2017 is almost gone, and we will soon enter a new year, a time when it is common to translate our hopes, wants, and dreams into new year resolutions. That is great and, by staying engaged and committed, keeping a positive vision of whatever we want to achieve, we move forward. They say the future belongs to those who can see it coming, and I believe that is true. A dream without an action is nothing but a dream.
However, I am here to highlight a mistake I used to do repeatedly in the past. Each time I was stepping into a new year, I used to jump into making fresh plans and setting new goals for myself.
What I missed was to look back at the current year “all-inclusive,” with its whole package: the bright side of results and successes, and also with (often perceived) failure, new learning, and possible blessings in disguise.
Here are two powerful questions I am asking myself each time I am stepping into a new year:
1. What am I most proud of?
As a former perfectionist and over-achiever, I used to put myself down and minimize my achievements, as if “I was lucky,” “it was nothing special” or “anyone else could have made it.”
When we are struggling with this frustrating need for perfection, nothing seems good enough, and we are always looking for more to do, to feel happy and satisfied. Something like “someday, when I get there or reach that, I will be happy.” And the truth is we’re never there because we would always want more.
Today, I learned to acknowledge and celebrate myself, in the same way I do it for other people. I stopped taking myself for granted or making myself small, so that others would feel good around me. That is not selfish, but fair. Like everyone else, I am also a person, worthy of my appreciation, compassion, and care.
That’s not about Ego or showing off. It’s all about knowing the fact that, in often cases, it’s been a lot of hard work and efforts behind my so-perceived “luck.”
Looking back on 2017, I am proud of expanding my profession to a new level. Writing is something I love. As a non-native English speaker, born in Romania, I used to sabotage myself in the past, thinking that no-one would want to read my work in a foreign language. And here I am, working on my first book, and getting published on different international platforms in the personal development industry, like Positively Positive. A dream come true, and a great source of fulfillment.
If you also tend to take yourself for granted, I am inviting you to a short time of reflection on the following topic:
My main accomplishments in 2017 are…
I am most proud of…
I acknowledge myself for…
Remember, it doesn’t have to be big, like saving someone’s life. No matter how small, put it on your list. Could be new skills you acquired, a transformation in you, developing new habits, moving into a new house, helping someone else or yourself, getting out from your comfort zone, or making changes that had a positive impact on your life. List everything down, related to both personal life and career.
And once you have made your list, it’s time to celebrate. Do something special for yourself, pamper yourself with something you enjoy. Buy yourself something nice. Treat yourself a massage. Do whatever makes you feel good. Just so; because you are worth it.
“I see that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.” – Thomas Jefferson
2. What is my learning?
To me, it’s been a year with ups and downs. I lost my father in law to cancer, and my grandfather as well. Dealing with loss is not easy, and I’ve learned to survive. Keep doing regular health checks instead of assuming that nothing wrong could ever happen to me. Take good care of my body, in the same way I nourish my mind, and my soul.
In July this year, my husband and I moved to Mexico, due to his new work assignment. That felt great; however, it came along with some challenges. In September, we got shocked by two major earthquakes: 8,4 and 7.2 degrees.
The building we were in at the time of the earthquakes was constructed on wheels, so we somehow moved in space instead of getting shaken. Everything happened in a matter of seconds that felt like days. Terrible. For a moment, I felt powerless, hoping that wasn’t going to be the end for us. Finally, we were safe and fine.
Sometimes in life, we are going through difficult, challenging experiences we dislike or even hate, without realizing that everything has a message behind if we are open to receiving it. In reality, we all are students at School of Life, and every single day is an opportunity to learn more about who we are, what we want and what makes us truly happy and fulfilled.
Wayne Dyer was right: “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”
Everything is a story we are telling ourselves about the past. It’s all about perspective and what we make every single situation mean to us.
Blaming on external circumstances we can’t control (“How could this ever happen to me?”) turns us into victims, and I refuse to be one and give my power away.
So here’s what I choose to take from the earthquake experience:
Eat the cake; drink the wine; take the trip; life is short.
I choose to believe we live in an intelligent, supportive Universe where things happen for my highest good. Life is a gift, and every day is equally precious and important, could be Mondays or weekends.
To me, this experience was a wake-up call to dedicate more of my time to things I enjoy: singing, dancing, watching movies, reading, spending quality time with likeminded people. Do whatever makes my heart sing, be more in nature, or playing with my dog.
The mere fact of finding myself so close to death reminded me to be grateful for everything I’ve gotten in life: a loving husband, a loving family, great friends (not many, but true ones). A healthy body and a healthy mind. The home I live in, nice vacations I can afford, doing the work I love. And the more thankful I am, the more I feel spoiled by the Universe.
There’s often much gain in pain, and life is not a win-lose game. Sometimes we win, sometimes we learn.
“What is to give light must endure the burning.” – Viktor Frankl
And now, I would like to hear from you. Looking back at 2017, what are you most proud of? What is your learning?
Sara Fabian is a Women’s Empowerment & Career Coach and inspirational speaker, on a mission to help professional women to discover their unique strengths, gifts and talents, boost their confidence, find their calling and live a meaningful life of purpose. For weekly inspiration, subscribe to her free newsletter at www.sarafabiancoaching.com or follow her on Facebook.
Image courtesy of Dzenina Lukac.