November – Assess. Simplify. Focus.

With the new year almost visible on the horizon, time has already started to speed up as this year brings itself to a close.  It’s not that long since we were preparing to welcome a new decade, and now here comes 2023.  Rather than allowing ourselves to be carried away by the speed of the closing year and the seemingly indiscriminate demands of everything around us, now is the time to assesssimplify and focus.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve spoken about various forms of focus.  Finishing the year strong by focusing on direction, determination and energy spend1; handling change and self-doubt by remembering that we’re all human and checking in with each other2; remembering to breathe, connect and communicate as the year brings itself to a close3, and reassessing whether your focus is inward or outward by what results it’s yielding4.
Another viewpoint worth considering before we bring 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 2023.
There is no possible way that any of us can go through change that happens around us and not come away changed ourselves.  The world has and continues to change.  The way we do business is changing.  The way we address life is changing for many of us.  We have grown, stretched, and developed in ways we’re not even aware of until we pause to consider it.  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.
Whether you are currently tired or energised, you’re a more complete individual than you were when you started the year.  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 of skills, knowledge and perspective.
Before we discard this year, it’s worth pausing to consider who you were 12 months ago, and what you’ve brought yourself through.  Where were you standing in your life this time last year and what did you think lay ahead?  What did it feel like to stand at that stage?  What did your personal and professional life look like?  Where was your health at?  Your relationships?  Your finances?  What has transpired in the last year and what has it required of you to come through it?  What have you gained and what have you let go? 
Consider what this past year has presented and what you have achieved.  Consider the gains and losses of each month of this year as well as the learnings, lessons and takeaways.  Whether your gains are visibly obvious or not, you have overcome and leveled up in ways that only change and challenge can inspire.  Write out the months on a piece of paper and continue to add the details of what they contained as they come back to mind.  What have you overcome to be here today?
Acknowledge yourself.  You are changed.  You have grown.  You are more.
Once we have considered the gifts and changes that this year has brought, we can once again look forward to what is coming.  As much as there are lessons and strengths gained that are worth taking forward with you, there are also things worth leaving behind.  There are things worth discarding and letting go of that can be left in this year and not carried with you to the next.  These things may be beliefs, experiences, relationships, projects, intentions, systems, goals or any other representation.  There are bound to be things that you have outgrown, moved past and superseded, or which are just 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 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 possible that they have been a part of your thinking for enough time to become rooted.  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; creating clean, clear space for new things to come.
What are those three things for you that you do not wish to carry forward into 2023?  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?
There is probably some correlation between the strengths, skills, and lessons you’ve gained this year and what is required to bring this year to a powerful close.  Pause.  Consider what is past and what you’ve gained.  Assess.  Consider what you can take with you and what must stay behind.  Simplify what remains and prioritise where your focus needs to lie.  Choose.  Decide on a way forward.  Act.

Previously mentioned articles:
1. Finishing the year strong by focusing on direction, determination and energy spend
2. Handling change and self-doubt by remembering that we’re all human and checking in with each other
3. Remembering to breathe, connect and communicate as the year brings itself to a close
4. Reassessing whether your focus is inward or outward by what results it’s yielding

by Christen Killick

November 14th, 2022

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