What was 2017 about for you? If you could sum it up in one word or phrase, what would it be? It might be hard to summarize twelve months in one word, but perhaps there is a nugget of insight you’re taking away from the last 365 days.
At the end of each year, I cozy up on my couch with a journal and ask myself, “What were the highlights? What was hard? What did I accomplish? Who did I become more of? I check in with myself about my character, “Am I kinder? Am I more loving?” And reflect on the following areas:
- Career: How did I grow in my career?
- Health: How did I take care of my mind and body?
- Relationships: What relationships did I nourish most?
- Hobbies: How did I relax and have fun?
- Spirituality: How did I grow spiritually?
- Community: In what ways did I use my life to serve others?
It’s a grounding activity to pause, become curious, and do a personal life inventory. As I ponder the above questions, I look for wins and conduct my own gap analysis to think about what’s next. Smart companies think about what’s next, too, when they start with their why. In his popular TEDx talk, motivational speaker and marketing consultant Simon Sinek shares how great leaders inspire; they think about what inspires their employees to action and use powerful language to tell their story. Apple executives don’t just say, “We make great computers, they are beautifully designed and user friendly.” Instead, they say something like, “Everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo, and we believe in thinking differently.” As consumers, we tend to be loyal to brands that believe something and have a purpose or cause.
So, as I think about the purpose and the “why” of my life in the year ahead, I don’t focus only on results; I write down words or phrases that speak to me about the “why.” In the past, I’ve come up with phrases like Do What Scares You (because I believe pushing myself outside my comfort zone creates a more exuberant life), Slow Down (because I believe that mindfulness helps me experience my life in a deeper way), or Have Fun (because I want to incorporate planned enjoyment in living). These phrases have then guided me in coming up with concrete goals around how I would create that feeling or experience in my life the next year. As an intuitive person, I like to feel moved by what I am reaching for instead of just coming up with resolutions that I think I “should” want.
Now it’s your turn. What do you want the theme of your life to be in 2018? How do you want to design your life? I’d encourage you to take time to reflect, ponder, meditate, and think about what motto, theme, or word will guide you in 2018. What’s calling for you next and how will you measure what matters most?
Go ahead and, in the wise words of Oprah Winfrey, “Create the highest, grandest vision possible for your life, because you become what you believe.”