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To rouse, not discourage.

"Difficulties are meant to rouse, not discourage. The human spirit is to grow strong by conflict." ~ William Ellery Channing

At the end of every year I take some time to reflect. To rouse, not discourage.

I’d like to say that time is spent on a mountain top somewhere - no phone, no cars, no distractions. But usually it’s at home, while I’m plugging away on basically mindless work - finishing year end paperwork, clearing my "To Be Filed" tray, finding RSVP cards I should have sent back months ago. The mindless work, clears my mind to think about my year.

I don’t think about the world, or the country or the state, or county, or really even the city. I think about my community, my family, myself and my work. The things I have had a direct impact on and an intimate part of.

I think about the mistakes I made, and look at the lessons I can learn from them. How I can keep those mistakes from repeating in the New Year?

It’s interesting the things that come to mind …

Thought (What)- I’m such a jerk... I’m the grouchiest Friday afternoons. When I’m grouchy, Mike and Dad get grouchy and then I’m grouchier, then I just want time alone. I don’t like this circle.

Logistics (When) – Last thing I do Fridays afternoon is clear my inbox, that takes about 30 minutes. I prefer it be quiet so I don’t mistakenly delete the wrong email. That’s usually when Mike and Dad are already at the house and in my office chatting with me (since I’m still working).

Emotions (Why) - I seriously hate email piling up. I hate being grouchy to my family.

Easy Fix: take 5 mins each morning to file, delete or unsubscribe emails. Make the last task of my Friday more of a mindless task. ü This is predawn for me and its just me and my dog in the office, so no disruptions and no piled-up email.

This is of course a minor lesson learned. I assure you there were a lot more personally deep thoughts and some with no so easy fixes. But the process is the same.

In some ways this seems like just a bunch of negative self-talk, which of course we all strive to stop. In some ways it is, but I chose to leverage it for change.

If your thoughts were an end of project meeting, it would be perfectly acceptable to talk about what went wrong and how those mistakes impacted the project.

So why not do the same for yourself and your life goals?

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