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2019 has been a rough one for a lot of people.
Loss, bouts of mental illness, and having a 10-year diagnosis catch up with me have made this year tough. Reflecting on this is what sparked this article.
There are seemingly a million ways for a year to go wrong. Even when we plan for the year to be our best yet, sometimes life has other plans.
So, when we’re staring at September, tempted to just chalk this year up to failure, it feels normal. But I’d like to encourage us to think about it differently.
As I’m writing this, we have three months and 26 days left in 2019. So it seems a bit early to throw in the towel completely. Even when it’s the time of year that we start reviewing and thinking about what the next year entails, we can still finish this one out strong.
Here are eight ways to do so:
1. Set one goal for the end of the year
This could be a revised version of one of our New Year’s resolutions or a brand-new goal. Think in terms of habits, working on forgotten dreams, or doing something we felt we missed out on this year.
2. Do a few 30-day challenges
There are a lot of 30-day challenges that focus on habits, giving back, or changing our mindset.
However, it’s just as easy to create one of our own. Choose a time frame that works for you (it could be 30 days or more) and a habit to create—for example, 100 days of (fill in the blank).
Commit to these 30 days and document lessons from the challenge.
3. Help someone else finish strong
There is something powerful about the act of giving up our resources, like time or wisdom.
Even though we set out to help someone else, often we benefit from our giving. If there is a need that we are able to fill or help with, it leads to good karma for us, both in the rest of this year and for the next.
4. Visualize a goal for next year and start working on it
Why wait until a specific calendar date to start working on where we want to be by the end of 2020?
Oftentimes we tie something to a date. January 1st seems to be the most common. However, there is never a perfect date to start working on the things we really want.
Think about it in these terms: if we procrastinate until January 1st, will that enable us to procrastinate further past that date?
As a personal example, I’ve always had the dream of being a freelance writer. I kept putting off starting until a later date.
Sometimes it was a calendar date and sometimes it was more open-ended, like I knew I wanted to start in 2016. However, it wasn’t until three years later that I began setting up a website and writing for different platforms.
The dream was there, but the action was not. I honestly wish I had started working on my goal three years ago. Today is often the best day to start working on our goals and desires.
5. Mentally start a new year
January 1st is so powerful because it represents a clean slate and an open book that has yet to be written.
However, why should a calendar date determine our actions? Today is a good date to restart the calendar. Today is a good date for a fresh start. Mentally, a year can be as little or as long as we feel we need.
The calendar won’t always match up, but we might get more out of that mini-year than a full calendar year combined.
6. Choose a new word for the rest of the year
A long-favored idea for a New Year’s resolution is to choose a guiding word for the year. However, our words have power.
In my experience, the word we choose shapes our year—for good or bad. It becomes the lens through which we see the entire year. It will bring the challenges we need to develop whatever that word is.
However, what if we could change it? Seeing how that goal has affected us, how would we choose differently? If you haven’t chosen a word for the year, choose one now.
7. Change the way we frame our thoughts
Often, how we view things shapes our thoughts, which shapes reality. If we’ve been thinking negatively for the last eight months, it’s time to change those thoughts. If we’ve been afraid of things, it’s time to encourage ourselves to go for it.
This is where daily affirmations and gratitude logs really help.
8. Take time to grieve and process
One of the most powerful things we can do is to allow ourselves to feel.
There’s nothing wrong with dedicating the rest of the year to inner healing. There are things that have happened this year that have shaken us, broken us, or require time to process.
They need time and attention. Decide to take the time needed to grieve or process before going on to the next year or season in life. Choosing this course of action is as powerful as accomplishing any goal.
There are a lot of ways to make the end of this year the best part of the year. Whether that’s allowing ourselves time to work through the damage that 2019 inflicted or knocking a goal off our list.
Pursuing any of these ideas can help and none are better or worse than another.
It’s all about what we each need from the end of the year. The challenge, if we choose to accept it, is to end the year strong.