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How to Reflect on 2012 and Set Yourself Up for Success in 2013

How to Reflect on 2012 and Set Yourself Up for Success in 2013

2012 is almost over and what a crazy year it has been!

At the end of the year comes the beginning of a new year, and with the beginning of a new year comes the beginning of a new set of goals. At the beginning of a new set of goals comes the opportunity to live a more satisfying, successful and happy life, and it’s how you treat this process that will influence your success in the coming year.

To ensure that 2013 is set to be the best year you have ever had, it’s important to reflect on the year that was. What are the things that you are most proud of? What are the biggest discoveries you have made this year? What has made you the happiest? Understanding the answers to these questions will give you a huge boost in ensuring 2013 is the year that you change your life.

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Every year I have a process of reflection that I go through to ensure that I am progressing in life and being satisfied and fulfilled. If we don’t reflect on our lives, we don’t know if we are heading in the right direction, and we don’t learn from the events that have shaped our lives.

People who do not take the time to reflect on their lives often feel “lost”, or that they are just drifting through life. It’s absolutely crazy how many people feel this way. In fact, I ran a survey a couple of months ago and the responses blew me away.

Although 91% of respondents noted that they feel it’s extremely important to have clarity about what you want to do with your life, only 34% of respondents indicated that they have some clarity about the direction in which they want to go—that leaves a whopping 66% with little or no focus. Out of a survey of over 200 respondents, not one individual mentioned that they get to live their passion on a daily basis.

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This is why reflecting on 2012 is vitally important.

Reflecting on the year-that-was helps you to identify your successes and help determine your strengths; it helps you to ensure that you are progressing towards your larger goals in life; and it helps you lay the foundation for goal-setting, assisting you in ensuring that 2013 is going to be the best year you have ever had.

Right now is the best time to reflect on your life and the year of 2012, so I encourage you to take 20 minutes to participate in the exercise below.

How to reflect on the previous year

Find yourself a peaceful and quiet location to reflect on the past year, a place where there are no distractions around so you can really focus your thoughts. An ideal location would be somewhere outside of your own home—perhaps a beach or a nearby park. Find somewhere you can set your mind free.

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Take a notepad and pen with you, or if you’re into technology, take your iPad or similar device.

Write down your answers to the questions below, but note that these questions are just a guide: depending on your individual circumstances, you may want to add your own questions that are more specific or relevant to your life.

Ready? Here goes:

  • What are the 5 things of 2012 that you are most proud of?
  • What new connections have you made, and how have these shaped your life?
  • What experience has made you the happiest?
  • Who has made you happiest?
  • What have been the best moments in your career this year?
  • What changes would you make to your career in 2013?
  • What challenges did you overcome this year? How did you do it?
  • What has held you back from achieving what you wanted to do this year?
  • What can you do in 2013 to ensure this doesn’t happen again?
  • What habit did you acquire this year that has made a difference?
  • What habit has prohibited you from achieving what you wanted this year?
  • What habit do you want to enable in 2013 that will make a difference?
  • What was your biggest mistake in 2012? What have you learned from this?
  • What else have you learned this year?
  • What are 3 words that sum up your year?
  • If you were to live 2012 all over again, what would you do differently?
  • Add your own!

The Next Steps

Now that you have reflected on the past year, keep your answers at the front of your mind, and file your notes about them nearby so you can refer to them regularly. Your reflections will become the starting point for setting your goals for the year, and those goals for 2013 will be much more targeted and more relevant to what it is that truly makes you happy.

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It only takes 20 to 30 minutes to do this, and this short reflection can have a huge impact on your overall well-being, your learning, and your success for 2013.

Let me know how it goes as I would love to hear your experiences! 2013 is going to be an amazing year. I can feel it!

Featured photo credit:  abstract image of a businessmen rushing in the lobby via Shutterstock

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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