How to end your year on a high

So, how was it for you?

What was your 2010 like? No doubt there was some good stuff and some not so good. How will you remember the last 365 days? I think most of us remember the bad all too well and forget all too easily the successes and good times we created.

The problem is that even significant achievements can be forgotten a few months down the line. This is because the human psyche is built to adjust to any new situation after a period of time. So if we finally get clear on the work we want to do, or we get our office tidy, or we build a website to promote our business, a few months later we barely remember what is was like beforehand when we were confused, surrounded by clutter or had no online presence at all.

End your year on a high instead with a celebration of everything you've achieved - with an End of Year Show & Tell.

How to create an End of Year Show & Tell

  1. Enlist a group of willing and supportive friends or colleagues to join in the Show & Tell. (Forward them this post to explain)
  2. Each of you should start thinking about what you've achieved over the year and make a list. Cast your net wide to find achievements - it's not just about the fact that you won a contract or earned a certain amount, it's also the holiday you organised, the new filing system you created in your office, or the new dish you learned to cook.
    You might also include the new behaviours and habits like stopping for proper lunch breaks, or learning to say no to extra work when you're already busy. And it's also new beliefs like realising that you can do work you enjoy and make a living.
  3. Collect a piece of evidence to represent each achievement - a screen grab of your new website, a printout of a spreadsheet of earnings, a photo of your new tidy office, a product or report you created, or a piece of creative writing you produced.
  4. Arrange a time to meet at someone's home for the Show & Tell.
  5. Each take an agreed period of time (eg 20 minutes) to list your achievements and show the items. You might lay them all out on the floor to get a sense of the scope of your year's achievements or show them one at a time. You could even (as I did this year) use a programme like iPhoto to turn them into a short movie backed by a favourite piece of music.
  6. Give each other a round of applause!

You should find you feel a lot more upbeat and proud of the year just gone - and more capable and positive about the year coming up. (If someone in your group claims they haven't had any achievements, the others should feel free to remind them of some.)

This process has an additional benefit in that it tends to set your mind on a more positive track looking for achievements over the course of the next year. Consider writing them down in a log at the end of each week, ready for 2011's Show & Tell.

What feels like your most significant 2010 achievement to you? Leave a comment (if you're happy to share it).

And so on to 2011...

If you'd like your 2011 list of achievements to include "Finally found my route to get paid for something I love", take a look at the Screw Work Let's Play Programme starting 24 January

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  • You're absolutely right, it is easy to forget what has been achieved when the 'current' is always about what's next.

    For me 2010 will always be important as the year I published my first book about the subject that I have been talking about for many moons. There are more titles being planned as I enjoyed the process so much but I have a sneaking suspicion that nothing will quite top the feeling of having the first print copy in my hand!

    Here's to a successful 2011 - hopefully with a bit more fun than we all had in 2010.

  • Hi John, my biggest achievement this year was realising that the possibilities are endless. With in reason I can turn my hand to anything, and I have time to do it all.

  • Nice one Chris!

  • Congratulations Susie! It's a great feeling isn't it?

  • Hola!

    My year have had some challenges including losing employment.

    Some achievements:

    getting dismissed and finding another employment
    increased contacts and friends
    decided to receive professional coaching and act on it
    started a new group: about my passion.
    = feeling more confidence about myself and my possibilities
    Thanks! Happy new year!

  • Sorry to hear it's been a challenging year Barbara but glad to hear you've responded to it so positively.

  • Peter


    My high is that I’ve survived it.


    This year promises a number of changes.
    Decrease in income.
    Increase in costs.
    Accommodation changes. (Building works where I live)
    Personal health.
    Employment changes
    Long term planning (I will be 61 in January)
    Limited free time

    Happy New Year everyone

  • 1. Met the most amazing man and got pregnant
    2. took up the challenge of moving to France (although we are now returning for the baby)
    3. Re-invented a businesses and launched a new successful branded product for the business
    4. Made loads of new contacts and kept up with the old ones.
    5. Tried to help as many people as possible along the way
    6. Really got to grips with SEO and Social Media, built my blog and grew our facebook page to 3000 in 6 months.
    7. Committed to in my spare time becoming a fully qualified psychotherapist by 2015 (It takes 4 years!)
    8. Generally living my life how I want to and not having it dictated to me.
    9. Elated to find out there are other people like me... Scanners!

    I think I will stop now 🙂

  • Snap! Like Susie, 2010 was my year of the book. My first novella about life, love and business treachery came out, and I don't think I'll forget it in a hurry, if only because of how much I love the cover art 🙂

    Thanks for the great end-of--year suggestion, too. Celebrating successes is always fun.

  • Dave Adkin

    Hi John,

    just downloaded your free pdf and felt inspired - so much so, that i've ordered a copy from Amazon!

    2010 has been a bit crazy and without going into all the drama, I found myself out of work in september after 10 years with the marketing agency I worked for.

    So, I took a deep breath and have started my own business consultancy and now have 2 clients and work up until the end of February.

    Really looking forward to reading 'Screw Work Let's Play and will report back soon...

    All the best Dave.

  • Hi David - sounds like a good plan. Let us know how you get on with the book.

  • Congrats Stephanie! Lots of writers so far commenting which is very cool.

  • That's no small thing some years Peter!

  • That's quite a year Sarah!
    What's your facebook page?

  • Thanks John - very good point about forgetting sucesses. I decided a few days ago to write a list of this year's achievments and I'll feeling pretty positive about heading into 2011 now. Top one to share: Completing two screenwriting courses (including a 5 min script and a feature treatment).
    Happy 2011

  • Sue

    I read this yesterday and wrote my blog post and referred to your idea, John, of ending the year on a high - it's a great idea! I just added another blog post today so if anyone is interested take a look

    My year has been good -

    I've started to follow my dream to work for myself doing work I enjoy
    I've nearly finished writing my first book (first steps first!)
    I started a blog
    I Tweeted more than the year before :o)

    So on that basis ... next year is going to be even better.

    Happy New Year!

  • guy thomas

    Read your book through in August whilst on holiday and have recognised that I need to step up a gear to make some major changes in my career.



  • Peter

    Thanks for your comments.
    One thing I didn’t mention was I’ve worked for the same company for 41 years.
    But reading what other people have post moved me to take some action.
    I like taking photographs.
    I’ve an account on the Flickre web site. I’ve spent some time practicing up loading to my account. I’m going to spent more time working on it.
    This is my “play”

  • Hello

    I think this positive reflection of 2010 is a great idea. In fact I am going to round up a few peer business people that I know and do a Show and Tell, it will make us all feel much better about a terrible year. My favourite achievement was taking time out to revisit my creative side, I set up a blog linked to the project, take a look and let me know what you think, follow me if you want Even more daring why not have a go yourself, send me your image and I will feature you as guest artist with a hyper link to your web presence, enjoy and enjoy 2011!

  • I love that blog Robin - nice one!