How’s the past year been for you?
There are usually mountains of articles and blog posts encouraging reflection and evaluation as an old year closes and a new one begins.
What’s the point in looking back?
“Any new beginning is forged from the shards of the past, not from the abandonment of the past.” – Craig D. Lounsbrough
The quote above highlights how the remnants of the past could be a valuable guide to us in our future.
I believe the benefits of looking back in time depends on how open and curious the reflections are.
I invite you to consider a few questions.
Who or what event (s) or experience (s) inspired and motivated you?
What talents or abilities helped you through the year?
Were there any failures or mistakes this year? What were they, and what did they teach you about yourself?
If you could change one thing from the year what would it be?
How did you go?
What are your intentions for 2016?
A definition of intention is: “to have in mind a purpose or plan, to direct the mind, to aim.”
A review of your intentions, purpose and plans can happen at any time of the year, however, the beginning of the New Year is a fine place to start fine tuning the mind!
Here are some common intentions that have emerged in a variety of my conversations this year.
Knowing my strengths and creating new opportunities
Becoming more proactive and in charge of my life
Improving my lifestyle, health and wellbeing
Building a sense of hope and optimism
Making a difference in my community, family, and relationship
Improving my interactions with people
To be more courageous and move out of my comfort zone
This last intention about courage is described beautifully by Mandela below:
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” ~Nelson Mandela
The most common problems with developing intentions and purpose are they can sound too vague, wishy-washy and consequently lose their power.
New Years resolutions can be problematic in the same way.
My suggestion is you make them concrete, realistic and accountable!
Here is a guide.
6 steps to a purposeful New Year
Clearly describe what you want to achieve. Write it down.
Share this with someone you trust who you know will support and encourage you.
List the steps or actions that will take you in this direction. Ask someone to help you if necessary.
Note down any obstacles in your way, including practical and emotional. If there are too many obstacles consider how realistic your intentions are and re-think your plan.
Take the first step today that demonstrates your commitment.
Acknowledge your first step and move on to the next step.