Looking Back, Planning Forward

Take some time for thoughtful reflection at the end of the year

Some things to consider when looking over the year; lessons learned, accomplishments achieved, shifts in your mind-set. It’s also helpful to consider previous years and the mile-stones and accomplishments they held for you that helped you with your success this year. (How will your success this year affect your plans in the coming years?)

Some specific questions you can ask yourself as you meditate on the year: What have you learned about yourself? What specific mind-set shifts have you learned (and/or) implemented in your life? Did you end any bad habits (or) start any new healthy habits?

Have you made any financial strides, whether small or big, over the last year?

Depending on where you are in your life, and your personal circumstances, your financial successes will look completely different from anyone else’s, to help you think about the various ways that a financial success would look for you in the last year, I have complied a list of various possibilities that you can use to help in your thoughtful meditation on this matter:

Your Financial Accomplishments

Financial successes can include; paying off a debt, having a paying client, selling something you’ve created, consolidated (any type) of debts so you’re able to pay them off, applied for scholarships/grants (and received them), settled anything you were dealing with in court, moved to more affordable housing, selling something or stopping an unneeded service, finding lower cost services/utilities/options (including products at the store), applying for assistance (this help can be a huge step in your financial success when you’ve exhausted all your options and still need to pay your bills, this includes using resources like the food shelf, and food assistance from the government).

These are just some examples of what a financial stride may look like, to give you an idea of how to think more specifically about your financial successes. Each step you take in your financial life toward your personal goals is an accomplishment in and of itself, spend time in appreciation and reverence for how far you’ve come, no matter where you are in life.

Take some time to look at various aspects of your life, like your personal relationships, these can be with family, friends or lover(s); look at your business successes and how far you have come since deciding to start your own venture, remember that every step you take is a step closer to your goals.

How far You’ve Progressed in Your Business

Some things you might consider when thinking about your business successes, there are numerous facets of any business, and they will look different for each business and each person who runs the business, these are a few examples of what you might consider when thoughtfully meditating on your own business accomplishments:

Business successes can include; creating a plan or setting goals (this can include various forms of business plans, but if you’re not a ‘business-plan-type-of-person’ then any plans/goals/milestones you’ve set your mind to are steps in your business success), brainstorming (and/or) creating any type of product or service is a monumental step in your business success (it means that you have something to provide of value for your potential clients/customers), where you are doing business – renting/leasing space, whether its physical space or digital space, and creating your presence in that space (i.e. branding) allows your customers/clients to find you, and any other steps in the creation and growth of your business are going to be important to meditate on, these accomplishments will set or build on your foundation for the future years of your business.

Looking Within

Looking both inside yourself and outside of yourself are good places to start your meditational look at the year. Have you created/adopted any personal mantras that have helped you take positive steps forward? Some mantra’s that I have used this last year include: “All in time” “One step at a time” “I am open to receiving” “Progress, not perfection” – your personal mantras may be totally different, adaptions of these mantras are something very personal. When it comes to identifying a personal mantra, it’s helpful to remember that its personal, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks of it, you don’t ever have to share it if you don’t want to, it’s a foundation you can build a new habit on, build new personal strength on, it can help you through rough times and good times, they are useful to anchor your experiences around so that you’re not floating aimlessly, you can use them as a refuge and sanctuary, and so much more. How you choose to use your personal mantras is for you alone.

Creating a Personal Theme for the Year

Something that I have been doing for some years now, is giving each year its own personal title. For example, I will take the most prominent influences of the year and give the year an overarching theme. I like to give the year a theme before it starts, and this gives me focus for that year, sometimes at the end of the year my focus will have shifted and thus the overarching theme of the year might shift, but that’s ok, how was I to know what the year would bring? But I have grown to loving the idea that my years have a theme to them, something I strive towards during the year.

Examples of my person themes have been: “the end of an age” (this was the theme I choose at the end of 2007, when my marriage ended in abuse and separation), “reclaiming myself/my life” (this was the theme I chose for 2008, when my divorce was finalized, when I chose to stick to my plans of independent living and when I started school), 2009 was my year of “new beginnings” (in fact I did a lot of art that year, and titled the collection of paintings I created “New Beginnings”), 2010 was “a time to experiment” (I went through a lot of ideas that I wanted to try for a long time, and was able to rule out those things I didn’t want to pursue in business and those that I did want to pursue), this last year, 2011, has been “a time of transition” (I decided on a major move to a new state to ‘re-set’ myself, I had many personal transitions, and many other transitions in mind-set, in school, in self-care, in business).

I keep a list of my personal year’s theme, so that I can reflect upon how far I have come and project the possibilities for my future that I still need to take steps towards. This has helped me to project next year’s theme. Through this process I’ve decided that next year, 2012, will have a focus of “building solid foundations” (this is for every part of my life, and will be my main focus as I enter the year and how I want to spend the year so that my following years will have a solid foundation to build upon.)

How do you plan for the future? Let us know in the comments.

Stay tuned, I have a series coming up in January and February, where I interviewed artists about their relationship with their art.

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Hoping you have a wonderful holiday, and I will see you next year :)

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