Towards the end of 2007, I asked a group of friends to write about the adventures they had experienced that year.
You can learn a lot from someone’s personal, riveting, yet previously unspoken stories.
What were the turning points of your year, the ones that make you a different person today than you were 365 days ago? What are your expectations for 2009?
Remember those comic strips that ask you to find six differences between two pictures that look identical? You may look the same, but subtle changes have completely altered the course of your life.
If you want to know who you were last year, go back and review old e-mails. Read your journal and notes you may have written on random slips of paper. You’ll be surprised about those moments you’d forgotten.
It’s so easy to forget how far you’ve come and to focus on how far you have yet to go. But doing a year-in-review helps you realize the miracle of your continuing existence and growth.
Reflection reveals the things you accomplished that you never thought you were capable of. And it shows opportunities to change.
In his Bible, my friend Wes keeps a list that he wrote years ago of long- and short-term goals. It’s amazing to see what he has crossed off the list over the years and what he is still working toward.
I tend to forget things easily, so I’m writing down my goals for 2009. The vague ones, like “become a better writer” and “read more books,” and the specific ones, like “take notes on books by Cialdini” and “set up interviews for series about Keralite immigrants.”
When you write down your goals and from time to time shove them in the space in front of your eyeballs, you’re more likely to make some dents in them. Share your 2008 reflections — your unspoken story — with friends and ask to know theirs. Today, my friend Jaime and I g-chatted about goals and happened to have some shared interests. Now, having each other’s support, we’re both more motivated and confident in pursuing our dreams.
What you see on the surface is always misleading, but when you dig underneath, the truth is shocking, potentially encouraging and didactic.