With the new year almost visible on the horizon, time has already started to speed up as this year brings itself to a close. 2022 still seems a little futuristic to me, and yet here we are considering it. Rather than allowing ourselves to be carried away by the speed of the closing year and the indiscriminate demands of everything around us, now is the time to assess, simplify and focus.
Bringing this year to an effective end requires us to do two things – to assess the gifts it’s brought us, and to decide what we’d like to top off before we move into 2022.
There is no possible way that any of us have been through the degree of change that the past year (or two) has brought and not come away changed ourselves. We have grown, stretched, and developed in ways we’re not even aware of. We’ve expended energy in a million directions, juggled multiple balls we never dreamed of previously, felt emotions of new descriptions and depth, and made decisions with new priorities in mind. All these things have gifted us new learnings that have added to our awareness, competence, and compassion – both for ourselves and others.
Before we discard this year, it’s worth pausing to consider who you were 11 months ago, and what you’ve brought yourself through. Whether you are currently tired or energised, you’re a more complete individual than you started this year as. Each month has brought its challenges, considerations, learnings and decisions. Each month has asked you to stretch and evolve. You have done more than just cope because you have grown. You have added to your arsenal and your perspective.
Pause for a moment and take yourself back to January 2021. Consider what it held for you, professionally and personally – what it felt like to stand at that stage. Consider what it presented, what you achieved or didn’t, what you overcame and were overcome by. Consider how you rose because you are not overwhelmed by the same things now, and your achievements have been built on since then. Consider the gains and losses of each month of this year. Consider the learnings, lessons and take-aways. Whether your gains are visually obvious or not (and I’m not talking about the lockdown kgs), you have overcome and leveled up in ways that only change and challenge can inspire. If you have the time, write out the months on a piece of paper and continue to add the details as they come back to mind.
Acknowledge yourself. You are changed. You have grown. You are more.
Once we have considered the gifts and change that this year has brought, we can once again look forward at what is oncoming. As much as there are lessons and strengths gained that are worth taking forward with you, there are some things that are worth leaving behind. There are things worth discarding and letting go of which should be left in this year and not carried with you to the next. Whether these are beliefs, experiences, relationships, projects, intentions, systems, goals or any other representation, there are bound to be things that you have outgrown, moved past, superseded or which are no longer serving you.
Assess what’s on your plate and simplify by determining what is clutter and what requires prioritisation. What are the top three things that you would like to cap off and leave behind in this year as you transition on to the new year? What do you not wish to still be dealing with come January?
Whatever form these things take, it is likely that they have been a part of your thinking for enough time that they are attached. Actively prioritising the focus needed to cap these things off, weed them out, bring them to an end and discard them means you can end the year powerfully and with finality.
What are those three things for you that you do not wish to carry forward into 2022? Which three things will feel disappointing or unfinished if you take them with you further? Which will make the year feel effective to know they are finished. Which, if completed, will provide a foundation for what comes next? What steps require your action over the next few weeks to bring those matters to a close?
I have no doubt that there is some correlation between the strengths, skill and lessons you’ve gained this year and what is required to bring this year to a powerful close. Pause. Assess. Simplify what remains and prioritise where your focus needs to lie. Choose. Decide. Act.
by Christen Killick
November 8th, 2021