I still have yet to come to terms with celebrating Christmas in beautiful weather and stunning sun – it’s definitely a bit different to my childhood experiences!
Personally I love this time of year…
Family, friends, love and connection. Having free time devoted to just being with family and friends and making the most of the moment is special. As an expression of this, I really love giving gifts and expressing gratitude. Often it is only a tiny, insignificant demonstration of what I feel… it is nice to give that energy out to the world.
Taking stock and looking forward. The symbolic meaning of Christmas.. as the (re-)birth of the hero in the depths of darkness talks to me a lot – and it strikes me as the perfect time to take a few hours alone or with someone I trust to look back, review and then look forward.
This post will outline how I approach this yearly review process – it’s not exactly comprehensive, but these are the questions that I ask and the notes that I make.
Running through this process has become a ritual now – for the last 5 years, I have devoted perhaps 6-hours every Christmas-week to journalling, reflection and projection.
Questions to Take Stock…
What am I most proud of in the last year?
What new dream did you achieve in the last year?
Who did you meet and how did they shape you?
What skills and experiences are you proud to have honed?
Questions to Guide What’s Next…
Where do you feel you let yourself down, or let fear take control?
What would you have done differently?
What did you do last year that had you feeling excited, and how can you take it to the next level?
What 6-12 bucket-list experiences do you want next year?
Taking the time to flesh out full answers to these questions, and letting the unconscious run with any answers is a formational time for transforming your life. With all the people I have talked to who have done remarkable things, they always bring up a time usually 3 years ago where they sat down and wrote down what they wanted their life to be 3-5 years later. They set concrete, objective goals in health, happiness, wealth, relationships, business, whatever. Then by asking, the Universe and the Unconscious adjusts and provides.
It reminds me of this Napoleon Hill quote…
“A goal is a dream with a deadline.”
Now whether this is synchronicity or ‘the secret’ or any other theory isn’t important. Defining what is coming up next sets the standard for evaluation – and given enough leg in the game, adjustment towards the goal will take place!
Personally I believe that most New Years’ Resolutions do not trigger real sustainable change is because they are too fluffily defined – “This year I will be healthier” is a really ineffective resolution — what does it mean, how will you know, how can you track progress, when is the deadline, and what is the emotional motivation behind it?
As a ridiculous comparison – I’m going skydiving next year. It’s a goal and maybe not a resolution, but principles cross-over. In the process of realising this bucket-list item… I had to become someone who goes skydiving – I had to ‘put in the work’ of finding a provider, of scheduling, and of paying. So, I’ve already paid and put it in the calendar.
In this example, the leverage for me to fulfil this goal is that I’d lose my money. I’ve acknowledged this and understand it – because my money is with the provider! It is a silly example – but with our person wanting to be healthier… they could ask themselves:
How am I tracking this – is it how I look, my body-fat percent, how I feel, my posture?
When will I evaluate this – all of the above really should be monitored at most monthly – but also there need to be harsh deadlines. So…
How can I leverage emotion to create a reason why? Like, if Sally’s wedding was in 6 months, her food and movement priorities will reflect this – looking killer in her dress is a huge emotional pull towards healthy choices.
A fun alternative to this is making a deal with a friend. So let’s say John wanted to lose 10kg by June 2018 for a holiday… John can give his trusted coworker Steve $500 with the agreement that if he is not 10kg lighter by 1/6/2018, that $500 is donated to a charity or organisation that John despises – maybe the Australian Nazi Party. If he does achieve his goal, it gets returned to his holiday fund.
The most important question that I ask myself every day is possibly “what is the smallest possible step I can take towards my goal?” Ask this question, answer it, then do it!
Let the mind run wild and feel the excitement of achieving some long-held bucket-list goal or correcting something that was off for 2017. Taking out-of-focus plans and making them clear is a key step in having a magical year.
Making 2018 the best year so far is in your hands.