Year-in-Review Question: If I could change one thing…

Year in review: What one change would you make?

In my last post with 77 year-in-review questions, I suggested thinking about the past year as a “learning lab.” You have done all the experiments, and now it’s time to review the results to see what you learned (and ultimately how you can apply that to the coming year).

You might find 77 questions a bit overwhelming, so let’s start out by boiling it down to one:

“If I could change one thing about _________ (the decisions I made, how I showed up, how I treated people, what I did, what I didn’t do, etc.), what would that be?”

Note that this is about something you played an active role in, not something like “I would change my boss so he’s not such a jerk.”

The goal of this exercise isn’t to point out some grand deficiency to give you fodder for self-flagellation about your shortcomings. It’s simply a way to look at objectively at how the year unfolded and find the juicy opportunities for learning that will help you make a change for the better in the coming year.

Another way of thinking about it is rephrasing the question to, “What one thing have I learned from the the less-than-preferable aspects of this last year that will help me make next year better?”

Benefits of identifying one change

The beauty of this is two-fold. First, it gets you thinking about what the most important and helpful change would be. We all have things we would change as we look back. That’s just part of life. This lets you cut through the clutter and put your finger on what change would be most impactful.

Second, and related to the first, it gives you a manageable amount of change to focus on. Getting bogged down in trying to change all the things you would have done differently is a great recipe for no change at all.

Approach it with kindness and compassion

As you explore this question, please, please, please approach it with a sense of self-compassion. Especially for those of us with an especially vigorous inner critic (I call mine Brutal Bart), it can be easy for this question to become an exercise in finding yet another of the bazillion ways in which we suck more than anybody on the planet.

No, no, no! Do it with kindness. Do it with love. Do it with a positive intention to harvest the results of the last year to make the coming year better.

Apply it to multiple areas of life

If you want to expand this simplified year-in-review question, you can apply it to various aspects of your life. For example, what one thing would you change…

In your work?

In your relationships (family, friends, community)?

In your health?

In your finances?

In your spiritual life?

In your fun and leisure time?

What’s my one thing?

There’s no shortage of things I would like to change about how I showed up in the world over the last year. Two things jump out at me that I think would have a significant impact if I made changes.

Create more structure: I spin my wheels and waste a lot of time. If I could change how I approached the last year, I would institute some kind of structure for my work. Something simple to start with, like scheduling a block of time for writing every day, and then developing the discipline to stay with it.

Connecting with community: It’s easy for me to isolate and stay hunkered down in my cave. That’s especially true when things are challenging, as they have been for me this last year. If I could make one change there, I would commit to spending more time actively engaged in the communities I’m involved in.

You can see where this is going. Now that I put that out there in the context of what one thing I would change about the past, it sets me up to say, “Hey, here’s an opportunity to start creating that change!”

How about you? What one change would you make?

Brought to you by Curt Rosengren, Passion Catalyst TM

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