It is only a few weeks till the end of 2015. Where did the year go?  It seems like just a few weeks ago we were ushering in 2015 with much expectation or (perhaps it was dread for some because of uncertainty about how the year would evolve.)  As you look back at how your year has been what emotions rise up inside?  Delight at what you have achieved, relief that the year is finally drawing to an end?  Disappointment at the things that haven’t gone as planned?  Excitement for the future?  Or perhaps, panic at the thought that you have less than four weeks to make a million things happen, so that you can pat yourself on the back and say ‘well done’?

For some of you January 2015 is such a distant memory that you have even forgotten what you determined you would make happen.  You may have forgotten what kind of entrepreneur, employee or colleague that you said you would become this year.  Perhaps you feel that you have failed in some way to realize those dreams that you had in your heart at the start of the year.  If any of that resonates with you, I have good news for you– there is still time to end this year with a satisfying bang.

I love this quote by Sid Caesar: “in between goals is a thing called life, that has to be lived and enjoyed.”

The italics are mine but I believe the quote has more meaning that way.  While goals are important and essential in making progress, one must not become so obsessed with those goals that they forget to live life to the full.  It is important to remember that things do sometimes go wrong and that you don’t have control over every thing that happens.

Failure can be just as rewarding as success because you can learn from it and develop yourself in the process.  Sometimes what you perceive as a ‘pothole’ in your path when reflected upon turns out to be an important stepping-stone to your next big success.   It all depends on your attitude to failure and whether you let it keep you down or spur you on to keep going until you get to your destination.

Here a few tips that will help you finish this year in a strong place, ready to embrace the New Year.

  1. Look back over this year.  What are the things that went well that you could be thankful for?  In a culture where we spend more time complaining than counting our blessings, we can very easily become focused on the things that haven’t worked rather than on the things that have.  When you focus on the positives rather than the negatives it is amazing how your perspective changes.  Remember ‘what you focus on expands’.
  2. Write down these ‘positives’ as a reminder that the year has not been all bad (especially on those days when gloom and doom threaten to spoil your day).
  3. Reflect on those things that you didn’t achieve and try to get to the bottom of what you could have done differently.  What resources would have helped?  If you lacked motivation how could you have increased your motivation?  Was that goal or dream realistic or was it pie in the sky?  This is not a time to beat yourself down but merely an honest assessment of what you could have done differently to get a better outcome.  Mistakes only become failure when we fail to learn from them.
  4. Decide what you can still attempt in these last few weeks before the year ends.  You don’t have to complete the assignment or project, but just starting will give you a positive boost that will propel you into the New Year in a better frame of mind than just wringing your hands in despair.
  5. Take some time off from your busy schedule to design what 2016 will look like.  Running without stopping to reflect and recharge is neither good for your health nor your business/work.  Even the fastest race drivers stop at designated pit stops to refuel and take care of any damage that their car has had while they were racing.  Putting your goals down on paper (or device) will make you more likely to pursue and achieve them. Plan next year taking into account what you have learnt from this one.
  6. Take the opportunity the season presents to do some generosity marketing.  It’s a season for giving, so see what you can give away to your clients or colleagues.
  7. Celebrate your successes and reward yourself.  After all you are still standing!