Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A Good Time to Take Stock

You might have noticed that I've stopped the Three Good Things exercise.  I got so caught up in the Good Things of the holidays that I just didn't have the time or energy for it.  But instead of starting it up again, I'm going to a try a different exercise, which I'll call my 2009 Accomplishments.  The idea comes from the same source as Three Good Things, Jean Moroney.  As soon as I finish it, I'll publish it here. 

Here is Ms. Moroney's description of how to take stock of your achievements:
2010 is just getting started. To begin on an inspiring note, I suggest you spend a little time taking stock of your achievements from 2009. Make a record of your accomplishments--everything you did or said or bought or made happen that you're proud of. This is not a journalistic account of the ups and downs of the year; it includes only the successes. They're what matter most in the long run; they're worth pausing to reflect on to give you fuel for 2010.

This is similar to advice I relayed some time ago to record three good things at the end of each day.* It is not a mindless exercise in feel-good, rah rah positive thinking. Reviewing your actual achievements is much more profound than that. It reaffirms emotionally that these successes are good and important, and keeps that context activated.

There is an added benefit to reviewing the whole year. You get to see the brightest achievements all in one list--a list as long as you can make it. To make sure you remember the highlights, I
recommend you review your calendar or some other record of your activities; it's surprisingly easy to forget important achievements from months ago.

If it was a difficult year, you can see clearly all you accomplished in the face of adversity. If it was an unusually good year, you get to count up the amazing total of successes. When you see the year as a whole, you add to the sense of yourself as one who achieves something over time. As you do this over many years, you can reflect on long-term improvements that you see from year to year.

I think you will also find that reflecting on the successes of the
previous year puts you in a good frame of mind to look to the
future. As you review, you will find some unfinished business. Seen in the context of all you did accomplish, it's natural to treat these items as next year's successes, rather than last year's failures. I always find the process leaves me inspired to achieve more in the future, because I am building on the success of the past.

This reflection takes a little time, but the time has a payoff.  Reviewing your achievements across the year gives you a sense of yourself, and helps you keep your life in perspective.

A productive and happy 2010 to you.

*The "Three Good Things" article is on the site at:

Jean Moroney, President of Thinking Directions, teaches managers, business owners, and other professionals how to tap their own knowledge banks to solve problems faster, make better decisions, and communicate more effectively. Corporations hire her to train their managers in "Thinking Tactics" to help them get more done with fewer resources. For more information, visit:

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1 comment:

  1. [...] finished my 2009 Accomplishments list before the end of January!  (I’ll have to add that to my 2010 Accomplishments [...]