WOW … 2016 JUST ZIPPED RIGHT BY!!! Yep, that’s right, 2016 is ending VERY soon. While that may bring shouts of, “Thank Goodness!” from some, I however, have a whole different view as I end each year. I think it is a time to reflect and look for and find EVERYTHING I can to celebrate and acknowledge myself for that happened during the year. I love being able to be grateful for having experienced another year and for all the lessons that were contained in it along the way.
So, before rushing off into creating 2017 I will utilize a list of questions that I have created, throughout the years, to reflect on and close out my year powerful! I know the normal temptation is to make it through the holidays, cheer at the New Year and blast forward. My suggestion, however is that you make some time for you to reflect on 2016. There is so much juicy information available to us when we are willing to dive into some good ol’ reflection time.
Looking at 2016 and powerfully learning the lessons, letting go of what you need to let go of, celebrating the victories and THEN calling 2016 complete will leave you READY and empowered to create 2017. I like to think of this little exercise, that I do each year, as my gift to myself for the year. Perhaps it can be the same for you.
I find that without reflecting on the previous year I am likely to begin to create on top of things left unaddressed, unacknowledged, unlearned and unfinished. Not only that but without spending the time to claim my victories and accomplishments the likelihood of me only remembering what may not have worked is really good and that is not very inspiring.
That is just simply not a powerful place to start a New Year from. It is like trying to paint on top of an old cluttered canvas vs. a new one or a resurfaced one or trying to begin a new poem on a piece of paper that is filled already. Creation in a clean space is so much more powerful.
The series of questions I ask myself allow me to review the year and reflect on all that happened so I can get clear about it and acknowledge it. First I look at the things that I might have done differently and improved on and then I move onto my accomplishments, victories, and wins (I personally think it is important and much more enlivening to finish this way).
My suggestion is to take the time to answer these questions for you. If there is more than one answer for a question, then make a list vs. short cutting it for yourself. Look at all the areas of your life such as your Art and Creativity, your relationships, your finances, your family, your health, your career/business/job, etc. It was a whole year and one area of our life always impacts the other areas.
I also suggest that, over the next week, you create a little down time for you to slow down and find a quiet place with just a journal or some paper and a writing utensil. You could even have your calendar available, to jog your memory, so that you can review the events of your year. You will want to write out your answers (writing by hand creates a different mind-body experience and connection than typing on a keyboard will).
Here is the first the jump off point … the list of questions that allows you to see the overall picture and the things that may not have gone as well as you would have liked them to go in 2016:
- How do I feel about my overall performance in 2016? (I normally rate this on a scale of 1- 10) Why? Let yourself elaborate.
- What were the biggest challenges/roadblocks/difficulties/obstacles this year for me?
- If I could change one thing that happened this year, what would it be?
- Where have I felt stuck this year?
- How have I allowed fear of failure hold me back?
- Where has self-doubt taken over?
- What do I wish I had done more of?
- What do I wish I had done less of?
- When did I not honor and take care of myself?
- What is my biggest piece of unfinished business from this year?
- What was the worst part of this year?
- What was the single biggest time waster in my life this past year?
- What slowed me down this past year?
- What didn’t happen that I wanted to happen?
- What do I feel I should have been acknowledged for but wasn’t?
- What disappointments or regrets did I experience this past year?
- If I could do one thing differently from this past year what would it be? Why?
- Were there any things, that I did not want to have happen, that kept reoccurring? What were they?
- What might have been missing for me that had it happened it would have been a much better year?
- Were there things that I was not success at and why?
- How did I manage my stress this year?
- What can I see that I need to stop doing that I did in 2016?
- What relationship/s didn’t work as well as I wanted them to this year and why?
- What was the worst financial decision I made this year? Why?
- If I had more time this past year what would I have used it for?
Please realize that you did what you did and didn’t do what you didn’t do. It is that simple. For the things that did not go as you wanted them to go they went however they did go and they are rich with lessons you can take away. What is done is done and you no longer need to dwell on it or carry it around with you since you have now captured it all for yourself.
Please allow yourself to write any lessons in your journal or paper and let the rest go. These questions were not designed for you to judge yourself about or to dwell on … they were designed so that you could reflect on and acknowledge things for yourself … with the end goal being to then release them. Letting go of the past is, believe it or not, as simple as declaring it done and complete.
Sometimes – and particularly if left buried and unacknowledged – this kind of old stuff gets in the way of creating something fresh and new. Perhaps you can now let go of any old goals that were not meaningful to you or any old ideas or beliefs that limit you or any ongoing criticism you may have of you.
