4 Tips for Applying 2019’s Lessons Learned in the New Year

Dec 30, 2019

By Kandi Phillips 

If you’re like me, you’re wondering how it’s already December, and have probably remarked to a friend or two how surprised you are that the year is coming to an end. Didn’t it seem like January was just last month?

One of my favorite traditions on New Year’s Eve is to reflect on the past year and envision what I want in the next year. It’s the perfect time to review how I’ve grown both personally and professionally and to asses my accomplishments. It’s also an opportunity to remind myself of the goals I didn’t hit and decide if I want to revisit those goals in the coming year.

In preparation for the New Year, I’m sharing four  tips to help you get the most out of your end-of-year reflection and set yourself up for a successful and happy 2020.

1.    Start Small 

Look back at 2019 month-by-month. Pull out your calendar or phone and look at the meetings, presentations or project deadlines you had in those months. You’d be surprised how those small details help you recall accomplishments and what you were working on in the year. In 2020, you may find it helpful to keep note on your phone or a Google Doc with a running list of wins throughout the year.

2.    Ask Questions 

If the monthly review isn’t quite your style, you  can look at the big picture. Start by asking yourself a few key questions to help you find the highlight of the year:

  • What did I accomplish or what am I proud of?
  • What risks did I take and how did they pay off?
  • What challenges did I face?
  • What were my most memorable, standout moments?
  • What new skills and strengths did I develop?

This could also be the time you ask, “Am I happy?” Be completely honest with yourself about that answer. If you can’t say yes, then start to ask more specific questions. What isn’t making you happy? Is it a relationship, your career or your health?

I asked myself this question last year and there were a few areas I found I wanted to change in 2019. I cleaned up my health, picked up running and finally used my gym membership. I reinvested my time in the people who genuinely made me happy and culled my social media of relationships that were dragging me down.

However, it wasn’t until October of this year that I finally took the most significant leap and made a change in my career. Change is scary and hard, but growth can’t happen if you’re still doing the same things day after day.

3.    Say “Thank You” 

When you think about your accomplishments in 2019, you had a little help. Whether that’s a supportive partner at home cheering you on, a devoted friend who was there for you when things were tough, or a tribe of women at the office that are consistently in your corner, someone was there for you. Take some time to reflect on those relationships and, more importantly, say “Thank you!” I’m a fan of handmade cards and a written message, but don’t discount the power of a text or email when sharing heartfelt thanks.

4.    Let it Go 

To wrap up your reflection, allow yourself  the grace to let things go. Sometimes things change during the year, and that’s OK. A goal you previously set may no longer have a purpose in your life. The same thing goes for holding onto resentments, anger and maybe even a bad relationship. Shed excess baggage and create space for new experiences in 2020. You’ll be surprised how that simple act of letting go releases stress and unwarranted expectations.

This year was full of many firsts and challenges for me, but also learning and growth. As I reflect on 2019 and how much I accomplished, I feel even more excited and prepared for 2020.

I challenge you to reflect on your year. Take the time to invest in yourself and come out ready and determined to create an amazing year in 2020 – it’s a new decade after all!


About the Author

Kandi Phillips is a Loyalty Program Manager at Telarus. While new to the telecom industry, Phillips brings more than nine years of experience creating employee engagement and recognition programs. Outside of the office, you can usually find Phillips in a high school gym watching her 16-year-old son wrestle, or running with her husband and their two Siberian Huskies.