Can you believe it that two weeks of 2017 already flew by? Some people have already written out their bucket lists for this year. Some have already forgotten about them. And some people do not even care that we started a new year. Whatever is your situation, I believe that the beginning of a new year is a perfect time for reflection and introspection. This is the moment when you can look at everything that happened to you last year. You can analyze things more clearly and from a slightly different angle.
So I want to encourage you to take some time to reflect on 2016. Think about the important lessons you have learnt from your achievements and from your failures as well. As Bill Gates said, “It’s fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.”
If you do not know how to harvest the lessons from 2016, I’m here to help. I have 3 interesting activities for you. Feel free to try them all or pick one that seems inspiring. I chose these activities because I or my friends have already tried them. And I think that they can truly help you put things in perspective and gain some insights.
16 Words for 2016
This is probably the easiest exercise of the three. You can try it by yourself or with a group of friends. As you probably imagine, you have to pick 16 words that describe your life in 2016. Choose the words that best tell your story. By doing this, you can put things in a new perspective. You realize what really mattered in the end.
And then, you can also pick a few words for 2017. What experiences do you want to live this year? Once you know what you want, you can write your story in a way that includes those words!
The Map of People
We all know that we use maps to depict places and regions. But I think that people are much more important than places. So I want to encourage you to make a map of people. The idea is to create a map of the people that mattered to you most last year. And then, look at the way they connect. How did you meet the new people? Have you met them through a common friend? Then make a connection between them. As cities, people are connected too. By doing this, you realize how the people in your life are connected to each other and to you.
If you want to, take this one step further. After creating the map of people, think about one lesson that you have learned from each of them. Or think about the way they have changed you or your life. Places, just like people, do not mean much to us if they simply exist out there in the world. They become important when they make us feel or do something. They matter most when they have the power to change us. Do you know who changed you? If you do, I have one more suggestion.
This activity can be connected to the previous one but you can also do it independently. Think about the people that had a really good impact on you last year. Choose one, five or 16 people and write a gratitude letter to each of them. You choose the number of people and you can send them a letter or a message or an email. You decide. Tell them why they are important to you and how they changed your year. Thank them for the way they made you feel or for what you learned from them. As John F. Kennedy said, “We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.” Let people know how much you care. Be grateful for the good they brought in your life. And repay them with your kind and honest praise.
These are the ideas that I wanted to share with you. Maybe you have other rituals for the beginning of the year. If you don’t, I want to encourage you to take the time and reflect on the past. We should not be running from the past and it should not hold us back. It can teach us many lessons, if we want to learn. And once we acknowledge and accept our past, we can come back in the present and live fully. We can start going towards the future. Let’s harvest the good of the past and move towards a brighter future – right now!