As 2019 is coming to a close, lots of people are going to be setting goals for 2020 soon. And those might be based on their assessment of 2019.
There will be plans to go travel and, after a full on holiday season, a lot of people will plan to loose weight and hit the gym twice a week.
We often set our goals based on what’s missing in our lives and allegedly would make us happier, better people.
It’s natural, as our brains are wired to give more attention to the negative than to the positive. That’s why we bring more attention to negative news.
But it is much easier to create lasting change by focusing on what is already good and to see what of that we can increase.
We have started our goal setting process with a reflection on 2019 which focuses on what worked. As Positive Psychology has taught us, this will get us into the creative mindset that has us set goals for 2020 which resonate with us, are fully aligned with our values, and connect us to our powerful selves. Coming from there, has us not just happy, but also raises our chance of realising our dreams.
Here’s a few alternative questions we have started to ask ourselves when reflecting on 2019:
What were peak moments of happiness and satisfaction for each of us?
Who were we with?
Where were we?
What made these experiences so special and memorabe for us? What were the different ingredients?
Then we go through our relationships with friends and partners:
Which relationships brought us joy and meaning, and had us fully engaged?
Around whom did we feel switched on, creative, and accepted the way we are?
And then we go a little bit more granular, to look at each of the areas of our lives that matter to our well-being and thriving. Which life domains those are, is personal and different for each of us. For me they include family and friends, romantic relationship, work, health, money, and personal growth.
We will ask ourselves three questions:
What were my wins and successes?
What am I proud of?
What did I contribute to make these good experienes and successes happen?
Processing with others is our style of reflection. You might prefer to journal, create a picture, or an audio file of your reflections, or yet someting else.
Take a look at what worked, and what wowed you when looking back at your 2019.
Our brains so easily slip into looking at what we did not achieve or are lacking in our lives.
From that mindset we set goals for the coming year, that we might not even believe in.
The safer, and so much more fun, road to fullfillment is to start from the positive, when drawing up our wish list for an even better 2020.