By Minhaz Remo
How not to give up on your New Year resolutions before January ends
What if, instead of setting up goals for the New Year, we were to draw up a ledger of things that went right and the things that went wrong in the year that just ended, along with everything we learned from it?
Why would we do that? Oftentimes we live life passively, like we are moving from point A to point B, never reflecting on the things that went right or the things that went wrong.
When we fail to reflect on the bad, we are not learning the lessons it taught us, but also bound to repeat the same mistakes.
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – George Santayana
On the other hand, reflecting on the good things that happened to us, props us up and build our confidence to go for bigger and scarier goals. It gives us a boost in our spirit. But most importantly having an overview of our year gives us stats of our activities, works and projects.
How do we start with the year review?
Unless you are very methodical and organized you do not have a detailed log of all your work and failure, and I believe most of us don’t. Unfortunately, life isn’t like a Spotify Year End Playlist.
A good starting point would be to write down the following things. Take a piece of paper and jot down the things as they pop in your head, you can always redo them! I call it Remo’s 5×5 New Year Plan. This is something I personally do to get a clearer view on life. Below are the 5×5 list for you to get started:
- 5 Key Events – These are our big wins, some of them can be life changing events. Maybe you got a new job, a new project, or perhaps met the love of your life or also faced a major loss.
The purpose of this exercise is to remind you of the wins or losses you faced last year. Think deeply about it, if those are good things that benefitted you, you reverse engineer why or how it happened, so that you can replicate it. Now if it was a disastrous event you can once again reverse engineer the key decisions that led to that situation, make a note of it to never repeat it again.
- 5 Good Things That Happened To You – Gratitude Journaling – This will force your lenses to focus on the good and positive aspects of 2022. This is designed to uplift your morale and boost your confidence. Many times we forget our big wins, and tell ourselves that this year will be no different.
Look back at the big wins, the new friends you made, the new things you did, the new experiences you made. You will be surprised to see that the difference between the start of 2023 and 2022 is day and night.
- 5 Big Mistakes And What Can You Learn From It – this part of the exercise I will call it disaster management. Just like how science predicts the weather in the future by observing it in the past. We will predict and negate the upcoming disaster in our lives by listing the things that went wrong and what we can learn from it.
By no means this is a pessimistic approach to life but rather an optimistic one. We already survived the worst, if we find out why it happened, we will have the data to prevent it. Just like time traveling.
“What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”
– Ecclesiastes 1:9
- 5 Areas You Want To Work On – Judging and reflecting on the 5 key events, 5 good things and 5 mistakes you went through; pick 5 key areas you want to focus on to improve yourselves. It can be your work or productivity, it can be how you make new relationships (friendship or intimate), it can be how you manage your family life, etc.
These key areas you can work on slowly and gradually. Pick 5 areas and write down 2-3 things you can do to improve it. Make it simple. Remember to think on paper, that way you can always go back and forth without jamming up your brain!
- 5 Key Relationships You Want To Cultivate – All the good and bad events of our lives are connected to people. Whether it is our Boss/Mentor, Friends/colleagues, or Family/Relatives these people influence our lifestyles, and are part of our lives.
It is wise to cultivate the relationships in your lives. After all, life doesn’t exist in a vacuum. We are part of a social circle. Life is worth living with the people around us, because without society and social structure in place, we wouldn’t have existed. So, list down 5 key people you want to have a good relationship with and work on that.
If you do these 5×5 Exercises, you will have the insights to start 2023 with a lot more clarity. You will know yourself better, know your patterns of events which follow by your actions.
“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”
―Sun Tzu, The Art of War
No mindless goal setting this year! Hope you start this new year with a bang. Cheers!