Use Your Lessons of Last Year to Thrive in the New Year

Consider how many mistakes and detours we make each year. Now, imagine if you could learn from them and avoid repeating them. It’s not just your mistakes. It’s also all the things you tried that didn’t work, and the things you saw other people try that didn’t work.

You also did a few things that worked out. You might want to apply all of this knowledge you gained to this coming year.

After doing this for several years, your life would be pretty spectacular!!

Since you’re learning so much each year, why not put it to good use? Unfortunately, we don’t change our behaviors very much from one year to the year. I encourage you to commit to making this year different.

Apply the lessons of the past to the future:

1. Take a few days to review the last year. What did you learn, both positive and negative? What mistakes did you make? What were your biggest wins?

○ Do you see a pattern to any of your mistakes? Can you see that many of your challenges are caused by committing the same mistakes year after year?

○ Now, consider your friends and family. What challenges did they face? What were their successes? What can you learn from them?

○ Take the best and the worst from your past and learn from them. Make use of that information to enhance your life.

2. Find alternatives to your least effective actions. Maybe you procrastinate too much or consistently show up to work late. What are the changes you want to make in the coming year?

3. Create new habits. Choose habits that will counteract your less-effective behaviors and ensure your positive behaviors occur more frequently.

Here are some examples:

○ Procrastination: Take immediate action when you know something needs to be done. Remind yourself of the pain procrastination has caused in the past and imagine how amazing it will feel to complete the task.

○ Late to work: Place your alarm on the other side of the room so you’re forced to get out of bed. Choose your clothes the night before. Commit to leaving the house in plenty of time.

○ Lost 15 lbs.: Continue making healthy food choices and working out three times each week.

4. Monitor yourself. If you’re not careful, you’ll quickly slip back into your old patterns of behavior. Change can be challenging, and you can expect to face a lot of internal resistance. Avoid being too hard on yourself when you slip. Just vow to redouble your efforts going forward!

5. Celebrate your successes. When you apply what you’ve learned from last year, you can expect some great things to happen. Appreciate them and be proud of yourself. This is the best way to ensure good things keep happening. Reinforce your behavior by feeling good about yourself.

You’ve faced some tough times in the past. Take advantage of those challenges! You’ve had some good times, too. Repeat them in the future. Your past is the key to your future. Take what you’ve learned and leverage that experience going forward. It would be a shame to repeat your mistakes in the future.

You can have the best year of your life, but not if you fail to learn from your past experiences. Your results have lessons to teach and guidance to offer. Are you paying attention?

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