How to Make the Most of 2016 Before it Ends

There’s a shiny new year on the horizon. So exciting, right?! And so tempting to train your eyes on that not-so-distant future, brush aside what remains of this year, and pin high hopes for better times on January 1. (Especially if this year has been a frustrating one, and you’re eager to leave it behind and make a fresh start.)

@@ Maybe next year WILL be better, but I'm urging you to take a breath and access some gratitude for this year! @@

But all those cliches about being doomed to repeat history and learning from our mistakes? They’re cliches because they contain a hard grain of truth. Reflection is essential to growth, so I’d like to invite you to take a conscious pause and cultivate mindful awareness of the things in your business that are going right. Now is the perfect time to get centered in the right head- and heart-space for a great new year. Let go of the reactive and illusory "next year will be better" attitude, and access gratitude for your wins, lessons, and achievements in the year that is coming to a close!

Focus on gratitude as an inner action

Speaking of cliches, I know you might be up to your ears in gratitude-themed musings … but this is one of those rare times I’m gonna let myself be an unabashed bandwagon-jumper. Because cultivating gratitude during a time when everyone around you is also focusing their energies on gratitude practices amplifies everyone’s intentions. The gratitude mindset is all around you, resonant and supportive. Take advantage of that, and take time out for introspection.

… Then project thankfulness outward

On the flip side, business is all about relationships, and this time of year affords a wonderful opportunity to strengthen those relationships through the practice of gratitude. Do your utmost to express gratitude for every person your business has touched this year. And I mean every one of them—from members of your email list to people in your tribe to clients and colleagues—has encouraged more positive affect. Recognizing and appreciating their support grounds and centers you for the next few steps.

Count your business blessings

Since you’re an entrepreneur, you probably have mile-long lists of To-do’s and To-achieves. Ambitious goals are your forte, and that’s fabulous! But even if you didn’t meet this year’s stated goals, you likely had some big business wins. What were they? Count your business blessings and hand out gold stars where appropriate. Because wherever you are in business, there’s always a “next step,” always a new set of far-reaching, comfort-zone-pushing goals to tackle. But remembering to stop and appreciate how far you’ve come is one of the ways you keep your inspiration tank full and your passion for your business alive.

@@ Even if you didn't hit all your 2016 goals, you definitely had big business wins the year. What were they? I'd love to know! @@

Take stock of what went right this year

Did you have offers, services, or products that really nailed it this year? Did your promotional campaign blow your expectations out of the water? Did that new VA you hired work out better than expected? Cataloging and celebrating what went right for you in business this year is a great way to keep yourself focused for next year.

… And what went wrong

True, some endeavors in your business this year may have fallen flat. The retreat didn’t fill, the workshop didn’t go as planned, the group course wasn’t a success. Or maybe life got in the way and derailed your best-laid plans. But as any teacher will tell you, not all “failures” are bad things. Most failures are lessons in disguise. So, what did you learn? How did you show up in the situations you consider to be “failures”? How did you handle the business ventures that didn’t go as planned? What valuable lessons will you carry forward into the new year?

@@ Failures suck, but they're all lessons in disguise. @@

 

Ground and center

Next week is the final week of November which means the time for 2017 business planning is now. But before you whip out your vision boards, calendars, and rainbow of colored highlighters, take a moment to truly center in and listen to your intuition. Ground into your body with a yoga practice, a meditation practice, or a long walk in the woods to tune into your inner monologue. Explore the edges of your vision for your business and note what you see there. Does your gut tell you that you’re still aligned and on track for your 5-year or 10-year vision? Is intuition pointing you in a different direction? Listen to yourself, take notes, and make adjustments as needed.

Because the amazing thing about a time of transition—like the limbo of a calendar year in its twilight weeks—is it brims with flexibility and possibility. As you take stock of 2016 and embrace gratitude practices, you can also start gathering insights and considering tweaks to make to your business strategies for the year to come. Gently and mindfully.