By Joan Marlow

Yes, a new year is here!  To many, a New Year means an opportunity for New Beginnings.  Whether you’re happy or sad to see 2019 move into your personal history book and whether or not you’re ready to open your arms for all that 2020 offers, consider taking a few minutes to reflect on how this year impacted you and how you left your mark on this year.

Life Lesson 2.0

In life there’s one thing we learn over and over again and that is,

Our awareness of time and our awareness of the importance of living ‘in the present moment’ is the most precious gift we can give ourselves. 

Think about it:  The last 5 minutes are gone; the next 5 minutes are an unknown; what we do in this moment is what’s important.  So how about taking a couple of these precious ‘present moments’ to reflect on your 2019 and give some thought to your 2020.

  1. What did you accomplish? What were your successes?  What are you proud of?  Take a breath and think about only you; don’t compare yourself with what you saw, heard or think about what others did.  The items that appear on this list are from your world, interests and family.  What challenges did you face, tackle and win?  What things did you dread and ultimately succeed at?  It might include getting through a tough class; walking away from a situation with friends or in your family that could have had an ugly outcome; figuring out how to adopt the concept of being kind vs. being right; balancing life to include work, school, home and personal; doing something that was outside your comfort zone (learning something new); expressing your right to say ‘no’ or saying ‘yes’ to a new experience or perspective.
  1. What moments / decisions do you wish you could ‘do-over’ to possibly create a better outcome? We don’t want to dwell on stuff that we can’t change and we don’t want to move into the new year with regrets and resentments.  What we want to do is learn from those moments where it might have been wiser to either speak up for ourselves or to have used different words or actions than what we chose in that moment…remember the above comment about living in the present moment.  What we might do to help clear the regrets and resentments is to apologize or make amends to the person or group that was involved.  The additional step is to apologize to and forgive yourself for your part in the situation.  Lastly, the next time you find yourself in a similar situation, stop for a moment and consider taking a different action.  The outcome still might not be ideal, but you will be comforted and proud in knowing you put your best self forward.
  1. What’s ahead for 2020? The tradition of making ‘Resolutions’ has been around for generations.  The ability to keep ‘Resolutions’ is another thing.  ‘Resolutions’ were statements that had no actionable steps towards accomplishment:  lose weight, exercise more, save money, read more books, not argue with my family.  The new thought is to create goals that include actionable steps and measurements so you can ‘check in’ to see how you’re doing with the goal and if necessary, to ‘adjust’ the goal accordingly  so you can be successful!!

So what do you want for yourself in 2020? 

  • If it is to not fight with your siblings, the steps might be: listen more intently, ask questions to understand what’s going on  with your sister/brother that might be triggering the fight, walk away so both of you can calm down.
  • If it’s to improve your grades, the steps might be: get more/better sleep, go to class, participate in class, complete your homework, ask for help from the teacher, stretch a bit by completing an extra credit project.
  • If it’s to save more money, the steps might be: create a budget to see where your money is going; set a weekly savings goal ‘(pay yourself first’ concept) and put it in the bank; stick to your budget, say ‘no’ to impulse purchases (clothes, Starbucks, an extra movie outing); visualize what you will do with the money you’ve saved (car, insurance, trip, school, hobby).

With each ‘goal,’ check in weekly or monthly to see if the ‘goal’ is realistic and achievable for you and if need be, you can adjust it.  The desired outcome is threefold:

  1. You experienced success in achieving goals with the help of your focus, and
  2. This time next year as you sit to reflect upon our accomplishments for 2020, you’ll feel a sense of pride in the role you played in creating your best year, and possibly most importantly,
  3. This process might well become a habit that helps to set the stage for continued success in your life.

Wishing you the very best in this New Year!!