You might think the quiet time around New Years is a good chance to stop, step back and assess your year. Or maybe you feel a little restless, as if you know there is something more or different that you should be doing. You could list your accomplishments and declare your missed opportunities, but will these lists point you in the right direction for next year?
Answering the following questions will help you assess your past and determine what you need to do next. You can use this guide any time of year to help you stay on a purposeful and satisfying path.
Learn from the Past Year
- Answer some or all of these questions to determine when you spent your time well or when you slid off track.
- When were you able to use your best talents, skills, and gifts? What were you doing? How did you feel?
- What did you realize you were good at that you didn’t know or claim before now?
- How did you grow? Did anything get in the way of your growth?
- What about your work represented what you stand for? When were you able to turn what you stand for into a meaningful experience for others?
- When do you feel you sold out, where you did something to avoid confrontation or to feel comfortable even though you now know the convenience was not in your best interest?
- What did you put off that you wished you had spent more time on?
Review your answers. Note what you want to do more and less of next year.
Clearly See the Present
It is often hard to objectively evaluate your current life on your own. Consider exploring these questions with a coach or trusted friend who will challenge you to expand your thinking.
- What impact are you making? Is this enough for you?
- What do believe created your present circumstances? Are your assumptions limiting how you view your life?
- What used to bring you joy but now, the energy is disappearing?
- What are you clinging to that defines you but it is now time to let go of?
- What do you feel you should have done by this time in your life? What is stopping you now?
- If talent is the joyful expression of your unique abilities, how are you using your talents to benefit you, your community, or the world?
It is okay to be unhappy with some parts of your life. Feelings like regret, envy, and sadness can either help you articulate what you yearn to create or declare what you aren’t willing to do. Clearly seeing the present will help you determine what you feel is best for you to focus on next.
Plot Out the Story You Want to Live
Based on your previous answers, you will either fine-tune your current story or decide to write a new narrative. The following questions will help if you want to make big changes.
Review your answers to the previous sections before diving into some or all of these questions.
- If you had the opportunity to fully express your talents, what could you accomplish?
- What do you dare to dream of doing? What do you long to experience or create?
- Is there something you are called to do but thought you couldn’t? Could someone help you find your way?
- What inside of you wants to be heard or set free? If you listened to this longing, what would you know you have to do?
To bolster the courage to step into a new story, you have to acknowledge what you must leave behind. When looking at your past, you noticed what energy is now disappearing. You need to let go of what is disappearing to allow the chance for your higher contribution to take form.
- To step into your profound potential, what must you leave behind?
- What can you say no to now?
- What did you promise yourself you would do but you can now release? Crossing things off your list will give you more energy to spend on what is most important now.
- If you were willing to step into the unknown, what would you find on the other side?
The more developed your expertise and career is, the harder it will be to re-create yourself. It’s also difficult to envision acting on something new when you have bills to pay. Compose the story anyway. Don’t just craft a static vision; imagine your perfect day one, two, or five years from now where you are both doing and feeling what you most want.
The final question is – how can you ensure your commitment to living your chosen life? Plan your steps or at least create a way to remember your intentions so next year, answering the questions will be easier.
This article was first published on outsmartyourbrain.com