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by Jayne Johnson

The end of 2002 fast approaches and before we know it, we’ll be celebrating the arrival of a new year.

Time has flown by , hasn’t it?! Where did it go? We might also be inclined to ask, what have we done in and with that time?

As we look toward the coming new year, after all the celebrations and parties have ended, we have the opportunity to consider the year gone by, what we have accomplished, what goals went by the wayside, and in general, how we feel about ourselves and our future.

The potential to make less of ourselves, to criticize ourselves for the “could’a-would’a-should’a’s,” is ever-present but perhaps never more so than at the end of the year, typically a time for retrospection and review of the past year’s events.

It can be a trap, the trap of focusing on the negative: what went wrong, what didn’t happen, what we didn’t achieve, what we failed to do, the reasons why, etc. What are New Year’s Resolutions for but to say or imply, “I failed at ‘XYZ’ so my New Year’s Resolution is to succeed at ‘XYZ’ next year”?

It’s all too familiar, and all too easy to get caught up in it. And whether we need “help” criticizing ourselves or not, we sometimes have people around us who will be glad to point out our “failures” and exacerbate the negativity.

I propose a different tack, one of consciously and purposefully focusing on the positive. What have you accomplished this year? Who helped you? Who supported you? What are all the right things that you did, “big” or “small”? What were your successes?

In my Goals Workshops I present data I call “20 Keys to Goal Attainment,” and two of those 20 are, “Anchor Your Wins by Celebrating” and “Be Grateful for and Acknowledge What You Have.”

I have found that those two keys play a major part, not only in attaining our goals but in simply being happy and staying happy. And it’s easy and fun to do! Get out the paper or the computer and start a list of all your wins and all for which you feel appreciative.

Write everything down, no censoring. The mind might jump in with, “Oh, that’s no big deal, don’t write that down,” or “That was easy to do so it doesn’t count.” Everything counts, so write it all down. When you run out of ideas, take a break and then come back and write down some more. The more you write, the more will come to mind. Your list might seem endless – now there’s a “problem” no one would mind having!

Next step is to celebrate; celebrate yourself, celebrate all those who helped and supported you. Thank them. Thank yourself. Then let it all go, let 2002 be done, complete; let it all go and welcome in 2003, a clean slate, all ready for you to start creating your dreams anew.