The lessons are the only important part to keep. Spend the time to write those down and be grateful for the lessons in each of the things you went through in 2016 then release the rest of it! Bottom line: If they aren’t serving you, let them go!
Next we can take the opportunity to review our accomplishments, victories, wins and things to be grateful for. These are so important – after all you want to keep creating things to celebrate – so when answering these questions do the thinking work and find the lessons in them too so you can keep creating things to celebrate in the future.
Now, take a deep breath, relax and allow yourself to explore and write down the answers to these questions (find an answer – even if the first thing that comes up is nothing – look deeper and find answers):
- What went well this year? (List as many things as you can think of)
- What things did I accomplish this year? (Let this list get a big as possible – look for the accomplishment in things – dig deep and let yourself swing out with this one – remember there are no small accomplishments – an accomplishment is an accomplishment.)
- What thing/things did I accomplish this year that I am most proud of?
- What are the lessons I learned this year? (Feel free to list as many as you can think of – many of these may come from the lessons you learned from our first set of questions you worked on above.)
- What was my biggest life lesson this year and why?
- How did I grow creatively this year?
- What new skills did I learn?
- How did I grow emotionally this year?
- How did I grow mentally this year?
- How did my career/business grow this year?
- Where have I stretched myself to expand the most this year?
- What was the best decision I made this year?
- What is at least one miracle I experienced this year? (Feel free to list as many as you can think of)
- What is something great that I did this year that I think I will always remember and can even tell stories about?
- What was the best piece of Art I made this year? Why?
- What was the nicest/kindest thing someone did for me this year?
- What are at least three things I did this year to help someone else?
- What is something that was challenging for me at the start of the year, but is easy now?
- In what area of my life did I make my biggest improvements?
- What was the thing that surprised me the most (in a good way) this year?
- What were my wins this year (yes, list them all – don’t judge them as small or large wins and discard the “small” ones – they were all wins).
- What new things did I discover about myself in the past year?
- What did I enjoy most this year?
- What cool and exciting things did I create this year?
- Was there anything I did for the very first time in my life this year? What was it?
- What major goal or goals did I lay the foundations for?
- What was the funniest moment of my year, one that still makes me grin and/or burst out laughing when I think about it?
- What great new habits or patterns did I nurture and grow this year?
- What do I deserve a pat on the back for? (List everything you can think of)
- What art or creative projects did I engage in that opened new doors or ways of creating for me?
- What or who had the biggest positive impact on my life this year? How?
- What changed for the better this year? (List as many things as you can think of)
- What was an unexpected joy this past year? (if there was more than one list them)
- When did I feel the most inspired this past year?
- What strengths did I tap into and utilize this year?
- What am I most happy about completing this year?
- When did I feel the most alive during this year?
- What are 3 words that I can now use to describe last year?
- What things can I be grateful for from this past year? (List as many as you can think of)
- What, or who, am I most grateful for from the year?
Whew – if you have done this work then please allow yourself to take it all in. Experience the pride in yourself for all that you accomplished and learned. Pat yourself on the back! BIG!!! Enjoy it! Make sure you write down the lessons you got from each of these things to celebrate too.
Even if 2016 was a challenging year for you, acknowledge all that you have learned and that you have grown as a person. Reflecting on your growth will help you account for the year emotionally, personally, professionally, creatively and financially and allow you to step into 2016 with confidence and without any excess emotional baggage.
What is next? Well … 2017!! It is wide open in front of you … a fresh start full of new opportunities. WHOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOO! With these questions answered and letting go of anything you needed to let go of you can now fully create newly. I would allow anything else that may arise from these questions (or any others that you may create yourself) percolate up. No need to rush into a bunch of resolutions.
After reflecting and doing this work you can now see lots of lessons you can incorporate into having 2017 be a fabulous year. You also have lots to celebrate so you will be able to to create a New Year full of more celebrations and victories.
I wish you an amazing adventure in completing your 2016! In a few weeks I will publish a 2017 planning post so you can keep moving right on into 2017.
What kind of things did you discover for yourself if you allowed yourself the gift of answering these questions?
What other questions can you see for you that might be great to reflect on to end 2016?
Feel free to share with me/us … I love hearing what your thoughts are and am always looking for any new views and contributions.
P.S. After you have completed 2016 feel free to read my blog about the next step of CREATING 2017 – just CLICK HERE!