Completing the Last Year (DW#307)

According to a 2016 study published in the journal Memory, recalling memories can enhance our well-being and it is not only so-called positive memories that are beneficial.

The study showed that three types of memories bring about positive emotions:

A positive or happy memory: for positive memories, simply thinking about them is enough to make us happy in the present
Problem solving: Remembering a time when you successfully dealt with a challenge increases your self-esteem and sense of efficacy (the belief in yourself that you can do it)
Memories related to identity: An experience, even if challenging and painful, that shaped the person you are today.

Other studies have suggested that while it is enough to simply think about happy memories, when it comes to memories about overcoming adversity, it is better to communicate them by writing them down (or sharing them with someone) rather than just to think about them.

Coming back to our topic of laying the foundation for a successful year, a great way to intentionally complete the last year is to see the big picture of what last year looked like, what you managed to accomplish and what did not get done.

Here are some suggested questions for reflecting on, and completing last year:

  1. What were your plans last year? What were the major things that you set out to do?

  2. What actually happened?
    a.   What goals did you achieve (give yourself a high five right now!)
    b.   What was left undone?

  3. What were your greatest learnings from last year? Life lessons and lessons from what you tried to do?

  4. What were some challenges that you encountered and dealt with last year? How did you manage to deal with them?

  5. What will you do differently this year?

  6. Are there some open loops – things that you meant to do but did not manage to*?

    a.   Are you going to lay them to rest or set up as goals for this year?

*Open loops unconsciously drain our creative and productive energy – so it is better to consciously accept that something is not on your goal list for now than to ignore it.

This process, although simple is a powerful way to begin the new year in an intentional way.

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