When we are little we are encouraged to write a letter to Father Christmas explaining the reasons we ‘deserve’ presents; if we are lucky this may have encouraged us to reflect on what we have achieved in the previous twelve months that made us ‘good’. We may continue this when we write notes in our Christmas cards telling friends our news. Looking back at the end of the year seems natural to us.
When we acknowledge our achievements we relive the good stuff and our brains reward us further with releasing the feel good hormones that were activated at the time of the original event. It can also be useful to note what felt good last year so that we can have more of it next year. Goal setting in January can be more fun when it is focused on positive aspects rather than denying ourselves and giving things up!
So take a little bit of me time this week to think about all the good things you did this past year; those successes that you feel good about. The little daily triumphs in life that help uplift us. The big actions that lead us to new ways of being. It may work for you to just close your eyes and let the memories come or perhaps your Facebook page is the diary of your good stuff, I find that instagram is a collection of all my happy moments,and working out how to use instagram is on my achievement list this year, along with hashtags,daily tweeting and feeling good about writing a blog! When you have spent time thinking and feeling your victories it’s helpful to find a way to make them tangible. Writing, drawing, creating in some way a tribute to yourself, your personal ‘wow, look at what I have accomplished …… I am amazing’ (and if it makes you feel better write it to Father Christmas!)
Of course there will be sadness for many of us about losses and disappointments from the past year but we can still acknowledge how we responded to those events. It doesn't detract from the importance someone meant to us or the significance sorrow; if we are able to take pride in having been aware of our pain but are still able to smile when the sun comes up we are displaying healthy self-awareness. When we have survived a year of turmoil we should appreciate our own resilience with extra gratitude.
It maybe that you want to look at making a gratitude map when you have finished basking in your achievements for the year, or plotting your positivity path through 2015. Whatever cements all the ‘good stuff’ you have created, the ways you have flourished and the well-being you have promoted in your own life and others.
I like to take a big sheet of paper and let the words flow then add colour and doodles and patterns. This is for no one’s eyes but mine so I don’t need to worry about making sense or spelling correctly. This year I shall take a photo and make it my January screen saver; a reminder of what a fantastic 2015 I made for myself.
And don’t forget when you have basked in your own clever goodness to give yourself a big vote of thanks......it wouldn't hurt to face yourself in the mirror, smile and say out loud "well done, you made it, you are truly fabulous!"