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It can often feel like the moment January 1st rolls around, everything resets, we forget the previous year, and clean sheets are laid for what is to come. Personally, I don’t know if that’s a good thing.
Whilst it’s wonderful to mark the arrival of a new year - learning from what has happened before, small steady steps towards your goals, refocusing on purpose, and consistency in the face of uncertainty - these are the things that feel like a more effective approach to building up resilience and sustainable ways of working.
All to often, in January, we set grand ambitions, objectives, and resolutions which are too large and set ourselves up for failure, and come February, if we’re already looking at a list of things we didn’t manage to achieve, that doesn’t set us up for the best year.
Likewise, looking forward is positive, but remembering the lessons of the last 12 months is invaluable too. New research from a cross-European group of academics shows that the self-employed who are better able to tackle unforeseen problems and learn new things have better mental health than those who don’t. Embracing the bad things, recognising your shortcomings and then working on them, is good for your health.
Not unlike the Roman god Janus, who is often linked to the first month of January, looking both backward and forwards, to reflect upon what has happened, and to look ahead to make plans for how to move ahead is something we should be doing constantly, not just on December 31, not just on January 1st, but more frequently. Daily, weekly, monthly - making reflection, learning, and planning a regular ritual, rather than an annual exercise.
One of the things which I find Leapers helps me to do is establish some of those rituals - it’s why we aim to have a pattern to our shared activities - like #theweeklyquestion each Tuesday, and a reflection each Friday. It's why I say good morning each day to the group, and write a monthly email. These rituals create space and time to focus on the most important asset in your business - you.
And if there’s one thing that 2020 has taught us all, it's that looking after ourselves is a critical part of anyone’s plan.
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