It is getting to the end of the year when we often start to think about next year. To make plans, and set ourselves new business goals, and personal ‘New Year Resolutions’!

Before we do this, I suggest you turn around and look how far you have come. Often, we find ourselves so focused on where we are going, we forget to look where we have come from. Or, we look at the list of 10 priorities and berate ourselves for not achieving 2, instead of celebrating the fact we have achieved 8 on the list. We can sometimes be our own worst enemy and put unnecessary pressure on ourselves.

It is key to our success and overall wellbeing to take stock of where we are, and enjoy the moment. To celebrate what we have achieved, what we have overcome, before we think about what is next. It is only by looking back, reviewing the journey and learning from the experience that we can equip ourselves for the path ahead. Whether it has been a challenging road so far, or a delight, we need to understand and learn from it. For many of us, it is in fact the journey that we enjoy as much as the destination, so it really is worth while reviewing how it has gone so far.

It is so important to celebrate achievements, and learn from the experience. I’m sure there were challenges over the last year, I’m equally sure we all have something to celebrate. It is important we learn from the challenges and take this knowledge to prepare us for the next step. Equally, if you have had an amazing year, look at how this happened, learn from it and make sure you do it again!

Today we all live such busy lives. Often running from one task to the next without time to think; or time to enjoy what we have. It is this thinking time, reflecting, putting everything in to perspective that ensures we are doing what we want, and living the life of our choice. It is only by taking time out to reflect, that we can make sure we are on track to where we want to be, and that we are looking after our own wellbeing and happiness. It is important we take time to enjoy and cherish what we have right now.

Because we are so busy and often find ourselves under pressure – often self-inflicted – we sometimes find ourselves far from the path we had set; or would like to be on. I often use the analogy of a ship to explain what I mean. Before a ship leaves the safety of the harbour its destination is agreed, then a clear route to that destination is plotted, taking into account all of the possible obstacles, including the needs of the passengers. We decide on our destination in life – set a goal – and then work out the best way of getting there. There are often many different routes – the scenic route – the adventurous route – the quickest route, it is up to us to decide which route we take and, our final destination. If we do this, we stand a very good chance of getting to where we want to be.

The alternative is we set the ship free from the harbour and see where the ship ends up. It may sound exciting to start with – maybe we will end up on a tropical island? In reality, the ship is far more likely to be overcome by the huge waves out in the ocean, or crash onto rocks.

This analogy is similar to many of our lives today. Many people do not plan, or, they believe they have no time to plan – so they just set sail. They work harder and harder to try and get somewhere they think they want to be, but they never seem to get there. Primarily because they have no path to follow, they keep going around and around in circles, getting more and more tired and disheartened. Then something goes wrong, and sadly as we see all too often, this can lead to a physical or mental health challenge. We cannot plan for every eventuality, however if we at least decide on our destination. We can also put a plan together of how we want to get there, taking into account all of the known challenges. This way we will have a far better chance of achieving our goals.

And going back to the ship analogy, we still need to check in regularly with where we are going. Is everything working okay? Do we have enough fuel, are there unexpected storms ahead or other outside influences that can affect our journey? And this is what we do on our life journey by taking time out to reflect. By turning around and seeing how far we have come, before setting sail again on the next stage of our journey. We learn from the path we have taken so far, which gives us the confidence to keep going, and navigate the path ahead with the learning from where we have been.

Equally many people may choose to go on a cruise – in fact this is probably the most common reason for many people taking a ship today. So, just like we would on a cruise, why not enjoy the journey? Where the ship ends up is not the main goal of a cruise – it is in fact to enjoy the trip; the journey. So maybe we can remember this when thinking about our next steps in 2019 – it is just as important to enjoy getting to our destination as it is arriving. Take time to enjoy and savour your life journey.

How you choose to reflect and refocus is up to you. It has to be your choice and work for you. It needs to give you the time and space away from every day distractions to check-in with yourself. To remind you of your goals, hopes and dreams, and if you feel you have strayed off your intended path, give you the option to get back on track.

I managed to take time out recently on a family holiday. The attached photo is me looking over Etosha pan in northern Namibia; enjoying the moment. I find getting close to nature is the way I reflect best – it is also when I feel most inspired. I don’t however need to go as far as Namibia to do this. I find a walk in the forest, listening to the waves crashing onto a beach or simply time in the garden listening to the birds, gives me the time and space I need. I make sure my phone is off, I have time to myself, time to think, reflect; enjoy the moment, and then plan the next step. It is my special time, and I do it regularly.

Whatever you do this Christmas, before you make your New Year resolutions and business plans, take time to turn around and look at what you have achieved and learnt over the past year. Enjoy the moment and celebrate you! Then, and, only then, start planning your journey through 2019! Be kind to yourself – you are amazing!

At Baobab Growth we offer walking coaching to help you get back on track. We also run executive retreats in the New Forest, take some time out for you, or your business team, to reflect and plan the next step. For more information contact www.baobabgrowth.com or call 07833176481