Congratulations! You have officially completed another 365-day journey around the sun. Woohoo.
With a fresh new year ahead of you, the sky is the limit.
You may even feel a sense of renewed energy, motivation and hope for the new year. You feel ready to jump ahead and see what's next.
Exciting right? Yes.
But… if you really want 2019 to be your best year ever, you're going to need to go back in time first.
Don't worry, we won't be hanging out in the past for long. Just a few minutes answering a handful of questions will help you bring the best of 2018 forward with you into the new year.
Handpicking powerful moments to remember and appreciate from 2018 directs our brain to focus on positive memories and lessons.
This matters because if left on its own, our brain can be the worst Debbie Downer you've ever met.
Our brain's natural bias is to interpret data, experiences and memories negatively.
Luckily, there's a way to outsmart your negatively biased brain by intentionally feeding it positive memories, thoughts and feelings.
Pausing and reviewing what " all went right" during the last 12 months is a powerful way to boost your mood, attitude and motivation.
This boost will help you remain resilient after the first few months of the year pass when you typically might start feeling that you are losing momentum.
Here’s how to get started with 4 Easy Questions: 2018 In Review
Give some thought to each of the questions below. Take a few minutes to write out your answers and share them out loud with a colleague or friend. Doing both are great ways to solidify the positive impact of your answers in your brain.
1. What are you most proud of accomplishing in 2018?
2. What new thing did you do that you weren't sure you could at first?
3. What was the most important and helpful lesson you learned this past year?
4. What made you feel loved during the year?
Feel free to add any other questions that will force your brain to produce a positive answer.
Tips if You Had a Tough Year:
If you had a particularly tough year you may find it harder to answer the questions positively. Hang in there and do your best to stick with the questions until you can glean something positive from your year, no matter how small.
Asking someone who knows you well to help you find the good from your year can also be helpful and fun. A friend of mine recently pointed out ways she had seen me grow while I worked through a tough project. She said she noticed that the challenges of the project helped me to be clearer about who I am and how I wanted to express myself. I was so engrossed in the project, I hadn't noticed the shift I had made until she told me. It was great feedback.
One woman, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2018, struggled with answering the questions at first. She wondered how anything positive could come out of being sick.
She stuck with the exercise anyway and challenged her brain to look for the good.
All of a sudden it hit her, in the past year she had gotten to know what she was really made of. She learned that she is so much more courageous than she ever thought she was. She faced her cancer head-on and she felt proud of how strong she had been.
This realization boosted her confidence. She felt a rush of pride and new hope for 2019 that she hadn't felt before.
Trust me, if your brain reminds you of the negative stuff that didn't go so well last year, keep pushing past these immediate responses and challenge yourself to look for the positive, you will be surprised at what you discover.
I would love to hear from you. Let me know what questions you have or share your proudest moment from the past year.
To Your Best 2019, Stephanie
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