You Have to Know Where You Have Been
In Order to Know Where You Are Going
IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN. You’re probably thinking, turkey, black Friday, holiday shopping, parties and the hustle and bustle of the upcoming holiday season looming on the horizon. While your thoughts are traditional and anticipatory, they are the ordinary thoughts that come to mind at this time of the year. Though these are wonderful thoughts in preparation for the end of the year, my thoughts are already on the coming year, 2013. What are my plans, what do I need to put in place during the remainder of the year to prepare for the new year?
It is at this time of the year that I begin my “Year in Review”. A ritualistic activity of journal writing that allows me to reflect on where I’ve been and how far I have come over the past year. What have I been through, what have I accomplished, and what can I learn from this compilation of memories? This is a ritual that I have committed to every year for the past seven years. This wonderful discipline has allowed me to peer into the rear view mirror of the past twelve months and discover how I got to where I am today. It is a welcome companion in my quest for personal growth.
Many times, we fail to capture the intricate details of our lives and miss the opportunity to grow from our experiences. While the practice of journaling — capturing your thoughts and feelings on paper, helps you to sort out life’s nuances, your commitment to a “Year in Review” affords you the ability to steer your course and chart your life’s direction. For me, it has yielded lessons learned that have helped me to move closer to where I need to be; on the path of pursuing the purpose that God has designed especially for me.
NO DOUBT, at the beginning of this year, your head was swimming with possibilities; plans for change, new beginnings, resolutions, promises, and undoubtedly commitments that you vowed not to break. In the words of Wendy Williams, “How you doin’?” Are you where you thought you would be? If you are, I am proud of you. If not, the question you have to ask yourself is why not? What got in the way? What have you learned over the past year, and how will you apply that knowledge to your life moving forward?
This is not the time to beat yourself up. It’s the time to design a course correction based on the reality of where you currently stand on the platform of life. It’s an opportunity to tap into your internal discontent to get you to where you want to be. In John Maxwell’s newest book, “The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth,” he shares a story of a famous baseball player, Ted Williams who, even though he was the greatest hitter in history, he never stopped his quest for learning and growing. He made it a point to seek new information that he could use to take him to the next level. He understood that growth stops when you lose the tension between where you are and where you could be. Your “Year in Review” is a tool you create to aid in your own process of personal growth and forward movement toward life on your terms.
If you’re anything like me, you know that you have a purpose. You know that you were placed on this earth for a reason, not to just suck up air. Your destiny has been identified. It’s up to you to walk it out. If you look at where you are, you have to ask the question, “am I doing what I was sent here to do?” If your answer leads to frustration and disappointment, let that be your nudge to chart a course that will position you on the right path. Your “Year in Review” is the first step in identifying your current position and will provide you with the motivation you need to move in the direction that is needed to set you on the right course.
WHERE DO I START?
START BY CARVING OUT QUALITY TIME; a Friday or Saturday evening, a morning of solitude, or an afternoon in the park. This is a time of solitude and enjoyment. The time it will take for this is totally up to you. I typically carve out a couple of hours of quiet time with no opportunities for distractions. Treat yourself to a cup of coffee, hot tea, or a nice mug of hot chocolate. (Might I suggest that you stay away from libations at this time—it tends to muddy the emotional waters.) Choose a nice pen and journal or notepad, one that invites you to write. You may consider a variety of pens just in case one runs out of ink. The option of a laptop, smart phone or electronic notepad is there, but as an avid journal writer, I prefer pen and paper. There is a special feeling that comes along with transferring thoughts and emotions from head and heart through your fingers down on paper.
If you have been keeping a journal over the past year, re-visiting your past journal entries will make it easy to pull information regarding events that have occurred.
- Pull out events and occurrences; i.e., job changes, job losses, endings and beginnings, anything that is relevant to things that have happened over the past year. This is not the time to dwell on the emotional aspect, merely the occurrence.
- Compile each occurrence, preferably by month and write them on a piece of paper.
- Once you have compiled this information, review them. It’s an amazing experience when you begin to see this compilation on paper.
- Begin to journal your thoughts and feelings regarding this compilation of experiences.
- Continue to journal and reflect on what you have learned and how you can apply what you have learned to move you closer to where you need to be in the coming year.
- Create an action plan for forward progression.
If you have not kept a journal over the past year, this is your opportunity to build on your “Year in Review” for 2013.
- Review past emails and social media posts and activities that may provide information on your experiences over the past year. Be sure to go all the way back to January.
- Follow steps 2 through 6 above.
YOUR ABILITY TO LOOK BACK at where you have been will provide answers to where you are and will equip you to move in the direction where you need to be in the coming year.
So what are you waiting for? January will be here before you know it! I would love to hear how you have progressed from your “Year in Review”. Please email me your revelations (firstname.lastname@example.org) or leave me a comment on this post. I can’t wait to hear testimonies of your growth and to celebrate you for the work.