As we approach the end of the year, some of us are tasked with holiday organization, which could include things like shopping, cooking and getting the family together. Or it could involve things like travel, planning and trying to please people of many diverse ages and opinions. We are supposed to be celebrating, right? Hanukkah, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, vacation from work and school, whatever the schedule allows. With year-end summaries and recitals, there are lots of demands on our time and lots of projects to complete.
As busy working parents and grandparents, husbands and wives, sons and daughters, we all have a role to play. But what do we do for ourselves in this busy, bustling time? I think we need to do a few things at the end of the year, and to reconsider and “clean up” a few areas of our lives. We can do this with a personal year-end review, which involves the following steps:
1. Take the time to assess where you are, what commitments you have made and whether you are going to continue on the same path. Maybe it is time to retire from some volunteer activities or decline that next request. As you approach the new year, you need to feel very connected to the work you do, looking forward to the activities, and you need to have made the decisions to let some things go. What things? That depends on you.
2. Learn how to say no. “No thanks, that doesn’t work for me.” We all want to please other people and try to say yes to many opportunities. But always saying yes becomes overwhelming, and we may be too stressed and too burdened to really enjoy the tasks we have chosen.
3. When you say no clearly, politely, with none of that “I’ll think about it” or ‘I’ll try,” what you have really done is you have said yes to something else. You have said yes to more personal time. You have said yes, perhaps, to a fitness routine. You have said yes to family. Decide what is the priority and make the year-end adjustments to get there.
4. Understandably, when you let go or say no to some endeavour that claimed much of your time and energy, you feel a loss. A grieving process for something you cared about and invested time and energy building and creating may be required. It is acceptable to have that temporary sadness as you were invested in the activity. But limit the time dedicated to that decision and move forward with a full heart. You may want to decide on your next activity or commitment right away, but there’s no rush. Allow yourself the luxury of some down time, some time to reflect and consider your direction.
5. When you are ready, refreshed and goal-oriented, you can consider your options, the priorities of your life choices, the core values you embrace and want to enhance. And that social connectedness, that opportunity to forge ahead, that next special endeavour should be satisfying and meaningful.
What am I doing at this time? Exactly what I have suggested to you: reviewing my situation, my commitments and the amount of volunteer time I choose to donate to boards, causes, organizations and the like, and to family time and personal choices. It’s time for my year-end review.