For a lot of people, 2016 was just not a good year. We’ve all seen the memes, we’ve all felt the death of one of our childhood heroes, be it Prince or Carrie Fisher (I’m still devastated).
For the majority of the country, the election also didn’t turn out the way we expected, and the campaign itself was laced with anger and hurt. There have been over 7,000 migrant deaths and 450,000 have died in Syria’s civil war, 50,000 of which were children. Several terrorist attacks shook the world, from Pulse, a gay nightclub, in Florida to Paris.
Not to mention, plenty of us went through our own personal battles this year – I know I did. It’s easy to dwell on the bad as we approach 2017, but this can be toxic.
I have a very specific planner I use called the Passion Planner. If you’ve never heard of it before, it’s a planner designed specifically for graduates to continue to set and achieve goals, something a lot of people forget to keep doing after they’ve graduated and are in the working world. It’s basically the greatest planner in the world for a workaholic organizer like myself.
With my planner, I’ve been considering what I want some of my future goals to be: become fluent in Spanish again, continue to practice my ASL, take the steps to teach English abroad for six months and go on a backpacking trip in Europe in five years.
As I was starting to figure out each step in my many goals so I could set attainable mini-goals throughout 2017, I felt bogged down by the overall negativity I had for this past year. I realized I couldn’t begin to make 2017 great until I made my peace with 2016.
In my planner, there is a place to write down good things that happened each week. I decided to sit down with my planner and really look at where I had been and what I had done throughout 2016 that was good.
I ended up making a list of all the great things that happened throughout the year, and it was therapeutic. It made me realize I was focusing far too much on the negatives and not being nearly grateful enough for all the amazing things I had done in 2016.
For example, in 2016 I travelled to three new states and I left the country for the first time ever to go to Greece and present research at an international conference. I adopted my kitty, and even though she’s a devil most of the time, I’m glad she’s a part of my little family.
I graduated from college and landed my first full-time job in the industry I wanted. Moving from home meant I got to travel back for fun-packed visits with friends and family.
One of my very best friends was married and my fiance and I celebrated four years together shortly before we got married ourselves and went on the honeymoon of a lifetime.
By the end of making my very long list I felt so much better about 2016, and I’m ready to enter 2017 and keep building my own empire (a nod to Carrie there, I told you I’m still devastated). I don’t think I would have been as ready if I hadn’t really thought about the great things in my life.
I get it; last year we said 2016 was going to be our year, and it wasn’t for a lot of us. We may be ready to put the whole thing behind us, but before you do, don’t forget to think about some of the really wonderful things that came out of 2016. We wouldn’t have 2017 without them.