A Look Back At 2012

Last week, I did 108 Sun Salutations at my yoga studio to ring in the Winter Solstice. It’s a strenuous practice moving through the same sequence of yoga poses. Over. And Over. And Over (albeit in various states of modification and states of form) all the way to 108.

As I made by way through the sequences alongside a friend—hoping for that elusive zen moment of awesome awareness at the end of it to make up for an exhausted body—I had a moment to reflect back on the year’s milestones: nabbed my first full-time job, learned how to can tomatoes, became a YNPN blog editor, rode the St. Paul Classic with a new colleague and dear friend, and grew personally, professionally and spiritually. 

Reflecting over my own past year, and looking back at some of YNPN’s own blog entries, here’s what I’ve learned over the past year about life:

Personal/Professional Goals? Hint: They’re related. These are often the same, or highly related to each other. Any type of physical activity, for example, has the added benefit of helping reduce the amount of stress in our lives, which in turn helps us cope better with challenging situations at work. Whew. Holly Harrison wrote about the importance of how our online, professional selves should be a reflection of our awesome, personal real-life selves. As we become more aware of the importance of work-life balance, it’s important to reflect on our personal values regularly and how they align with our personal and professional aspirations.    

Connect—don’t forget your friends and colleagues! Whether it’s discussing salaries and negotiations, practicing effective ranting, or taking a break for lunch, our friends and colleagues are instrumental to our personal growth and development. Nurture the relationships you have and don’t be afraid to start new ones —ask your colleagues to join you for lunch, friends to join you for a ride, or both to volunteer for a cause you all believe in together. You’ll build your personal network of folks to turn to for advice, learn about exciting opportunities, and be a better human being for making the effort to connect.

Review your achievements and goals regularly. While the end of the year is a great time to look back at the year past and set new goals for the year ahead, it’s helpful to set shorter intervals to check in with yourself. It’s easier to see what’s working, what needs tweaking, and what needs to be scrapped altogether. Life happens—things change—making adjustments to accommodate those changes while remaining aligned with your values is far more fruitful than beating yourself up if you don’t meet your expectations (as Regan Smith said, “Changing ain’t easy”). Checking in at different points in time—be it weekly, monthly, seasonally, the year’s end—all serve an important purpose and help you be accountable to yourself.

Those are my two cents. Don’t be afraid to try something new—you never know what may come of it (need some inspiration? see the TED video below about trying something new for 30 days). Zen moments will come in between all the ups and downs of trying new things—learn from those experiences and continue to stride forward with gratitude. Here’s to a happy and healthy 2013.  

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