Believe it or not, another year has nearly come and gone.

This season is the time of year where most of us feel reflective and find ourselves thinking back over everything that’s happened during the year.

Being in a contemplative place can be a great way to take stock of everything and assess where we’re at with our goals, endeavors, and personal relationships too. However, all too often, when we’re weighing up our achievements and successes, our shortcomings are the things that often stand out most clearly in our minds.

But while being hard on ourselves is something that we’re all-too-good at, this type of negative self-talk is something that can have a damaging impact on our mindset—clouding our perspective, and even dampening our ability to reach our goals. Far from spurring you on and inspiring you to do even better, being too hard on yourself can actually have the opposite effect—causing you to feel disheartened and demotivated.

Instead of succumbing to the temptation to notice all of the ways that you “failed,” why not make this time of year an opportunity to celebrate all of the things that did go right, the accomplishments that you’ve had, and the things that you did well? Each and every achievement—no matter how small—is something, and it’s something worth acknowledging and commemorating!

With this in mind, let’s explore a few ways that we can assess our year with grace and celebration!

Take Stock of Your Achievements

First, you’ll want to collect your thoughts and assess everything that’s happened throughout the year. Flipping through your planner or calendar can be a great way to help jog your memory. Try creating a master list of things that you feel especially proud of, or achievements that you’ve made this year. Personal milestones, professional achievements, and other accomplishments should all go down on this list. Once it’s written down, you’ll be able to see it all—and then celebrate it! Recognize it for what it is: a milestone that’s worth acknowledging! End the year on a positive note, and start the new one fresh and ready to achieve more great things.

Evaluate the Positive Things in Your Life

Next, it’s time to think for a moment about everything that you have to be grateful for. This can include kind things that others have done for you as well as those small moments that may not seem like much at the time, but stand out to you later when reflecting back on your day. A kind word from a stranger, an encouraging note, a friend remembering your birthday, a hug from a loved one—all of these things are meaningful and resonate with us in a real way. So spend some time looking back over the year, and thinking back over all of the things that you have to be thankful for.

Consider What You’ve Learned

At year’s end, most of us are plagued with frustrations over things that didn’t go as planned, or areas where we feel that we fell short. When you think back over your year, which situations stand out the most in your mind? Often, it’s the mistakes that we see the most clearly. If you feel frustrated by things that happened throughout the year, or certain areas where you didn’t succeed as well as you’d like, write them down in a list; get them all out on paper. Now, it’s time to take to take a look and ask ourselves what lessons can be learned from these things. Using what we view as shortcomings as an opportunity to grow, instead of belittling ourselves over them, can help us to develop. Remember, we’re all at different points on our journey and none of us are perfect. Being able to honestly and accurately acknowledge our mistakes can help us to become stronger and more like the person we’d like to become.

The New Year is a great time for assessing our success and planning for the future, but it’s important to remember that it’s also about celebrating what we’ve done, and the good things that we have right now. Rather than focusing on things that were left undone or perhaps not completed to our standards, it’s far more valuable to prioritize lessons learned and things that we are grateful for. Then look forward to the New Year as a symbol of a fresh start—with new plans and priorities, and opportunities to try again.

Are you looking forward to the New Year? What happened this past year that you’re celebrating or grateful for?

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