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Compliments of Dan Henderson:


At the end of every year I go through the process of doing what I like to call … “closing the year”. I’m convinced this is a powerful exercise at any time of the year!

I really enjoy the process of looking back at what I’ve accomplished and learned, and get mentally ready for a great new year ahead. I thought I’d share my process with you. I hope it helps.

Here’s how it works… Find a quiet place where you will not be interrupted. Turn off your phones etc. Turn on some great “mind music”. Grab a pen and some paper. Write these things down. Research has proven over and over that writing is so much more effective than typing this stuff into a computer.

Step 1) Take a look back at all the things you’ve accomplished and the great experiences you had this year. Spend a few minutes making a list of everything you’ve managed to achieve. Write them all down—the big ones and the little ones.

Call this your 2010 Victory List.

You might be surprised at just how much you’ve accomplished in just twelve months.

Saying, “I have accomplished nothing”, is not an option. You are still here—that’s something. Be kind to yourself. Resist the urge to think of this exercise as selfish. It isn’t. It is powerful.

Step 2) Rid your life of tolerations. Take a serious look at the things you no longer want in your life; make a list of all the things you’d like to leave behind.

We all have things that get in our way. We have things in our lives that are long past their ‘use by’ date. I call them “tolerations”.

What have you tolerated (and continue to tolerate) that drain you of energy?

Are you willing to get those things out of your life for good—right now?

They include physical objects, poor habits, limiting beliefs, thought patterns that hurt us and others, and yes, even people we no longer choose to spend time with.

Step 3) Think about your dreams for the future.

What do you really want to bring into your life?

What experiences would you like to enjoy?

What new skills would you like to learn?

What would you like to do?

How would you like to be?

Make notes, draw a picture or speak into a tape recorder to help you remember your dreams.

Here’s where you might want to spend more than five or ten minutes. Take as much time as you like dreaming about the future you desire. See it in your mind. Make vivid pictures of the way you want it to be.

If you don’t know what you want—ask yourself the ‘miracle question’:

“If a miracle occurred during the night, and when you woke up tomorrow—everything in your life was exactly the way you’d like it to be, how would you know there’d been a miracle?”

What would you see, feel and hear that would let you know a miracle had taken place?

What are the things, experiences, qualities, and ways of being you’d like to experience more of in the future. Make a list of these.

These can be quite general…

Spend more time with your family?

Get fitter?

Earn more?

Learn more?

Spend more time in the present moment?

List the things you’d like to attract into your life.

Step 4) Make a list of your goals for the year ahead.

What would you like to accomplish?

What would you like to learn?

What would you like to get?

Who would you like to meet?

In what ways would you like to grow?

What are you committed to this year that you did not do last year?

There are all sorts of claims made about the power of goal setting, but I’m going to spare you the rhetoric. Instead, I’ll make a blindingly obvious point: you have a much better chance of hitting a target when you know what it is.

Human neurology is goal-seeking—so access your incredibly powerful unconscious mind — and make a list of what you’d like to achieve in 2011.

Step 5) Read through the your list of last years accomplishments.
Congratulate yourself for everything you did right. Put this list (#1) on your left.
Read through the list of things you’d like to leave behind. Forgive yourself for any mistakes you feel you’ve made, and put this list (#2) on your left also.

Take the materials relating to your dreams (#3), and place them in front of you.

Review the list of things you’d like to attract into your life, and put this list (#4) on your right.
Read through your goals for the year ahead, then put this list (#5) on your right also (if you are left handed, lists 1 & 2 on your right and 4 & 5 on your left).

Imagine all the good feelings, thoughts and energies from your accomplishments coming into your body (you can visualize them coming into your body in any way you choose).

Step 6) Change something. We all get stuck from time to time. We don’t like change because it’s uncomfortable. We can so easily get stuck in a routine that makes our lives dull and boring. Routines can drains us of energy. They stifle creativity. They keep us from moving forward. They cause us to live in fear of change when we should embrace it.

What should you change?

It really doesn’t matter. It can be a lamp shade, a bedspread, a piece of art, your route to work, your hairstyle, re-arrange your furniture, clean up your office, throw out all the junk … just change anything and change as much as you can manage.

Think of today as springtime … don’t wait till April. Bloom now. Start over, make your life fresh again! It feels good and produces great results.

Step 7) Forgive someone who may have hurt you. Wipe the slate clean. The biggest mistake we can make is to go into a new year with old baggage. Reconcile all damaged relationships as fast as you can. It isn’t easy—but it could be the most important thing you do all year.

Step 8) Forgive yourself. So you weren’t perfect in ‘09 … take solace in the fact that no one else was either. Forgive yourself and try not to make the same mistakes again. You are a human being becoming—and you are special.

Go to your mirror every morning for the next 365 days—look at yourself in that mirror and say 10 times, “I love you”. Silly? I don’t think so.

Step 9) Commit to putting your family first in your life. You have a lot going on in your life. If you are on the fast track to success, you can easily take your family for granted. When the dust clears from all that striving, the things that matter most have to do with your family. These are the people who love you the most. How would you score yourself in 2010 for building a close and loving family? Commit to being the catalyst for a closer family. Call everyone in your family right now and tell them how much you love them— especially those with whom you may have a strained relationship.

Step 10) Commit to a life of gratitude. In my opinion—the only road to happiness. Spend more time being grateful and less time being critical. I struggle with this. It isn’t that I’m not grateful … I just see so much that could be better and I want to fix it. From time to time I get a little caught up in “what’s wrong” and I tend to forget to be thankful for “what’s right”. I have to remind myself that every day is a gift, and tomorrow is promised to no man.
I am committed to making 2011 my “gratitude year”.

Make a list of 20 things you are most grateful for.

If you get on a roll, just keep writing. I did. I filled up a legal pad and I could write more. I’m serious. This is a powerful exercise and a great way to start a new year. One of the things I wrote down near the top of my “grateful list”was how grateful I am for you. I want you to know how much I appreciate your friendship.

I get emails all the time for people I’ve never met thanking me for such a simple thing as putting my thoughts in an email and sending it out. It makes me feel good. Gratitude enriches the life of giver and receiver. Do it often…

It is my sincere desire that 2011 is only the beginning of the life you’ve always dreamed of.

Compliments of Dan Henderson