I've been doing a lot of business and self-reflection as 2016 ended and the new year has begun. Like so many, the end of a year brings on waves of nostalgia, and I let myself look back. I have a bad habit of looking too far back, and then I start the negative self-talk of how I've not done enough or accomplished what I'd like to have at this place and time in life. I've been extra mindful of that bitchy negative chatter in my head, which for some reason shows up often when I get up in the middle of the night to take a pee. When critical ideas arrive in my brain then, I'm foggy and tired, so I tell that internal voice to fuck off and leave me alone and that I'm doing just fine and am right where I need to be. That mindful practice of listening for that inner critic has been so helpful in keeping me present and allows for letting nostalgia find a fond welcoming in my mind. After enjoying the memories of delightful of the fun I created in 2016 (summer of soccer!! Wembley, Camp Nou, Old Trafford, staying in Hotel Football in Manchester, watching Messi score a free kick!, watching United lift the Community Shield, watching Zlatan debut and score at Old Trafford, seeing DeGea in goal, and watching every game of my son's outdoor season. Geesh I need to get to more women's soccer this year - easier once I'm out of Alaska), I began looking at personal and professional goals and what I achieved last year. I use paper and pen at first to capture all my successes and struggles. Looking back can lead you to look at what didn't work for you, but don't dwell there. Give it an honest appraisal of what you can learn from it and how to make it happen this year, or explore what it would feel like to let it go. Here are the top 3 questions to ask yourself as you look back and evaluate where you're at. I hope it helps you with goal setting for this awesome new year.
1. What worked really well? Did you have a couple goals you were able to succeed at? Celebrate those - go juggle the ball, literally pat yourself on the back, or go have a square of dark chocolate. Shining the light on what worked well will put you in a positive state of mind and you'll feel better about setting new goals. After the celebration, dissect what worked and what actions you took to make it happen? Did you break a goal down into measurable smaller goals that were manageable and easier to accomplish? Did you focus on attracting what you want and let go of negativity and complaining? Did you create new routines which helped you focus on the goals?
2. Why didn't that work? What goals did you have last year that just didn't work out? It's hard to look at your failures, but it's necessary so you don't keep repeating the challenges. Learning from mistakes is one of the most fulfilling things in life. It can keep you from feeling like you wasted that time and that you did at least try. Did you put in the work? Did you need help but were afraid to ask? Sometimes we set goals but don't check in on them regularly to see if you're on track. Make them realistic and set reminders in your calendar to check in on them.
3. Did I have fun? Do you enjoy your career or educational pursuit? Do you have healthy relationships with people who make you smile? Are you exercising? Are you happy? Life throws a lot of challenges in front of us, but hopefully the majority of your time is spent in the present being fulfilled and working on things that satisfy you. If you're not having some enjoyment in life each and every day, it is time to look deeper at the goals you set for this year and see what you can let go of in your life. Sometimes just tweaking one or two things in your life can bring big changes. Watching and playing soccer is always fun - start by adding that to the top of your list and you'll have a great 2017!