Sa-yo-na-ra 2023! How did this year treat you? What did you learn? About yourself, others, about life?
Each December ends with the same ritual. We exchange best wishes and then we go on to the new year and then what? Same old “New Year’s resolutions” and rinse and repeat?
I would like to propose something different this year – not only doing the usual inventory thingy, but also leaving the year with a plan to do better, whatever this means to you.
So in honor of 2023, here is a list of 4 items that I wouldn’t leave the year without closing.
Pen to paper, decent time set aside, let’s close the loop on the lessons learned, your growth, personal and professional, and what you want to do differently going forward.
Some guided questions to kick off the process:
- What am I most proud of?
- What were my biggest accomplishments? why?
- Where could I have done better? what did I learn from it?
- Who do I want to be going forward?
Now time to go back and tweak your not-to-do list (did you forget about it like I did?).
Finally, let’s also make a quick check of where you stand with a refreshed fear/courage checklist.
- What do you apprehend most?
- What have you done so far to get over it?
- What worked?
- What didn’t?
- What is this fear costing you?
Can you see how far you’ve come this year? This first step before the goodbye is to have you acknowledge and celebrate yourself and your achievements. This year probably challenged you in many ways, but it is also good to remind yourself that you gained experience, new skills, approached mastery in some domains, and more…
New Foundation: making space
Somewhere in your inventory, you will likely notice a pattern of something that leaves you feeling depleted, worn out, or frustrated beyond repair.
What have you been dragging on for so long? Is it a relationship, a habit, or a job that you know is way past its expiration date? yet you have promised yourself to deal with it “later” and guess what, it’s still here?
Making new space is not necessarily about breaking up right here right now, but about starting the process of acknowledging that what you have been entertaining is suffocating your joy and motivation.
- How would you like this relationship (including with your job) to evolve?
- What new skills would you like to acquire (and how can you make new space to learn those)?
- What old habits need to change?
And the depletion could be focusing too much time and energy and effort on any of the above, or trying to fix, avoiding and feeling bad about it… any habit that is not helping you build a better future for yourself should be left in 2023….
Renewed vows: re-commit to yourself
Inventory + new space = self-awareness of where you stand + refocused attention.
Because what you are looking for now, is to re-committ to yourself, your goals and values. With life going fast and furious, it’s easy to forget what we stand for.
So how do you do that?
Go back to your basics. Review your values, they may have changed as you have grown and evolved.
- What is a priority right now for you?
- Finding a new job? Stepping up to get promoted? Improving your leadership skills?
Make a plan, it doesn’t need to be rigid, but it should outline the what/what/where/who/when. Instaure a form of discipline and consistency while staying flexible.
And here is the thing: old habits can be notoriously difficult to change, and if you are finding yourself resisting the change and it’s costing you your peace doing so, you can still minimize their impact as you introduce and maintain new ones. Start small, pick a low-effort new habit, and work your way to bigger and better.
Accelerate your path: redefine success and identity
And so now that you have reached a new level of clarity and renewed purpose, it is a good time to redefine what success means to you and by extension, how you define your sense of self.
Take a few moments for these questions:
- How do you define success?
- What does it look like?
- How do you measure it?
- How would it make you feel to have all of the above?
- Why is it important for you?
Look for all the ways you are already accomplished and make a mental note to notice more of it every day. Some days success may look like making it to the end of the day, another would be going through a difficult conversation with kindness, another is landing a promotion. Big or small, victories should be noted and celebrated. And become part of a bigger discussion that is how you define your identity.
Your definition is likely influenced by your life events, your achievements, your values and how you want to make an impact. It can also set the direction you want to take for your future.
- How do you want to be going forward?
- What do you want to be known for?
- What kind of impact do you want to have?
Do not leave 2023 without a dose of closure and know thyself better!
To 2024, for more growth and wisdom (we all need more of it!).