In just a week, the year 2011 is over. Some people live in the past, and believe things will never become as good as they were. Others don’t look back and believe their future is ahead of them. I believe that the truth is in the middle; Looking back can really bring you forward.
When you make progress in life, it either comes suddenly and fast, or it comes slowly through hard work.
When progress hits you suddenly, you easily get used to the new situation you are in. Scientific studies show that, for example, the emotional impact of a pay raise lasts for a couple of weeks, sometimes months. But then it’s over, once we are conditioned to our new reality. The thrill of progress is over and life continues as usual.
When progress comes slowly, it tends to manifest unnoticed. You probably know the experiment with the frog in the boiling water. If you put the frog in hot water right away, it will jump out. But if you put it in lukewarm water and gradually bring the water to boiling temperature, you will actually boil the frog to death. The frog adapts to the new circumstances and is more or less unaware of the changes around him.
Look back at your past year. What has changed? What has improved? Make a list with your top-5 big life improvements and ask yourself again: Did you make progress this year?
My own top-5 would look like this (in random order):
- I moved to a new apartment, together with my girlfriend
- I published How To Live Wow!? in the Netherlands
- I got appointed Supervisor of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest and Event Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest
- I supervised my first Junior Eurovision Song Contest, which took place in Armenia
- My company (Wow!works) moved to a new office and new colleagues joined
Apart from these five specific highlights of 2011, I am grateful to be healthy and surrounded by many wonderful people who support me, both in my personal life as well as at work.
Realizing what kind of progress you’ve actually made over the course of one year of your life can be extremely inspiring and motivational to get things going in the new year – much more than New Year’s resolutions, that have a tendency to miraculously disappear around late January ;)..
Although I genuinely hope you will have many more items on your list, it is possible that you’ve hit a rough path this year. Coming to the conclusion that you made little to no progress over 2011 can be pretty depressive. Don’t forget that sometimes in life, we need to take one step back before we can take two steps forward. A new year is ahead, full of opportunities you have yet to discover. That awareness is already one great achievement (which, by the way, you can shortlist on your achievement list of 2011!).
Happy new year, dear friends!