“Happy Xmas” by John Lennon and Yoko Ono

Hi Everyone!

One of my favorite December songs is “Happy Xmas” by John Lennon and Yoko Ono. The lyrics start with

“So this is Christmas
And what have you done
Another year over
And a new one just begun”.

Every year when I hear this song, I begin to think about what “I have done” and whether I accomplished the most important things in terms of what I set out to do. There is not a better time for reflection then at the end of something and the beginning of the new. I know most of you are thinking-“Is she crazy-doesn’t she realize how busy my schedule is?” I certainly do as my schedule is also full. However, if we don’t set aside time for reflection we risk moving into 2016 without a solid evaluation of what’s working in our lives and what is not. As a result we may be destined to repeat 2016 in the same manner that we moved through 2015. Jack Canfield  in “The Principles of Success” shares that we have to keep score in order to know whether we are creating and reaching goals and part of keeping score is evaluating what we have accomplished.

What does your score sheet look like and does it measure what matters most to you?

Keeping score also allows for the process of reflection. Reflection is an important component of how adults learn. We learn from not only from our experiences but also from the interpretations and reinterpretations of those experiences. When we pause and reflect upon circumstances and then apply a different framework to our circumstances we can create new ways of acting and thinking. Using the process of reflection and introspection on an on-going basis leads to increased levels of awareness, insight, and self-acceptance. Many times these moments of reflection can result in epiphanies from which we can chose new thoughts and behaviors. Bob Rotella in “How Champions Think”  adds that champions self-evaluate and reflect after setting their own standards and do not simply wait for others to provide evaluations in order to move forward into success. What is your process for reflection and self-evaluation?

The end of the year also brings us to a time for celebration. How do you celebrate your success? In a recent meeting with leaders within an organization I work with, leaders were asked how they celebrate. Many did not have a response. When we asked “why”, a couple of obstacles were shared. The first obstacle was there is not enough time. Celebration requires planning and typically ends up at the bottom of a list. They also share that they sometimes hold back celebrating until projects are completed and goals are met. There thinking was that celebrating too early could lead to a loss of momentum. There have been numerous articles written about the importance of rewarding ourselves when we are making progress not just at the point of completion and that this celebration actually builds momentum. John Norcross in “Changeology” shares that early on in reaching milestones, rewards need to be immediate and intense while later on in a more stabilized change effort rewards are more meaningful. How comfortable are you with celebrating and rewarding your self? In what ways do you reward progress and celebrate success?

As you prepare for 2016, don’t forget to reflect upon 2015 successes. One of the best ways to create our future is to leverage what we know about our past successes! Celebrations can help to rewire our brains so that our focus is on what leads to success rather than what is missing. Shawn Achor in “The Happiness Advantage” relates that this rewiring creates what he calls the positive tetris effect and sets us up for happiness, gratitude and optimism. As you are making plans and setting goals for 2016, make sure you build in time for rewards and celebrations!

To Your Success!
Dr. Peggy