If your inbox is anything like mine, it’s been flooded in recent weeks with solicitations to get a jump on your planning for next year.
Some of these invitations arise from the intention to “get this year over with already.” Others from the desire to get a head start. As if January 1 were some magical date on which the gates to the race fling open and the first ones out of the blocks get all the advantages in the coming year.
The False Urgency to Get a Jump Start on the New Year
The impulse to chase after these offers can be tantalizing.
Never mind that, energetically, it’s not the right season to vision and plan; that January 1 is the most arbitrary date on the calendar; that most people who bolt out of the starting blocks on January 1 fade within two-four weeks.
With each new email in your inbox reminding you that now is the time to plan, that anxious knot in your stomach grows, until you find yourself in late December already having written off the entire next year because you’re behind.
You don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to get ahead.
I get it. I’ve been there.
But what about the opportunity wasted?
What’s the Wisdom You Learned?
When you jump the gun on planning for next year before completing this year, you waste the opportunity to harvest the true source of wealth: the wisdom you learned from your experience.
Whether you crushed every goal, didn’t even hit your first milestone, or fell somewhere in between, in each moment you showed up in a certain way. You discovered a piece of who you are.
Were you paying attention?
What were the ways that you showed up that served you, and which ways didn’t serve you?
Which do you want to maintain, and which do you want to discard?
Circumstances change from year to year, but we can bring our successful way of being with us to any environment.
Similarly, we can choose to discard ways of being that no longer serve us. We can choose to cut ties with mindsets and beliefs that hold us back.
Whether your year evolved as a stream of successes, a flood of failures, or a trickle of results followed by lulls of nothing, each moment had something to teach you.
Were you looking and listening for the lessons? Did you take notes?
Life doesn’t always (does it ever?) give you a cheat sheet with a cliff-notes summary. It’s up to you to create space to distill the story and uncover the wisdom that you can apply going forward.
If You Crushed This Year
If this year was your best year ever, you might be tempted to think you can skate through to next year simply by increasing your goals. What a mistake that would be. Circumstances rarely repeat themselves. What defines the people who are truly successful is that they can thrive in any condition. They do this because they take time to harvest the wisdom from every win and loss.
You may discover, for example, that although you crushed your goals, you didn’t really enjoy your way of being in the process. That’s helpful information to extract before you plan for next year.
If You Just Want This Year To Be Over
If this year was filled with too many painful moments that leave you feeling like you just can’t go back to revisit them, then consider this:
Life keeps teaching us the same lessons until we learn them. Reviewing the year, harvesting the wisdom, and then consciously letting go of the story and the circumstances is the best way to ensure you won’t have a repeat of the same trials next year.
You may get different trials. But having harvested the wisdom, having decided in advance how you will show up, you will be so much better equipped to deal with them from a place of empowerment.
The great thing about planning for the year ahead is that we get to choose our destination and direction. Doesn’t it also make sense to choose what to take with you on the journey? Why pack mindsets and beliefs that you no longer need?
Give yourself these last few days to reflect on all that happened and harvest the wisdom and gifts from this year that is ending.
Consciously choose what to release and what you wish to take with you.
How you end is how you begin.