The surest things about Christmas are the rich food, drink and endless repeats on the television.
For instance, how many times will you watch ‘A Christmas Carol’ over the festive period?
Will it be the Jim Carey Disney version or the black and white classic with Alistair Sim, the bizarre musical version with George C Scott or my personal favourite the Muppets Christmas Carol with Michael Caine as Ebenezer Scrooge?
From its launch on 19 December 1843 Dickens tale of redemption has been a Christmas tradition and as we approach the yuletide holidays it’s time for yet another tradition. That of self-reflection on how the year has gone and what we can do to improve our future.
A great quote from Christmas carol sums up for me why we should all ensure we plan for the year ahead.
“No space of regret can make amends for one life's opportunity misused”
How often did you think about the past today? Was it a positive experience or did you dwell on a failure that fills you with regret?
Life is difficult enough without being held back by events that can’t be changed. The past is past are some of the wisest words written in the English language and it’s a good idea to heed them and focus on the future rather than what is left behind you.
Far too many of us allow the past to own our future direction.
It is human nature to ponder, reflect and reminisce; the trick is to do this positively without the need to be visited by three ghostly spectres.
It can be done if we focus on how we can learn from the past and make it work for us, creating growth, opportunity and a more optimistic life.
Recognising your past makes understanding your future far easier. We must all learn from our success and failures. Especially our failures or we are doomed to repeat them,
The hard part is actually doing it, sitting down, reflecting and identifying where you have failed in the past. We should all listen to our personal ghost of Christmas past and ensure we don’t make the same mistakes again.
Many of us in our lives both personal and business spend our time plate spinning. Dealing with more issues than you can effectively manage or even that need to be addressed can be incredibly stressful?
The sure thing with spinning plates is that eventually some or all of them will come smashing down.
The secret is to identify those that don’t matter to your future development.
What to tell the ghost of Christmas yet to come
If you can spend any time over the festive holidays to focus on your personal or business future I would urge you all to answer these questions which can help you identify what is important for your future in the year ahead.
What must be done to make sure the bills are paid?
Who can help me achieve this?
How could I do this easier and make myself more time to do what I enjoy doing?
What could I stop doing today that would make my life easier?
What are the rewards of doing this?
What is the impact of doing this and what are the risks?
What am I doing that adds no real value to the goals I have set myself?
Why am I doing this? Is this just a habit and because I have always done this?
What would happen if I stopped now?
What should I be doing that I am not doing to achieve my goals?
What will be the impact of my actions?
When can I start?
What training could I look at to make my goals more achievable?
How do I begin?
Where can I get this training?
Who could help me to achieve my goals?
When can I talk to them and ask for help?
What am I asking them to do?
Once you have written these answers down, it’s time to prioritise and focus on what can be done and what can’t in the coming months.
You can then deal with what really are the things that need to be achieved and walk away, no matter how painfully it may appear initially, from those activities, those engrained bad habits and those plates that don’t need to be spun. Let them fall, you now know the consequences and are ready to deal with that.
Remember, If you learn from your past mistakes and organise your present you can ensure you develop and map out a profitable future. Then, who knows another quote from Christmas carol may apply to you in the year ahead.
“I will live in the past, the present, and the future. The spirits of all three shall strive within me.”
John Joe McGinley
Glassagh Consulting December 2016