Most people tend to start making grand plans for the year ahead without really paying attention to the year that has passed. In some cases, they just want the current year to be over and done with as soon as possible because they’ve experienced some horrendous events that they’d rather forget.
Recently, I’ve seen at least a couple of business friends refer to 2018 as the worst year in their lives for a variety of reasons. They can’t wait to put it behind them and turn things around in 2019.
And it’s totally understandable that you may feel this way if you’ve had traumatic experiences like a relationship break-up, suffered from the loss of a loved one, severe financial losses, or a debilitating illness, to name but a few.
😞 I lost one of my grandmothers two days before we were due to fly to Bulgaria to see her.
😞 A month later, my aunt lost her years-long fight against cancer.
😞 Dealing with house decorators and house issues has been intense and seriously costly while taking attention away from growing my coaching practice.
😞 I haven’t hit my financial goal for the year.
😞 Our much-awaited flight to Sofia to visit friends before heading over to spend Christmas with the family last week was cancelled due to the ‘Gatwick drone chaos’.
I’m sure if I gave it some more thought, I could dig out a few other highly unpleasant or painful things that have happened this year.
Still, it’s rare that it was all doom and gloom, but thanks to evolution our brains have been wired to exaggerate the negative in our lives and make it last longer than anything positive that we experience. It was a vital survival mechanism for our ancestors to avoid injury or death. Nowadays, this negative bias isn’t serving us so well, as we tend to focus more on the negative and more quickly dismiss or forget the positive in our lives.
It’s not about denying the events or ignoring the effects that these negative events have had on our life… But it’s about accepting that they have happened and learning from them.
🙂 Losing my grandma and aunt were reminders of how precious life is and how you never know what’s around the corner, which is why I’m so passionate about supporting my clients to make the most of now.
🙂 Despite all the issues with dealing with the house decorators, overall our home is now in a much nicer state and we get to enjoy it while we live here before we start the next chapter of our life outside London.
🙂 While I didn’t hit my financial goal for the year, I still brought in the highest income since starting my coaching practice.
🙂 It’s been disappointing not to visit our friends in Sofia as planned, but in the end, we still got back just on time for Christmas Eve to spend the festivities with my family, even if our trip has been shortened.
My message here is about being more conscious and appreciative of the good in your life – however big or small it is.
You get more of what you focus on. So, by appreciating the positive in your life, you’re more likely to bring more of that in the new year.
This is why I recommend that you first reflect on the past year before you start looking ahead into the new year.
Looking back at 2018, ask yourself and note down the answers to the following questions. Think of what you are proud of personally and what matters to you, rather than how it may be perceived by others.
I’ve added a few of my own reflections, not to brag but simply to share some examples of my personal and business life and inspire you to come up with your own.
My Top 5 Achievements
Big or small, what am I most proud of?
Personal: I’m proud of the big decluttering we did in September. It wasn’t easy letting go of many things. While over the years I’ve done some decluttering, I’ve never done anything on such a significant scale. It made me feel lighter and gave me more headspace.
Business: It’s got to be: hitting my highest paid month in June.
5 Challenges I Overcame
What was tough? What did I conquer?
Personal: We had various tough house-related matters to deal with this year. Because of my bad experience from when I first renovated my house 10 years ago, I’ve been apprehensive ever since when it comes to dealing with tradespeople of any kind and often put things off. This year, I’m proud with how I (with the help of my husband) I dealt with all the house-related matters, being pragmatic, logical and managing the stressful and worrying situations pretty well despite my past horrific experience.
Business: Since embarking on my entrepreneurial journey, it’s been a steep learning curve and one of getting out of my comfort zone while constantly working on myself. This year hasn’t been any different. I’d like to think that I’ve made significant progress on ‘getting over myself’ this year, having worked a great deal on my mindset, especially around Impostor Syndrome – something I know plagues so many of us.
What Did I Learn about Myself?
Strengths, weaknesses, talents, beliefs, values, hopes, fears…
Personal: I never thought I’d do a marathon or a half marathon. I saw the 10K that I did last year as the maximum distance I’d ever run. In November, I signed up for The Big Half in March next year and I’ve started my training already. This will be a massive endurance test for me. One I’m embracing fully and using to take my business to the next level!
Business: To trust my instinct and believe in myself more. To stand behind what I believe in rather than allowing others to sway me their way.
What New or Existing Relationships Did I Develop?
Who did I grow relationships with?
Personal: Last August, one of my Bulgarian school friends came over to visit us with her husband and son. During the week we spent together, not only did we thoroughly enjoyed exploring London but we also got to learn more about each other’s lives and deepen our friendship.
Business: A couple of ladies that I considered business friends are now firmly in the friendship zone and I even get to see them more often than my older friends. Oops. 🙂 I never said you have to keep business and personal life separate. Of late, I’ve made some fantastic new connections on LinkedIn and I’m excited about what they will bring in the new year.
What Difference Did I Make?
To the world, helping others regardless of how big or small
Personal: When my grandma was in her last days (even though we didn’t know it at the time, we thought she was ill and she’d make it through with extra care), I was calling every day at least once or twice to check-in on her. On one of those days, my mum was concerned that grandma was refusing to eat or drink. I had a quiet word with her and encouraged her to eat to give her strength so that we get to see her. And she ate and drank more than we expected – bringing smiles all around.
Business: It’s tough choosing between the difference I’ve made for my clients because their stories are all so different. If I had to pick just one, then it would be working with a client who reduced his stress levels, improved his work-life balance, started leading a healthier lifestyle while he doubled his profit. Pretty awesome, huh!? 🙂
When Did I Have the Most Fun?
What was most enjoyable and/or memorable in 2018 for me?
Personal: Our adventures this year have been through the roof – from exploring the stunning Yucatan Peninsula, the powdery slopes of The Three Valleys to our seven mini escapades across different parts of London since I’ve embraced parkrun tourism.
Business: I’ve thoroughly enjoyed sharing my story, knowledge and insights on the physical and virtual stage. While it hasn’t been easy and before more or less every talk, webinar or interview, there’s been some form of self-sabotage, I’ve loved how what I share has changed people’s lives in small or big ways.
Finally, write a headline sentence that summarises your 2018.
For me: 2018 has been a year of adventure, challenges and change.
Over to you…
Spend a good half an hour or so going over reflecting on 2018 for you and noting down your observations.
I’d love to know what has come up for you as you’ve been answering the above questions reflecting on the past year. Comment below and share your favourite moment or insight with me.
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