As the year comes to a close, I am preparing for my annual reflection. I like to set aside some quiet time to consciously and purposely reflect on my year. I find doing so can be cathartic, memory-invoking, clarifying, and/or prepare me for what’s ahead.
I am not a big believer in New Year’s resolutions, as we tend to pile on too many things–new goals, changes in behavior, career motivations, etc–and set ourselves up for failure when we scatter our focus. Instead, I do find one or two aspirations I want to include in my upcoming year. These aspirations are generally positive changes in my life, things that empower me, things that make me feel good, and for the most part, are unseen by and unspoken to others, but often felt by them.
In order to arrive at my new aspirations, I first take time to consider the previous year. I like to start with the big picture: Was it a great year, a good year, a mediocre year, or a year I’d rather forget?
When I think I’ve identified the status of the previous year, I then ask myself, “Why was it a ______ year? What/who stands out as having impacted that the most?”
Once I identify key components, such as the passing of friends or family, reaching a milestone in business, financial success or failures, or changes in friend or family status, I spend some time reflecting upon those.
It is at this point many people would make some sort of blanket statement like, “My life sucked last year, I want it to be better!” or perhaps, “Life gave me lemons, but I managed to get by.” or even, “I was lucky and everything came up roses for me!” However, I go deeper and look not only at the event’s impact, but on how I perceived the event and how my thoughts, feelings and actions impacted my life.
You see, that’s the truth of life: Things happen. Good, bad, great, unexpected, joyful, hurtful, saddening things. And they happen to us all. However, it’s how we choose to manage ourselves, our thoughts, our feelings, and our perceptions that determine how these things impact our lives.
It’s the greatest gift of our lives, this ability to choose! We may not always choose to live or work exactly where we want; we may not choose our medical, financial, or relationship health; we may not be able to choose the amount of demands placed upon us, but we can choose in the most important way: We can choose to find happiness and joy within. I know some of you reading this now are shaking your heads and declaring that I don’t know jack! Trust me, I do.
I’ve had many, many conversations with people that go something like this: “But you don’t understand…they hurt me, they don’t respect me, they didn’t do what I want, so I’m unhappy!”or “I am broke, I have a horrible relationship, nobody helps me, and I hate my job, that’s why I’m not happy!” That is so far from the truth, but we are conditioned to be victims rather than warriors. And for the record I know how to play the victim card as well as anyone–being a victim is easier, for some reason more socially acceptable (misery loves company and all that), and garners far more attention than being happy. Countless numbers of people give their happy away to their circumstances or to the actions of others. My heart breaks for them as they don’t realize they still have the power to be happy, regardless what is happening around or to them. I sometimes just want to shout, “Aspire for more–you’re worthy!!”
In fact, no matter where you are on life’s scale–ASPIRE FOR MORE!!
Aspire to be joyful despite whatever circumstances you encounter. Aspire to live your life–your one and only chance at this–with a full and loving heart. Aspire to see the glass half full every time. Aspire to forgive others and keep them close to your heart. Aspire to be the voice of understanding in the room full of fear. Aspire to be authentically you. We are blessed beings and we should each own that. We have so much to share with one another.
As you reflect back and make your aspirations, I remind you the only way to turn down the negativity, to bring light into darkness, and to bring love where there is misunderstanding is to start within. Won’t you aspire to shine your light brightly this coming year so next year you can fill in the blank and say, “This year was GREAT!”?
May your aspirations bring you many blessings in 2016,
The Yellow Kite
P.S. I had a GREAT year and I aspire for an even greater one in 2016!