As we begin the countdown to the end of the year, many of us look forward to jumping into the festivities and merriment of the holiday season while some of us may be glad to put the unpleasant experiences behind us and start afresh in 2023. Whichever camp you may belong to, the end of the year is a good time to reminisce on the experiences, challenges, and triumphs that you faced throughout the course of the year, and how they shaped you along the way. Here are some thoughts as we wind down the year:
- Prioritize self-reflection. It’s important to take a moment in the whirlwind holiday season to reflect on your journey of growth and self-discovery over the past year. What about yourself surprised you the most this past year? What were you the proudest of and how can you continue to sustain that or improve on it? On the flip side, what did you struggle with most this year and how do you plan on handling it differently next year? Taking the time to pause and reflect on such things can offer perspective on your own strength and weaknesses and help you make more intentional choices in the coming year.
- Celebrate all the wins. If you catch yourself feeling disheartened that another year and has come and gone and you don’t feel any closer to your goals, then you may need to shift your perspective. We’re all wired to measure success by tangible outcomes, but we often don’t give enough credit to the small everyday victories. Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and trying something new, being brave enough to start a new relationship after a heartbreak, being more assertive and proactive at your job – all of these take courage and active effort and deserve to be celebrated. Even if you don’t see your desired results yet, be encouraged by the incremental gains and know that you are making progress as long as you keep learning and growing from all your experiences.
- Avoid social comparison. The holiday season invariably leads to socializing, often with people who we don’t regularly meet throughout the year. If you are dreading the typical “what have you been up to this year?” and feel that you are falling short compared to other people’s success stories, just remember that people’s lives are far more than what they choose to portray on social media. Just like you, everyone has their fair share of struggles, setbacks, disappointment behind the scenes. Their accomplishments do not reflect your own perceived deficiencies, nor do they have any bearing on your own potential.
- Take stock of the relationships in your life. If we learned anything from surviving the pandemic is that life is precious and fleeting and our relationships with our loved ones should be cherished. Aim to spend more time with your elderly parents. Or reconnect with your adult children. Or make peace with friends you’ve fallen out with. Or be brave and honest with yourself and your partner if you’ve given it your all but your relationship still isn’t working. Spend more time with the people who support, encourage, and inspire you and less so with those who add negativity to your life and drain your energy.
- Practice gratitude. The importance of infusing gratitude and thankfulness into your daily life cannot be emphasized enough. Be grateful for your good health, your family and loved ones, for the opportunities you have in your life. Actively practicing gratitude can help you define what you value most in your life and allow you to recalibrate your priorities accordingly. Over time, gratitude can provide a more wholesome outlook on life, help you be more resilient in the face of setbacks and approach the coming year with hope and optimism.