Make room for 2017: Reflect back to move forward

As you get closer to the end of 2016 and look ahead to 2017, make sure to take some time to reflect on the past year before you move on.

Times Square New Year's Eve Ball Drop, 2013. (Image via Wikipedia entry on this topic, CC 2.0)

WASHINGTON, December 20, 2016 – As you get closer to the end of 2016 and look ahead to 2017, make sure to take some time to reflect on the past year. We live in a society that is all about setting a personal or business goal, accomplishing that goal, and—when we succeed—moving to the next goal. So set that goal, accomplish that goal, and then move right on to the next goal. Chase, conquer, move on. Chase, conquer, move on. You get the picture!

But first: Stop! Take time to reflect on what you have already accomplished this year. Internalize your successes and learn from your failures. If you don’t first take the time to appreciate your successes and pat yourself on the back, you won’t be able to emotionally fill yourself. Do not let your already-accomplished goals merely become another item that you check off your list. Take the time to think about whether you’ve allowed those accomplishments to have the meaning and value of what they truly merit.

For example, imagine a water faucet. When you turn the faucet on, water comes out. When you turn it off, although you don’t see the water anymore, you know it’s in still in there waiting for the next turn of the faucet. Your accomplishments are that stored water that fills your emotional “bucket” which stands in reserve. When you reflect on your accomplishments, you are filling yourself with good experiences and memories you have made.

Similarly, when you take the time to reflect on your failures, however big or small they were, that gives you the opportunity to learn from those mistakes so you don’t end up repeating them in 2017. Learn from them now. In the process, allow the negative or nonproductive thoughts and experiences to trickle out.

This reflective process is important both logically and emotionally. When your accomplishment bucket is full, you are more confident, secure, and calm. When your bucket is empty, there are no positive or productive thoughts inside. If you find yourself in this situation, you can easily become stressed, negative, or sad. Life becomes more challenging, and may not feel successful—a negative sense that can build.

Another metaphorical example for the necessary reflective process are the simple acts of filling the fuel tank or recharging the battery of your car. Whether you’re your car, your computer or you, nothing runs on empty. We fill our tanks with gas or charge our car batteries in order to pull out and move ahead. If we don’t keep that fuel tank filled or that battery fully charged, we find we are stuck in one place. If you develop a productive mindset, your tank doesn’t end up empty. You know there is gas in the tank without having to check your indicators all the time. Reflection allows you to keep your mental tank filled, ensuring it doesn’t empty out so you don’t burn out.

Here are a few reflective tips to help you fill yourself emotionally:

Assess Your Core Values

Your values and beliefs shape every aspect of your life. Reflect on your core values to get a better sense of who you are as a person. Ask yourself: What is my most important trait or characteristic? What motivates me?

Tip: If you’re not sure what your core values are, think how someone close to you would describe you.

Stop “Doing” and “Be”

Action steps are great, but we can’t always be about action and doing. Take the time to reflect before you act.

Technology Prohibited

I know this can be a challenge. Set aside some time and keep all technology (cellphone, iPad, computer, television) away from you so you can decompress. Choose a quiet place and look back on the year and learn from it. When you deepen your knowledge you automatically move forward in a more satisfying, fulfilling way.

Make a Kind Gesture

At the end of each day, reflect on any kind gestures you have made such as sincerely complimenting someone, helping someone without being asked, being respectful, smiling, or making positive gestures like a pat on the back, a thumbs up, or sending a happy emoji.

Work/Life Integration

Although I believe that achieving a perfect work/life balance is a myth, I do believe work/life integration is possible. Make sure to have set aside some “down-time” as part of your daily schedule.

Resolve to begin 2017 with a full tank. Take some down time during the holidays to chase, conquer, reflect and internalize. Then move on and really live your life to the fullest! And in the process, have an incredible year-end in 2016 and a great start in 2017.

For more information on positive self-talk strategies and resiliency techniques, contact Susan:

Susan Commander Samakow, PCC, CPCC
Certified Business, Life & Leadership Coach
Focusing on Confidence & Resilience Strategies, Life & Career Transition, & Business & Leadership

Certified Mediator         [email protected]

Twitter: @SelfTalkCoach

301-706-7226 & 703-574-0039!/susan.samakow

Ask Susan about her coaching packages and the stress reducing techniques she teaches: EFT (Tapping) and Breathing Exercises.

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