Looking Back to Move Forward

As we start a new year, it is often the time to write down your goals, intentions and New Year’s resolutions for the coming year. I’ve never been big on the whole New Year’s resolutions thing but absolutely write down what I want to accomplish in the next year. People who write down their goals are apparently 97% more likely to achieve them than those who do not.

It’s also important to take time to review that past year as well. So often, we are only focused on the future and striving to reach our goals. We forget to take time to reflect on how far we’ve come and how we have enjoyed the journey.

We tend to overestimate what we can accomplish in one year and underestimate what we can accomplish in three years.

I’ve seen this to be true in my life. At the end of the year, I would often be disappointed because I hadn’t reached certain goals. I’d feel discouraged and frustrated because things didn’t happen the way I had planned. But I’ve now learned that if I don’t get to something in the timeframe I’ve set, either it wasn’t important enough, or more often than not, it needed more time and was accomplished within that three year period. So now I just move goals that I may not have reached and am still interested in accomplishing to the following year, with the intention of reaching them.

It seems we are conditioned to keep forging forward, pushing to reach our goals which, in turn, defines our success. There is this gap from where we are now…and where we want to be. If we only focus on the future, it actually robs us of our joy today!

Looking back on the past year (or longer) gives us an opportunity to reflect and appreciate how far we’ve come. This is known as the “reverse gap.” And doing this process helps us to be happy today! Because the majority of the time, we would not want to be where we were a year or two earlier.

The nature of the Universe is ever expansive. It is constant change, even if there are cycles within the change. Humans are also constantly evolving, hoping proactively growing and developing as that helps to keep the motivation and energy moving us forward.


So this January, besides writing down your goals and plans for the coming year, take some time to answer the following questions:

  • What can you celebrate about how far you’ve come?
  • What have you accomplished?
  • What did you enjoy or appreciate most about the last year?
  • What were the best experiences for you?
  • What did you learn?
  • Who made a difference in your life? And why?

By taking some time to look back first, you’ll be able to spring forward with a higher level of joy and happiness, knowing that you are moving in the right direction after all!

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