Was it a good year for you, 2019?
I recently spoke with a coaching client whom I’ve worked with for a couple of years. She lamented about what a challenging year it was for her. She didn’t feel like she accomplished much. The same week I spoke with a friend who said the same thing. “I’m so happy to see 2019 go.” It might be tempting to see similarities in my year. I’m wondering if this is true for more people than are letting on. The “economy” seems to be moving along. People are employed. There is a shortage of workers in some industries. But was it a good year?
When we go through more challenging times personally or business-wise, it is easy to focus on the feelings that emulated from the struggle. Sometimes it just feels like slogging through ankle-deep mud. Now that we are at the end and setting our sights on the new year, it is useful to look back at the positive accomplishments of the year rather than focus on how hard it was.
My client looked back over the year and thought how tough it was. She categorically stated that her year was awful, and she was so excited about 2020. I said, wait a minute! Let’s take a look at all the accomplishments of your year first. I listed them off. She was so focused on the struggle of a divorce and money issues surrounding it that she had minimized all the triumphs she experienced.
I started to do the same thing but stopped to think back on all the ‘wins’ I had. The wins were significant. When I think about 2019 now, my experience is different. Yes, there were struggles. But of what were those struggles born? In my case, those struggles came out of perceptions of what I EXPECTED.
When we hit the ground running each year in January, we have high expectations that THIS IS GOING TO BE A BANNER YEAR! When it isn’t, we get discouraged, not because it is bad but because what is happening is not meeting our expectations!
When we have a great year, then we expect it to continue. When we have a challenging year, we are so happy to see it go and start the new year with fresh expectations. New years bring with them a whole new set of circumstances, some of which you have no control over and are unexpected. Sometimes these do affect our businesses. Our attention and energy get divided. Rather than fighting to maintain your expectations, adjust your goals fo fit the new circumstances. See adverse events as positive and keeps you in the flow.
How many times to you take a trip that seems challenging and then look back and think it wasn’t so bad after all? When we give ourselves time to reflect, we can pick out the definite wins of something and minimize those not-so-optimum events. We allow ourselves to go into the new year with a sense of gratitude and trust that if we got through what we got through and still had some good things happen, that this coming year is full of possibilities that the challenges of the previous year helped set in place. Look at not-so-positive events as feedback rather than failure. If you connect them to a broader framework, they will help you get what you want.
Every year we face a world of new possibilities and opportunities. Our perception at the moment makes a significant difference in our understanding of the new year.
If you are manically excited about the new year because this one was difficult, you may open yourself up to disappointment.
First, look back and appreciate what you learned this year, then set your goals for next year, feeling grounded in your abilities to do well in any circumstance.
Steps to have had a great 2019 and optimum 2020
- List all of your accomplishments in 2019. Make them big inside your mind.
- Learn from any problems in 2019 and consider the feedback they provided. Minimize all of the issues. Put them behind you.
- Set your goals for 2020. Make big bright moving pictures with sound and feelings
- Take one day at a time. Compare events to help you learn and grow rather than compare them to what you think they ought to be.
- Have fun!