Christmas is a fantastic time of year, I love it. And my favourite Christmas tune is John Lennon’s Happy Christmas (War is Over). And the line I particualrly love is the the title of this post – and so this is Christmas and what have you done…
I love that call to review your year and take stock of what you’ve accomplished. Someone once said to me that people will generally over-estimate what they can acheive in a year and drastically under-estimate what they can do in five years. And that’s certainly been my experience. How often do we find ourselves coming to this time of the year and saying to ourselves “I can’t believe how quickly the year has flown by” – often with a whisper in the background of “and what did you do with it?”. Almsot like an accusation.
Because all too often it feels like just another year on the treadmill. That feeling that we’re just running the hamster wheel.
In my next blog I’ll talk a litle bit about new years resolutions and looking forward. Because there are a range of reasons why we don’t accomplish everything we would like to in a year and some simple strategies we can employ to take more control of that.
Before we look at that though it’s interesting to ask ourselves why we have that hamster wheel feeling. Sure there may be some unfulfilled goals over the last year (or maybe we didn’t set any in the first place), but there’s more to it than that. I believe we’re simply not that good at making time to take stock and realise what we have accomplished. We’ve done plenty, we’ve just failed to notice it.
When I’m running role plays or asking folks to critique their own presentations in corporate training events I see an intriguing thing take place. When I ask people how they thought they went, the first thing out of their mouths is always a litany of the things they thought they did wrong, forgot to do or did too much of. I’ve got to work quite hard to get them to pay attention to all of the things that were going really well.
Now there’s nothing wrong with identifying room for improvement. But we perform at our best when we feel most confident. Whether that’s confidence in our ultimate results or simply confidence that we are learning and making progress with everything we do. And it’s very hard to develop that confidence if we’re not making an effot to notice and celebrate our progress!
So every year around this time when I first hear John Lennon asking me “what have you done?” it’s my cue to pick up a pen and start making a list of everything I’ve done this year, everything I’ve learned and the positive experiences I’ve had. Try it and like me you may be surprised at all of the growth, success and learning that you’ve forgotten about. Do it as a family and share it in your Christmas messages to friends and family, they’ll be more interested than you think – and maybe it’ll inspire them to do the same and have a ripple effect. And before you realise it you may find you no longer have to wait until Christmas to notice your ongoing little successes and celebrate them quietly to yourself. And to take the confidence that grows with that. And who knows where that confidence may take you.
But for now, grab a pen because here comes the question.
This is Christmas…and what have you done?