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A Year's Assessment - what will you do differently next year?

It’s December 2018 and all around me people are echoing similar sentiments – I am tired. Where has this year gone? What a year it has been. Boy, am I glad it’s over ….

We still have December to get through but already people are focusing on 2019 and what it may bring for them. I, myself, like to use this time of the year to sit back, reflect and assess what has happened in the past eleven months (knowing that I still have another month of experiences to get through so it’s not quite all over yet!).

A wise person told me today that next year is just a continuation of this year but that we can improve on the journey into the new year by assessing the year that we are moving out of. This is quite an empowering thought to have, realising that, yes, we are just continuing with our lives but that we have the choice to assess and decide what to improve on, build on and change so that our next twelve months is a recognition of all the experiences we have gone through this year.

This is a good time to make an objective assessment of all the experiences of the year - identifying the lessons you may have learnt (or not learnt!), celebrating the successes you had (and failures – after all, failures are lessons in themselves) and appreciating the simple joys that came from the many little moments during the year.

Consider asking yourself the following questions when assessing your year:

· What happened this year that was special?

· What am I proud of this year?

· What lessons did I learn this year?

· What can I celebrate this year?

Once you have made an assessment of your year and its experiences, decide how you want to continue into your new year, tweaking it so that it builds on your experiences of 2018. Perhaps you have identified that there were too many moments of boredom and that more creativity needs to come into your life. Or, you have discovered the magic of gratitude and promise yourself that you will continue to be grateful for everything that happens in your daily life, no matter how ordinary or simple they may seem. Maybe some old relationships ended and as you assess their roles in your life, you have learnt that you have changed and it’s time to move on. Perhaps you have learnt to forgive and let go. As you reflect over the year, you carry out assessments on events that you can celebrate and those that were not such a success but still valuable lessons. By building on your successes (which includes “mastering” your failures), you can continue into the new year with confidence in your own abilities.

So many of us are in such a rush to close the door at the end of a year, pretending that a lot of things that happened didn’t happen! The danger here, when you haven’t done an assessment, is that these experiences will re-surface again, maybe not next year, but definitely they will re-surface. Especially the experiences you choose to ignore. Then, there are the experiences that were highlights for you and yet you quickly forgot about them as life moved on – these experiences, if properly assessed and acknowledged for their roles in growing you, can serve you in a positive and empowering way if you choose to build on them to carry you into the next year.

Making assessments is not about dwelling on the “what ifs”. It’s not about beating yourself up because something went terribly wrong or you didn’t achieve what you set out to achieve. It’s also not about choosing to ignore some experiences simply because they didn’t fit in with your vision.

Making assessments is about exploring and acknowledging your strengths, weaknesses and desires. It’s about identifying the patterns that no longer serve you and choosing to break them. Self-assessments help you to discover what works for you and what doesn’t and what is worth building on so that any new experiences come from a space of understanding and wisdom.

As you wind down for the year-end, I challenge you to spend some time assessing your year. Embrace what didn’t work out. Celebrate your successes. Acknowledge the lessons learnt. And be proud of the fact that you made it through another year, knowing that it’s all about awareness, growth and contribution. And, that you can continue your journey into the new year inspired and invigorated by all you have assessed.

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