We all start the New Year off with a massive list of things we’re certain we’ll accomplish over the course of the year! We’re full of determination and sentiments like, “this will be MY year!” But— most of us also forget the VITAL first step to setting ourselves up for success: pausing to celebrate and reflect the successes of the previous year.
First — consider this your permission slip to take the last couple weeks of the year to enjoy the holidays, reflect on what you did in 2018, and to really take care of yourself. Contrary to popular belief, forcing yourself to do more over these next few weeks won’t help you accomplish more in 2019. In fact, it might just be the thing to stop you from starting your year strong. So, before diving into a new to-do list and new projects and new resolutions, there’s no better gift you could give yourself than taking the time to reflect on all the awesome things you accomplished in 2018.
So after the Christmas chaos settles down, after you or your visiting family have made it back home, take an hour or two and grab your favorite coffee and make a list of all the amazing things you did this year. When you look back, try to remember all the things that made you feel excited and gave you energy.
What did you do really well? What did you accomplish that you’re really proud of? What did you do that pushed you outside your comfort zone? What made you grow? What brought you joy? What did you LOVE in 2018?
Don’t start looking at the year ahead until you’ve taken the time to truly celebrate the year you’re in. Don’t start planning until you’ve paused to be proud of yourself, to reflect on what you want more of, to reward yourself with gratitude for everything that made you happy and fulfilled and joyful.
Start there. By taking the time to celebrate, you can come at goal setting with a full cup. You can get clear on what you really want to prioritize in the coming year, what will actually make 2019 a year of both success and personal fulfillment. You can make sure that your upcoming to-do list includes not just the things you think you should be doing but also the stuff that will make you happy along the way!
We get so wrapped up in moving on to the next thing, on tackling the next task or goal, that we never bother to pause and really celebrate our accomplishments! I know I’m guilty of it, and I see it with my clients all the time.
Just the other day, I was working with a client who’s been stuck for decades. She hasn’t been able to take the next big step in growing her career and creating a company of her own. We sat down, and in a three-hour discovery process mapped out every step of the way to her big, hairy audacious goal. Together, we got it all planned out — revenue streams, ideal clientele, company structure — all the specific elements she needed to make her dream come true. And before we even got off the call, she’d moved right past the celebration stage and onto worrying about the next steps.
Before my eyes I was able to see something that I often do, and that’s “check the box” and move on to the next one. It’s a terrible habit I have, and it’s deprived me of the feeling of success for years. I never grant myself the time or permission to sit in the accomplishment, reflect, and celebrate it. I move on. I think of what else I could be doing.
It’s mind-blowing how quickly we skip ahead. How we don’t even pause for five minutes to be proud of what we achieve! This woman had spent twenty-five years wanting more for herself, and once we finally came up with a plan, she wanted to dive right in! Skip right past appreciating the achievement of just making the plan itself! That was a huge accomplishment, and it was almost immediately swept aside.
We HAVE to take time to stop and celebrate. Part of the reason we get stuck is because we never stop! We just keep plowing forward, charging toward what we want without taking the time to recharge. And as a result of trying to do more and skipping the celebration, we lose momentum instead of gaining it.
Our bodies say to us, “you never stop! You never give me anything! I’m tired! I’m tired of doing this when you’re not going to give back!”
Our bodies physically and emotionally NEED to celebrate our successes. Maintaining momentum requires stopping. Even machines need energy, and if we aren’t stopping to refuel ourselves, we’re running on empty. And that’s no way to get ahead.
People believe the opposite is true — that stopping will kill their momentum. That they have to forge ahead! But that’s just not true!
Stopping and celebrating success creates momentum, it doesn’t kill it. When you force yourself to skip celebrations or breaks or self care and just keep going, you absolutely produce less. You continue to zap your energy and don’t get anywhere.
Every time I’ve forgotten or ignored that rule, I’ve paid for it. I remember when I was studying for the bar exam, pushing through for days and days on end, feeling exhausted by the simplest task, and wondering, “why is this so terrible? Why can’t I get the motivation? Why can’t I get up and do it? I’ve always been driven. So why is this so hard?!”
It was hard because I wasn’t taking days off! I was trying to go forward, full steam ahead without ever taking the time to refuel.
Have you been doing that all along? Pushing ahead and never really pausing to recharge? Where has that gotten you?
Maintaining momentum requires stopping. Taking the time to celebrate and practice self care is the new pattern you need to create in 2019 to get to the next level of success!
I set a goal for 219 naps in 2019! You may be thinking, “how could you possibly create the most momentum you’ve ever created and simultaneously do that?!” People believe those things are paradoxes, but actually they’re congruent! Maybe 219 is too many for you, (ha!) but it’s an example that celebration and self care and self love have to be a priority.
So when you take the time to reflect on what went well in 2018, write out all the ways you celebrated yourself — big and small. Make a specific list of ways you showed up for yourself and how you want to celebrate again. Ask yourself….
What do celebrations look like for you? Is it getting a manicure or a massage? Going to a meditation class? Going to yoga? Having a regularly scheduled lunch with friends? What is going to help you be your best self? What will make you feel like you’re celebrating? Who are you doing that with?
Then make these the first part of YOUR goals for 2019! If you want to keep growing, you have to stop! Celebrate your successes. ALL of them. It’ll help you keep yourself fueled, and you’ll stay in the flow more often. I promise!
I want to help you look ahead with a clear sense of accomplishment and create a plan for the coming year. Come to my Ignite Your 2019 Masterclass in either Greenville, Charleston, or Charlotte! Or, if you can’t make those, join me online on January 8th to make sure you start the year on track to conquering your greatest goals for 2019!