But it’s also been a year of creativity and joy, humanity and happiness.
We create what we focus on
That’s not a woolly, feel-good sentiment. If we tell our brain to focus on the negative, it will look for those things. But if we tell it to look for the positive, the opportunities and the joy, it will start to notice those. When we consciously notice the things that have made us feel positive, proud, or which have helped us, we have a much greater chance of repeating them.
What we actually did is also a great way of working out what our priorities really are. If you spent the year saying you wanted to paint, but you actually spent hours writing instead, that’s a clue your energy may be more naturally drawn to something else.
That means this is a really important exercise to make your 2017 the year you want it to be. So do this before you make any kind of resolutions, and you’ll have so much more of a chance of making them work.
Here’s a powerful, uplifting exercise I do regularly with all my one-to-one clients to focus on their achievements. No matter how tough things have been for you, this is a really great way to reclaim your own power to make 2017 the year you want it to be.
How to discover what you achieved
Take a pen and paper, or open your notes app or new writing file, and simply write down all the things you’ve done well or that you’re proud of this year, or times when you were simply happy.
Keep writing until you get to at least 52.
The big achievements are wonderful
Put down all the smaller things too
- Partner and/or children
- Ideas you had, or things you created
Write down everything that comes to mind for you.
Integrity, courage and self-knowledge are all achievements
To make this even more effective, do it with someone else. If you get stuck, or your partner gets stuck, just ask, ‘what else?’, or ‘what did you do that was good for your [health/kids – choose an area the other person hasn’t covered yet]?’ Work one at a time, and be careful not to interrupt each other until one of you has really completed their list.
Don’t stop until you get to at least 52 – and if you feel you’re really rolling, add another 52, and another. The more you notice the positive in your life, the more positive your 2017 will be – simply because the things you look for will be create your experience of your life.
Here are just a few of the things that gave me satisfaction and joy this year:
- I launched my podcast, The Creative Life Show, and I’ve had some wonderful conversations as a result, with ideas and collaborations in the pipeline
- I bought a grand piano, something I’d been dreaming of for years, and have been loving playing it
- I said ‘yes’ to an invitation, which opened up a whole new area of creativity workshops
- I nearly doubled the size of my email list without doing a lot of active work on it (I hadn’t actually realised this until I did this exercise).
- I turned down clients who weren’t a good fit to focus on putting together a book proposal, which meant I earned less, but it’s been worth it
- I’ve made some wonderful new friends in my local area, who have really supported me in my home and professional life, and deepened friendships with other people who’ve been in my life for a while.
- I began writing regularly again, after several years when it’s been difficult
- I started reading poetry regularly, and found it’s been wonderfully liberating
- I’ve been running fairly consistently through the year, and even though I’ve had a few lapses, I’m probably fitter now than I’ve been at any point in my life
Of course I had plenty of frustrations and blocks, things that I didn’t do that I’d wanted to, and goals I feel I didn’t achieve. But looking at this list reminds me of all the wonderful things I have to build on in 2017.
Now it’s your turn! Leave a comment with what you’ve discovered – and a few of your own achievements, so we can all be inspired.