2023 December 12 Where did this year go?

Dec 12, 2023

Hi, this is Jim Cranston from 7EveryMinute and 7EveryMinute.com, the podcast and website about reimagining your life. Thanks for joining me today to ask - Where did this year go? If you like what you hear tonight, please leave a like, tell your friends, send me a message. Tonight's about already being in the holiday season and how this year went by so quickly.


Today is December 12th, the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which is huge in the Hispanic community, and mammoth in the Mexican community where the feast originated from. It's a Roman Catholic feast. It's another apparition  of the Virgin Mary in Mexico.


So we're in the holiday season, and a lot of things are going on. I've heard many people say to me, How did the year go by so quickly? Hanukkah's already started. Christmas is 13 days away, Kwanzaa starts in two weeks. Everything just seems to be flying by.


We're faced with some choices in our lives. The first choice is whether we fret and bemoan the passage of the year, or are we amazed at all we got done when we look at the past year mindfully? Remember, we should always celebrate every win, no matter how small, because all those small wins add up to big changes in our lives.


From a negative motivation standpoint, we have to keep track of all the things we have to do. But from a positive motivation standpoint, it's critical that we recognize all our accomplishments and all the good things that happened over the past year. So, amongst the bustle of the holidays, now is also a good time to write down a quick list of some important things that you've accomplished over the past year.


Remember, important isn't necessarily big. Doing a little thing that, for you personally, you found difficult, is still a major accomplishment, no matter what others might say. But that, of course, leads us into ask, What about next year? We don't want to set resolutions. Remember, resolutions aren't really sustainable in any particular sense.


They're a bunch of things you say you're going to do without a lot of thought about how you're going to do them. We really want to define are SMART goals. Remember that SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable or Actionable, and Relevant or Reachable. In other words, stretch goals. They're not trivial. They are time based. There's a deadline or some sort of time associated with that goal. So remember, they're specific, measurable, achievable, and actionable. They're relevant or reachable, and they're time based. In other words, they're goals that have a real end point, and you can tell if you actually accomplish them. They have a deadline. 


General goals, like getting in better shape, aren't really specific or measurable. A SMART goal would be something more like doing five push ups with good form within the next two months. They push you somewhat, they have a deadline, and there's a specific goal so you can tell if you've succeeded or not.


You already know that the purpose of setting goals is to move you in a direction consistent with your purpose. The first step, then, is to find your purpose. This is something really only you can do, although others can help guide you through the discovery process. Everyone's purpose is unique to their own circumstances.


It's important to realize that your purpose can evolve over time, even drastically, as circumstances change, but in most cases, you'll likely find that the core principles defining your purpose remain pretty similar, even when the actions resulting to fulfill them have to change because circumstances change.


Once you start to get your life purpose more clearly defined, it becomes simpler to realize the next steps, which become the basis of your goals, and hence, the things you're going to do in the foreseeable future.  It's always important to remember that goals are just plans, and plans can change and improve. Your purpose and your vision, the vision that comes out of your purpose, they're usually the long term guide for your life. So even though the end of the year is quickly approaching, and the holidays are all around us, you have a way to look back on the year and see both the good things that happen and the challenges. 


I'm sure there are things you could improve, and maybe some things you'd rather not repeat.  You're a more complete person now than before because of all that history. Sometimes there is an attitude that life should have no challenges, but that's unrealistic. The better hope is that we can find the lesson in the challenges, because the challenges will always occur. Then we can have a better life because of them. Again, this isn't to minimize the very bad events that sometimes occur, but rather to face them and learn from them and find strength and move past them as best we can, and still find meaning and joy in life.


During the holiday season, I hope you can find the time to look back over the past year with two sets of eyes. The ones that we often use, the critical eyes, that are looking for improvement and are alert to where we didn't quite meet our expectations. They have a purpose, but it's very important to realize that we have another view we have to remember: the one that gives ourselves grace for our shortcomings. Remember that there are likely some good moments, even if rare. We need to try to focus on the good ones so that our brain will lead us towards those outcomes, rather than focusing on the challenges and expecting that to be the norm. 


Tony Robbins says, Where the focus goes, energy flows. It really is that simple. If we focus on our bad choices, then likely that's what we'll come to expect and probably keep doing. But if we focus on our nearly limitless opportunities and abilities, then that's what will become the thing that most energizes us in our lives. 


So that's all for tonight. I just wanted to stop and say hi, and tell you that, even though the year may have seemed to have sped by, it really didn't, and a lot of good things happened. I hope you can find them, focus on them, and use that to set the tone for next year. 


That's it for tonight. I truly hope your holiday season has been going well and gets even better.


I would encourage you to spend a few minutes reviewing this past year and planning what comes next. It can be as formal or informal as you like. The big advantage to doing even a cursory review is that it gets your brain focused on the tasks that will move you forward. You'll be surprised at what else you'll discover, particularly on the plus side of the list.


So, that's it. Your homework (always optional) is to make the simplest list possible, just two columns and nothing else. Label them - happy or sad, smile or frown, rewards or challenges - but don't label them good and bad. Good and bad are already very judgmental, and this isn't to judge, this is just to classify things that happen.


Then fill in even a couple of items in each column, and then let it rest for a few hours, maybe even days. Extra points if you come back to your list. Fill in some more details and then see how you can make the plus side more likely to happen in the coming year by learning from the challenges.


That's it for the evening. Please remember the war in Ukraine. If you can and you're able, consider donating. There are links to different organizations at UKR7.com. Those are links  related specifically to Ukraine. Another option is the World Central Kitchen, WCK.org. That's the organization that provides food in areas of need working with local resources.


If you're not in a position where you can give money, see what else you can do just to make somebody's life better. Even if it's just a stranger you meet on the street, say good morning just to make somebody's life better. When you look outside yourself, it makes you grow because you see the world in a different light and it gives you a whole different perspective. 


As always, thank you for stopping by. If you found something interesting or useful, please pass it along and please hit that like button. If not, please drop me a comment as to what you'd like to hear. Have a great week. Remember to live the life that you dream of, because that's the path to true contentment. Love and encouragement to everyone. See you next week on 7EveryMinute and 7EveryMinute.com. Thank you. 


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