In the last days before the new year, it's an opportune time to bring the past, present and future together. Let's start by ...
... looking back.
Reflect on 2013 - what were the major highlights and disappointments?
Take time to celebrate both your successes and failures. Successes confirm that your skills and plan were on point. Failures identify opportunities for growth and invite flexibility in your plan. This year, I've achieved some of my goals, changed a few others and failed at a good bunch.
If you're hitting all of your goals, you may be having an awesome year or it might be a sign that you've set the bar too low. If you're hitting none of your goals, then the goals you've set might be slightly unrealistic. Find the sweet spot on the outer edge of your comfort zone. This is the place where you begin to grow. Keep pushing your limits.
After you've reviewed and celebrated 2013, spend time ...
... projecting forward.
Now that you have another year's worth of knowledge and experience, what do you want 2014 to look like?
What do you hope to accomplish? What do you want to stop doing? How are your 2014 goals aligned with your personal mission in life?
Take this time to mentally visualize what you want your next year to look like. Get specific and observe how you are going to execute your plan and note the sacrifices you'll be making to get you there.
As you move from the past to the future, don't forget the importance of ...
... staying present.
Acknowledge that you're consciously taking the time to analyze your past and plan your future. If you are not present during this process, you put yourself at risk.
It's easy to reminisce for too long - patting yourself on the back for your accomplishments or kicking yourself for what you didn't do. At the same time, it can be enticing to stay in the future - fueled by the euphoria of dreams or the paralysis of worry.
To prevent this, set trip wires for yourself to stay present. This may be in the form of regularly scheduled meditation or a periodic alarm that will remind you to be aware of what is happening in the moment.
Whether you believe it or not, you've had a great year being you. You've just learned another year's worth of valuable information about yourself. If you don't feel that way, make it a goal in 2014 to be more self observant throughout the year. Note what you're doing and what you're not doing that gives you the results you like and continuing experimenting to find the best strategies that work for you.
Share with us your 2014 goals in the comment section below. It'll be a good way to keep yourself accountable and inspire others. Also, you can review your goals periodically to see how you're doing.
Thank you for taking this journey with me this past year.
Have a happy new year!
Robert Chen is the founder of Embrace Possibility and author of The Dreams to Reality Fieldbook. He helps people who feel stuck move forward by guiding them to see other possibilities for their lives. He specializes in working with high performers get to the next level. If you're going through a tough time right now, check out Robert's article on How to Feel Better Right Away and if you're having trouble getting what you want out of life, check out How to Always Achieve Your Goals.