About this time last year I wrote a post on how to do an annual review. It walked you through a traditional method for evaluating your year and helping you determine what your goals should be in the new year. It’s a very useful exercise that allows you to see what you accomplished, what still needs work, and what your new goals should be.
But this year let’s do something different. The themes for this year’s review are flexibility, surprises, and positivity. Take a look back through your planner and/ or journal from this past year and ask yourself these questions:
What happened this year that was unexpected? (Good and not so good.)
How did you handle these unexpected situations? Could you have handled them better?
What did you learn about how to handle unexpected situations? How you could apply those to future surprises?
Now that you’ve thought about unexpected things that happened, think about what else happened this year:
What were some good things that happened this year? (It’s okay if they were also on your Unexpected Things list too.)
What were some things that initially seemed not good, but turned into or resulted in something good? (Think hard, and feel free to reframe events that you previously thought of as negative. What good came from them?)
Now take a look at your lists of Unexpected Events and Good Things. I’m guessing there are quite a few things on your Unexpected list. And I hope there are a lot of things on your Good list. The truth is, most things are not all good or all bad. Even things you previously thought of as negative can have a positive outcome.
Learning how to cope with unexpected/ surprise events, and seeing the positive even in what initially seem to be negative circumstances all add to a mindset of flexibility. Studies (that I’ve read about somewhere) show that people with flexible mindsets are happier and live longer because they can more easily adapt to change.
So as you think about how flexible you were (or weren’t) in 2015, what lessons can you learn to help you have a more flexible mindset in 2016?