A blank state. Every year starts off as such, and throughout the year, wins, learning opportunities (losses), and growth is imminent. For the last couple of years, I have found that the best way for me to start the next year off on a path for continued growth, is to go through a process of reading, writing, and reflecting on the path that I have walked that year. My guide are the journals that I have written in on a daily basis throughout the year.

Business’s at the end of the year are always interested in the year end report. What is the bottom line? Why should we not be so interested in our own bottom line? How did we fare throughout the year? What were our wins? What did we learn? Where can we grow?

To that end, I like to set aside some time toward the end of the year, gather up my journals, a few blank pieces of paper and head to my favorite local coffee shop. With a warm mug of cappuccino and some John Coltrane playing through my ear buds, I engage in a 3 step process.

Read:  I go back and reread every journal entry. Sometimes it is just a quote that I wrote down that day. Others, it is a review of my progress toward goals that I had established, and other times, it is simply where my current state of being and feeling is. I don’t rush, and often times will find myself revisiting those thoughts, emotions, and situations that caused me to take pen to paper and write about it.

Write: On the blank pieces of paper, I will start to write down the big and small wins that occurred throughout the year. Losses, what I like to call learning opportunities, might also find their way on to the paper, but only if I have done something with that opportunity might also jot down words that appear frequently in my writing. This year, for example, it was INTENTION. Quickly, as the pages of the journal turn, the blank slate (paper), that I started with starts to fill. We often make far more progress than we thought we did when we write about it.

Reflect: With a blank slate (paper) now filled with wins, and maybe some learning opportunities, I ask myself these two questions: What did I learn? Where did I grow? Now for me, after spending a considerable amount of time reading, and writing about the year, reflecting is best done through movement. I might sit and think about for a bit, but looking at slate (paper) that I have filled with a year’s worth of journey, over the next couple of days, I will reread it and use the time when I am running, walking, or on my yoga mat, to “chew” on what I have learned. It is during this time, that I begin to set the foundation and roots for the year that is about to follow.

You can’t go back and change the past. You can learn from it. This process over the last couple of years has really helped me to take action towards walking a more authentic path. A path that has me leaning into my vulnerabilities and igniting a fire to simply not be content with how I serve others. To know that there is more work that I can and want to do.