The holidays are upon us which means that we will soon be ushering in a new year that is full of hope and promise.
In the past, I’ve been known to jump on the resolution bandwagon and have determined to “fix” every area of my life with a slew of New Year’s resolutions that rarely lasted past February (if even that long.) After years of failing to fulfill my resolutions, I finally decided to chuck the whole notion of them. Now, I no longer set “resolutions”, instead, I set intentions for the year (more on this in January). I also choose to bypass January and do the biggest part of my annual goal setting process in the summer with my annual birthday audit (read more about that here.) Yes–it is an audit but it is an enjoyable process that I genuinely look forward to every year, and if you aren’t too overloaded with holiday happenings, it would certainly be a valuable process to help you begin your year with purposeful intention.
However; as important as all of this intention setting and goal getting is (and it is important!) I believe that there is one crucial step that is often overlooked in the success process. In order to start a new year well (whether it be on January 1st or on your birthday) I believe that we must also strive to finish well.
December is a great time to discuss the subject of finishing well because it is the natural end of the year. So…as you revel in hub-bub of the holidays, be sure to take a few moments to sit down and plan a strong finish for your year. These suggestions can help guide you as you prepare to cross the 2015 finish line.
How to Finish Your Year Strong
1.) Give yourself a little grace. Are there goals that didn’t get reached? Things that you had hoped to see happen that didn’t? Don’t beat yourself up. We all experience setbacks from time to time and yes, we all experience failure. In order to finish the year strong, we need to embrace the understanding that failure isn’t permanent and can even be productive if we use it to re-evaluate our course and adjust our sails. Reframing our set-backs in this way can help to ease their sting a bit while also allowing us to determine a better, smarter way of moving forward.
2.) Nurture your spirit. Don’t allow the hustle and bustle of the holidays to rob you of your sanity. Make sure that you finish your year strong by making time to feed your soul on a daily basis. This can consist of anything that makes you feel connected to life. Many people are benefited by a daily meditation practice (click here for 10 Tips on Establishing a FabYOUlously Sustainable Meditation Practice) while others enjoy journaling, walking in nature, yoga etc. It doesn’t matter what the activity is, as long as it taps you into source energy. When your soul is nourished, you will have all the energy you need for the things in the new year that are most important to you and you will attract the people and events that support your highest, most FabYOUlous vision for your life.
3.) Embrace excitement. What is it that gets you so jazzed that you could do it for hours without stopping? What activities get you excited just thinking about them? In order to finish your year strong, you need to do the things that you love. This should go without saying, yet it is a genuine struggle for so many people. We get so wrapped up in a myriad of things that we think that we should be doing, that we push those activities that we truly enjoy onto the back burner where they are left to whither and die. This is no way to live! Take a moment to consider the fact that the things that bring you true joy and excitement might just be the very things that you were put upon this earth to do. In fact, it has been said that enthusiasm is the clearest indicator of where a person’s greatest success will show up. Let your passions and excitement be the compass that will guide you to the activities that will bring you the most joy and benefit. Once those activities are defined, you can ensure that they become priorities (rather than afterthoughts) in your life when you…
4.) Free up your hard drive. As human beings, we have far greater capabilities than any super computer; however, our emotional, physical, psychological and logistical energy is not infinite. We can do a lot, but we can’t do everything. When we are busy spinning our wheels on projects that don’t excite us, spending time with people who don’t inspire us or wasting money on things that don’t fulfill us, we are robbing ourselves of the opportunity to pursue those things, experiences and people that do bring joy and meaning into our lives. Finish your year strong by taking a good, honest look at your life and where you expend your time and energy. If you discover that you’re not using these valuable resources in ways that bring more fulfillment, enjoyment and purpose into your life, it is time for you to free up some space on your internal hard drive. Click here for some wonderful suggestions on how to get off of the hamster wheel of life and create space for the things that truly matter.
5.) Let life surprise you. Yes, finishing strong means that we have worked toward something that we have defined to be valuable to our success and overall contentment. However; while it is important to have concrete goals to work towards, it is also important that we remain open to other possibilities that the universe might have in store for us. Launch your intentions and then allow the result to show up in whatever way will be most beneficial to you. It might be through hard work and perseverance or it might be through fortunate happenstance. Don’t get so focused on one particular path to your goal that you miss other opportunities that might arise.
I learned this lesson myself, earlier this year as my husband and I discussed the possibility of planning one final big vacation with our family (our kids are all in their late teens/early 20’s so our days of family vacations together are numbered.) We talked about a trip to Hawaii but felt a bit discouraged as we added up the cost of airfare, lodging, meals etc. Still, we decided to tighten our belts and see if we could save up enough money to make the trip a reality. Then, I noticed a nation wide contest that Red Lobster was running and the grand prize just happened to be a trip for four to Hawaii. I knew that it was a long shot (a VERY long shot) but still, I submitted an entry to the contest and crossed my fingers. My husband and I still worked at cutting expenses and saving our money but then we got the FANTASTIC notification that we were the lucky winners of the trip. Believe me…that was one incredible surprise. The money that we had already saved enabled us to purchase an additional ticket so that our family of five could make the trip together.
Sure–it is great to make plans, set goals and take focused action, but finishing strong also means being open to surprises that might come your way. Don’t become so fixated on your goal coming through one door that you miss it coming through another.
6.) Less work. More play. Relaxation, ease and play are just as important to success as hard work and perseverance. In fact, many successful individuals will tell you that their best ideas come to them when they are away from the office and out having fun. A relaxed mind is a creative vessel through which wisdom flows freely and easily. Finish your year strong by building play time into your schedule. Not only will this provide you with some much needed rest, it will also ensure that you’ll be ready to kick off your new year with a refreshed and reinvigorated attitude.
7.) Take one small step. Finishing your year strong also means preparing to start your new year strong. Prime the pump by taking one small action toward your new goals. This doesn’t have to be anything drastic or difficult but when you begin to lean forward into your new year and new goals, you will find that the steps to success will begin to appear. Click here for guidance as you choose what one step to take to kick off your new year on a positive note.
8.) Enjoy the ride. Okay, so maybe you met some of your goals for the year while missing the mark on some others. The important question is…did you enjoy the pursuit? Rather than fixating on how things will turn out in the end, turn your attention to the here and now so that you can enjoy the journey. Finish your year strong by committing to stay awake, alert and awed as you move forward toward your FabYOUlous life. Enjoying the ride makes life worth living and reaching your goals simply becomes icing on the cake.
As the year comes to an end, I want to say a special thank you to everyone who has supported FabYOUlousLife.com over the past year. We are doing our best to finish strong so that we can bring you even more FabYOUlousness in the coming year. Happy FabYOUlous New Year to each and every one of you!