What life event highlight “6 years ago today” was Facebook reminding me of?
Overlooking the vineyards of the left-bank of Lake Geneva and drinking a freshly brewed coffee, I had typed a four-letter word that captured a whole year of planning, saving money, sacrifice, hard work, endless hours of research, language lessons, and dozens of master degree and job applications to set off on my new chapter in Switzerland.
That four-letter word was “here”.
“Here” meant embarking on a new adventure of life in Switzerland – much like how we are now anticipating 2020 with all the excitement, wonder, planning and goal-setting because we have dreams to realize and much to accomplish. But “here” also meant recognition because that word was a magnanimous nod to everything that had led up to that moment within the past year.
As I was reflecting I was also quietly smiling triumphantly to myself because I had finally reached the place that I had been dreaming about for over a year – and I’m not just talking about Switzerland. That place was also a sense of accomplishment. “Here” was referring to that moment where you recognize and acknowledge how far you’ve come and all the hard work you’ve put in to get there. I really felt like I was finally “living my best life” and realizing my personal projects and professional goals, sowing the seeds of new friendships and cultivating great new relationships.
I had no idea how that chapter would continue to unfold, I was simply excited to be living it.
Today, as one year closes off and another is about to begin, I find myself again at the frontier of new opportunities and challenges. Thrilled with the onset of a brand new decade, this time cup of alpine-flower tea in hand I’m not only inspired to set new goals, intentions and project strategies, I’m taking a moment to appreciate where I am now and to revisit the year that has passed. Think about it, how and where are you now, compared to a year ago?
In the spirit of this season’s festivities, I’d like to invite you to a celebration. However, this is not your usual end-of-year work party or family Christmas gathering. On this occasion, the invite is exclusively for you and no one else, where you are guest of honor and host – a party thrown by you, for you! Let’s celebrate the self in all its glory for the year that has been. And as you relish in your personal and professional accomplishments (feel free to write them down), consider the following questions:
In the course of this year, what skills did you develop? What situations did you handle particularly well? Where did you innovate in your life? How did you make a positive impact on others?
I also invite you to compare and contrast “then and now”: how was your health? How were your relationships with your colleagues and boss? And with your friends, partner, family or children? What was the relationship like with yourself?
What goals did you achieve and what dreams came true for you?
For example, did you run that marathon, learn to ski or get that pay rise? Did you launch a program or your own business? Did you solve a work or team issue, close a deal or save your company thousands of francs? Did you end a toxic relationship or resigned from a job that was burning out your spirit? Did you graduate or start a degree? Did you go travelling, fall in love or end up buying that special thing you had been saving up for? Did you renovate your home or finally found the perfect place and moved out? In short, this is the moment to look back and take stock of how much has actually happened and to celebrate your wins no matter how big or small because everything counts.
This kind of celebration also serves as a reminder that where you are today, three months, one year or five years ago was something you were probably dreaming about. And if you’re not there yet, give it some more time, restrategize and ensure you set achievable goals – what else is a new year for? 😉
Embracing the kind of mindset at the end of the year that not only considers what will lie ahead but also reflects on the past year will help you track your achievements and motivate you towards much larger goals. Plus, you’ll be much more focused in your vision for 2020 and even for the coming decade.
This exercise also helps me to stay present because it makes me realize that I can expect so much of myself 24/7 and tend to focus on the next thing, and the next, and the next insatiably, without taking a second to notice my wins, ultimately making me feel like it’s not enough. When in fact, I should be indulging on some Veuve Clicquot to honour the fulfillment of goals and achieving what I set out to do (and not just in celebration of the end of another year).
So, with some prosecco or a whiskey in hand, (or whatever you fancy toasting in), I hope you take a good moment to appreciate how far you’ve come, how much you’ve learnt, how many people you’ve helped, how much you’ve loved, and how hard you’ve worked.
Cheers, santé and Prost to you!