Reflecting On The Past, Looking To The Future
Publication: RidiculouslyExtraordinary.
Posted by Ryan Neal
Reflecting On The Past, Looking To The Future
Publication: RidiculouslyExtraordinary. Posted by Ryan Neal

Last year around this time I did an epic recap of my 2009 here at Ridiculously Extraordinary. I'm not going to do that this year. Instead, let's talk a little bit about why recapping the year is cool, why looking forward is cool, but ultimately there is nothing like right now.

As Chris so eloquently stated right here, there is a lot of New Year's Resolution bashing around this time.

The reason for that is, well, most resolutions are set like most goals are set. They're vague, unmeasurable, and unfeeling. I talk a lot about this in Mind Control Method. Listen, I want to get more fit, be a better person, and save more kitties this year just like anybody, but without something measurable or without feeling behind these goals they just won't happen.

That's not being negative, that's being truthful; honest with myself. We could use a lot more honesty with ourselves and with others, don't you think?

How do you hold yourself accountable to being a better person anyway?

Conscious Reflection

One great way to look forward and set a good goal (or whatever you'd like to call it) is to look back. Conscious reflection, as long as it's not all-consuming (meaning you're living in the past), is important.

It doesn't have to be complicated. You can learn a lot by asking yourself just two questions:

  1. What were your goals in the past year?
  2. Which goals did you reach and why?
If you'd like to get a little more involved in your reflection you can break down the "why" more thoroughly.

I did mostly ungoal goal setting this year. What I mean is, there were some things I wanted to experience, and I experienced all of them. I also had one Most Important Goal (I discuss the MIG concept in MCM), which I did reach.

You already know or have seen me accomplish what I wanted to accomplish this year. I learned how to build a guitar, I learned how to speak Polish without constantly fumbling for words, I learned that staying everywhere I travel for 1+ months is my ideal form of travel, and business-wise, I focused solely on what's going on here at Ridiculously Extraordinary. (I haven't done taxes yet, but RE did very well this year, way better than I would have imagined had I set an income goal.)

That's not to say I didn't do anything wrong this year that I can learn from. But all in all, 2010 has been my favorite year. This is cool, because 2006 and 2007 were my least favorite years. Being on the upward curve, and more importantly, feeling in control of the curve, is a good place to be.

The things that went wrong this year were not catastrophic. Actually, what I learned is that absolutely nothing is catastrophic. Nothing.

And the things that went right were outstanding. What I learned is that we can't make epicly memorable events happen. We can only guide them, point them in the right direction. What happens will happen and enjoying the process is part of the fun.

What do you do if this was your least favorite year? Well, since you're still alive and reading this, that's not a horrible position to be in. If it was your least favorite it probably won't be difficult to make next year better, even if next year might not be your most favorite year.

An Important Question of Time

More than any goal or resolution, I like to focus on "what am I doing to make the coming year better?"

I didn't try to make this year my favorite year, I just focused on making it better than the previous year. It's a bit of a Kaizen approach. Small, consistent improvement equals massive improvement over time.

The beauty with this approach is that it forces you to look at right now. What's happening now? What am I doing now to make my day great? If I have a great day, it's only natural that I can have a great week, then a great month, and finally a great year.

If this year wasn't so great, don't reflect too much on the bad. Know that you will make the coming year better if you focus on that. And if this year was amazing for you, here's to continuing on the upward curve ...