sentence continues, “… to not eat sugar.” Or “ … to work out every day.” But, really, how realistic is that? I don’t believe in absolutes – I believe in moderation. Everything is a possibility in moderation. Chocolate? Definitely. Financial stability? Working on it. A little bit at a time, and everything will get done.
But an ending is a time for reflection. Take a look back. Look at the good, the lessons learned, the things we wish we’d done differently.
And if there’s an ending, it follows that a beginning follows. I like the idea of a fresh start. Clean slate.
Be smart and plan
But to ensure that my year starts the way I want it to, I have to be smart and plan for what I want to achieve. So I start with a brain dump. This can take me a while, because I have many, many thoughts flitting around my brain. They’re the ones that keep me up at night. Get everything I have to do, want to do, or think I might need to do, down on paper. I find that actual paper and pen (or pencil) is most useful for this exercise. Sometimes taking a walk around the house can spark a reminder. There are no filters with this – get everything down so there are no stray thoughts in your brain. Now I classify everything. Business-related, personal, dogs, or anything else. Colored highlighters are helpful with this.
Now for every classification, prioritize. Things that are urgent, necessary at some point, and the “It would be nice” priorities.
Look at the big picture
Take a couple of days for this. Make sure you take into consideration the things that you really want to accomplish in the coming year, or quarter, or month. Because you can do this exercise whenever you need to. Any given Wednesday is fine, or at the end of a semester, or the start of a week. It could be that you decide to take a different route in your business or things happen in your life that change your direction. No matter – you’re not tied to a specific date.
An endings is a time for reflection, and a time to look forward.