Reflecting Back on 2015
It’s hard to pick my favorite moment from “It’s a Wonderful Life” but if pressed, here’s what I’d say: that scene toward the end of the movie when George retraces his steps and replaces the broken newel cap on the stairs… with a kiss! To me, that’s the real bell-ringing moment. It’s our reminder to see things for what they are, not what they aren’t.
Why is it sometimes difficult to recognize our own good fortune? I think it’s because we’re just like George! Our daily trials weigh on us like an $8,000 debt. We have an idea of what success looks like, and no matter how hard we strive or close we come, we can never seem to reach it. Some people call it the elusive carrot.
If the New Year lends itself to looking forward, let’s dedicate the end of 2015 to reflecting back. Like George, let’s retrace our steps and plant a grateful kiss on our assets and accomplishments.
Stop and focus. Has this ever happened to you? You work hard to reach a certain goal (e.g., landing a new job or completing your first 5K) and you finally get it done. But instead of feeling elated, you note a gnawing dissatisfaction. You don’t like a new coworker, or you didn’t get the time you wanted on your 5K. Is it possible that a broken newel cap is keeping you from seeing and appreciating your situation?
Honor progress. None of us hit our goals every time, but that doesn’t mean the effort was wasted. Let’s say you wanted to get your whole office organized and you only had time to clean out one file cabinet. Or you had hoped to lose 10 pounds by the holidays and you were only able to shed five. You’ve made progress! Feel good about that instead of disappointed. We need to relish small accomplishments as well as the big ones.
Recognize obstacles. What did you have to overcome to get where you are? Think about all the challenges that stood in your way that you somehow managed to surmount. With each one, did you take the time to say, if only to yourself, yea me? I did it! If you wait for an acknowledgment from a boss or spouse or friend, realize it may never come. Don’t just trudge on. Stop and …
Celebrate. Moving too quickly from one goal to the next can leave you feeling unfulfilled. Savor your successes. That act of tribute will help you more fully appreciate what you’ve accomplished and recharge you for future goals.
As we end 2015, really think about your situation. Consider your family, home, and job. All the people who love you. Your slightly messy office and your dog and the last raise you got, however small. Then raise a mental toast to yourself. Don’t you know, as George’s brother Harry says, that you’re the richest person in the room?
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