These few days before the start of the new year have a magical and sacred quality to them. I appreciate the lull in activity that often takes place this week and the opportunity we have to reflect back on the year that is ending, as well as to create new possibilities and intentions for the year that's about to start. It often seems more exciting to focus on our "resolutions" for the coming year than it does to look back. However, before we jump ahead and start making our goals for next year, it's essential that we complete the year that is about to end with power and appreciation.
As much as I personally love this completion process, I usually have mixed emotions reflecting back on the year. There is excitement, gratitude, and joy for all of the wonderful accomplishments, experiences, insights, and more. There is also sadness, disappointment, and sorrow over the things that I didn't accomplish, the people and things I'll miss, and the places in my life where I failed.
This is as true as ever as 2009 comes to a close. This past year I've experienced some of the highest highs and lowest lows of my life. I'm truly grateful for all that I've learned and experienced this year. And, while I have lots to appreciate from this past year, I also am glad to see it end! More than most years in recent memory, this one did not turn out anything like I thought it would 12 months ago. How about for you?
Due to the common mixture of emotions we experience and especially with a year like 2009 which created a lot of growth opportunities (to put it mildly) for most of us, it's essential that we embrace and practice the art of completion. Completion is a conscious process we engage in whereby we do and say whatever we need to in order to create a true sense of closure to an experience (in this case, the year that is about to end).
Because we often have resistance to authentically celebrating and appreciating ourselves, reflecting honestly on our accomplishments or our failures, acknowledging our real results or lack thereof, grieving loss with depth, and more - we usually just roll through the end of things and either avoid completion all together or move onto the next thing as fast as we can. When we do this, however, we miss out on a sacred and important process.
Completion allows us to bring things to a close with a sense of gratitude, authenticity, and peace. When we allow ourselves to experience a sense of true completion, we move into the next phase of life bringing with us the gifts, lessons, accomplishments, experiences, and more from what we've just been through. When we don't take the time to truly complete something, we end up carrying baggage, regrets, fear, and unresolved issues into our next experience. These things don't serve us and often end up undermining our success and fulfillment.
As we get ready for 2010 and begin to think specifically about what we want to create and experience in this new year, one of the most important things we can do is to complete 2009 in an authentic and powerful way.
Here are some questions you can ask and answer yourself, as a way to create a sense of completion for 2009:
1) What were my biggest lessons in 2009?
2) What am I most proud of from this past year?
3) What were my biggest disappointments in 2009?
4) What am I ready to let go of from this past year?
5) What else do I need to do or say to be totally complete with 2009?
As you take some time to think about and write down your answers to these questions, see if you can reflect on this past year with a sense of appreciation and empathy. The word "appreciate" means to recognize the value of (not necessarily like, agree with, or want to experience again). Whether your year was "wonderful," "terrible," or somewhere in between - we each have so much we can appreciate about this past year. And, it's important for us to have as much empathy as we possibly can for ourselves, especially right now. If you're anything like me, you probably had some big failures or disappointments this past year. When we can remember that we almost always do the best we can with what we have in each moment of our lives, we can hopefully let go of our feelings of shame, guilt, or embarrassment over any of the things that didn't go as planned for us in 2009.
See if you can create some sacred time in the next few days to share your answers to these completion questions with some of the important people in your life (and maybe ask them to answer these questions as well). By creating a conscious intention for completion, you will give yourself the gift of appreciation for this past year and in so doing, allow a space to open up in which you can create your goals and intentions for 2010 with a sense of peace, power, and clarity. And, as you ponder these questions, you may realize that there is something important you want to do or say in order to leave 2009 behind and step into 2010 with freedom and peace.
Have fun with this. And, congratulations on completing another year of this magical, bizarre, wonderful adventure we call life - what a ride!
Mike Robbins is a sought-after motivational keynote speaker, coach, and the bestselling author of Focus on the Good Stuff (Wiley) and Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken (Wiley). More info - www.Mike-Robbins.com