Happy New Year?
January is named for Janus, the mythical god of gates. Janus had two faces-one which enabled him to see the past clearly and the other which looked toward the future with certainty. During this time of year, we traditionally look backward in the year past as we plan what we want to accomplish in the year ahead. Lacking the clear sight of Janus, many plan the future based on an incomplete picture of the past year.
Everything we try to do will eventually have one of three results:
1. It will go no where.
2. It will start well but will be abandoned at the first sign of difficulty.
3. It will be finished despite the difficulties.
Future planning based only on the first two results will be frustrating, resulting in a dim outlook for the year. On a personal level, 2016 could be seen as a year of failed diet attempts, unused exercise equipment or one more year without meaningful work. On a national level 2016 could be seen as a year of bitter political battles with little hope for change. To some, 2016 might be thought of as just more of the same old bad stuff that always happens.
It would be a mistake to write off 2016 as a waste and base your planning for the future on this understanding. Waste breeds waste. 2017 could be thought of as a waste when it has just begun.
Janus was said to have the ability to open or close gates. We are more powerful when we open more gates for ourselves. We need to realize that successes can be forgotten or minimized, affecting us as we look toward what we will do.
Our successes do exist. There is an old church saying: "Just waking up breathing is a blessing." This attitude leads us to expect successes. Indeed, to ruthlessly look at what went right in our lives. In this light, any attempt to accomplish something is the basis for future success.
Of course, we must learn from our mistakes. Oaths taken in haste without due reflection are quickly forgotten and give us a false sense of incompetency.
To plan well, it is best to take a moment and write down your successes. Writing them down makes it easier to remember more than one at a time. Go back in your mind chronologically and ask yourself what went right in January? February? March? And so on.
If you have trouble thinking of something, ask friends and family. Spend a moment quietly and listen to yourself. Quiet and stillness create the space for reminders.
With this grounded understanding of yourself, then ask what do you want to do for the next year.
So as you read this post, take a deep breath. If you can do this, then you have one success already. We can now find other successes to plan the future.