As we do each year, it is time to begin to reflect on 2018 and gear up for 2019. What happened in 2018 that we are proud of or want more of in the next year, what do we wish was handled differently, how did we show up and how did that help us? What big goals do we want to accomplish this coming year? Those big goals, depending on where in the journey we are, could be big stuff such as going back to school and changing careers, or it could be big like enhancing relationships or being more patient and calm. Big is relative and about each of us. We all have a different journey. We are all starting from a different place. Perhaps you are at a point where reflection is causing you to rethink choices, make major changes to where you live, what your purpose is, how to live more aligned with your true self. Perhaps you are right where you want to be, no need to go inward and you just want to build the plan for the next chapter. It doesn’t matter where you are or what your goals are, what matters is that you live the way you want and not the way others expect. It matters that whatever goals you want to create for the next year, they help you be more alive.
In beginning to reflect on 2018 for me, it was a year of tremendous change. Navigating new waters and creating new outcomes. It was a year of lessons, and learnings. A year filled with new experiences and damaged relationships, of love lost and passion found. A year of leaving one identity and creating a new one. A year of focus on well being. A favorite practice for me to reflect on the year was shared with me by my mentor/coach, Gina Marotta. She taught me 4 questions to review using journaling to allow the thoughts to flow. The questions are simple:
- What were your successes in 2018?
- What were your failures in 2018?
- What were your surprises in 2018?
- What were your lessons in 2018?
As you ask yourself each question, you allow a few minutes each and just write, don’t think a lot but allow your pen to flow. It works best when you are in a quiet spot and not interrupted using a timer to stop your writing. I do about 3 minutes or so for each question. I just write whatever comes, thoughts, words, etc. I then review everything and begin to think about what I want more of, what I want to build on, what I want to let go of and what I want to change. This allows me to move out of the year with a sense of accomplishment and learnings, and gives me the beginning of my 2019 vision and goals. The years I didn’t do any reflection I rehashed things over and over again in my head and heart for far too long in the next year. The years I didn’t have a vision or goals for the year I felt as if I lived day to day just trying to get through to the weekend, without purpose, without drive aside from grind at work. Most of all, I felt as if work was all I had. And life is so much more than work, money, or stuff. This year really brought that home for me.
As I wrote my successes, failures, lessons and surprises I realized that some were similar to other years and some were very different. Failures, as an example, were focused on relationships. The friendship I thought would turn into something much more meaningful fell apart and isn’t even a friendship today. The pain of that one still stings as I lost one of my closest friends and I still don’t fully understand why. I have spent too much time trying to figure that one out and the hurt stings. But the outcome is I spent another year without the great love I want, the supportive partner who is there for me, my person. I sometimes feel like the only person on earth without a person. That mindset is also a failure and in trying to find the lesson, I stumbled upon a common theme of mine, my reaction. My reaction of anger, victim, and frustration hasn’t helped those relationships and hasn’t served me well at all. Big lesson and one I am very focused on . I do believe a lot of that still stems from that fear of not being good enough, another lesson for the year. I am good enough, I am more than enough.
I also saw my writing take a plunge in 2018. So I published (which was a success!) and then did nothing with it and haven’t really focused on writing since other than this blog. I see that as a bit of a failure for the year and something I am seriously focused on for 2019. There are some other relationships that took a bit of a hit this year, whether it be because I was done being the one to reach out or because others just didn’t make our relationship a priority, I saw those as failures. I also saw the lesson in each. Not everyone treats relationships the same way. I need to let go of many of those, even if some are relatives. Just take the relationship the way it is and not the way I wish it was,
New successes were certainly focused on my change from the 60 hour work week corporate grind in Human Resources to the “build your own business” and fit your work around a full life. That transition was easier than I ever expected, not missing one thing about my corporate life or identity. I don’t miss the company, the people, the meetings, or the work. I was able to accomplish a lot in a year around new skills and certifications that will help me create the business I want. I love the freedom my new life gives me, I love the like minded people I met in school and I love the sense of accomplishment I get from helping people reach their goals, release what is holding them back and becoming better than even they imagined. That has been a success and a surprise!
In becoming a better version of me, I began to meditate every day. I also got involved in a new and better exercise and nutrition regimen that helped me lose 20 pounds and be stronger than I have been in many many years. I hiked places I never hiked before this year and feel better in my body than I have in ages. Although I am climbing closer to 60, I no longer feel physically like someone getting close to that age. Being alone and liking it more and more was another surprise for me. I drove myself to Florida as an adventure and as a way to heal from my mom’s death. I also have spent much more time home alone and being ok with not having as big a social life as I once did. Much of it my doing as I don’t like being the 3rd wheel anymore. It gets old to be the odd person, even with my closest friends this is not as much fun anymore. I’m ok with just staying home.
My biggest surprise was how much I needed to work on patience again. Patience for myself as I was learning many new skills. Patience with people who were going through their own shit. Patience with my dad as I navigated 10 months of recuperation. Patience for a puppy who came into my life at the end of October and who tries my patience as times just being him!
I have shared with you in the past that I believe healing is a spiral and we come around to heal things again and find the deeper meaning or truth. Patience with myself and patience to allow things to unfold versus force them are things I keep learning. Those lessons are continuous for me.
2018 was a year of great change for me. Much of it positive, lost and changed relationships being the biggest negative change. As I move into 2019, I see myself believing in myself more, believing in the timing of universe more and allowing life to unfold more. That all requires patience, which my puppy is certainly trying and teaching me!
I hope as you reflect on your year you find great surprises and successes and find a way to accept the lessons and the failures. They are all part of life and help us each to grow and become the best versions of us that we can be!
Good riddance to another year, and let’s move into 2019 with love and joy in our hearts and live it aligned with who we really are, not the way people expect us to be!