As we roll into the new year, we’re always encouraged to look back on the year gone by.  This year, however, let me suggest that it’s time to look at the year ahead.  It’s crystal ball time.  With everything that goes wrong in the course of a year, the clean slate of 2024 opens the door for you to look at what will go right.

This can be a cathartic exercise.  Every time I’ve gotten into doom-and-gloom mode, my wife is quick to remind me that there are very few situations where I’ve actually seen the doom or the gloom that I predicted.  Looking back over 2023, I worried that:

  1. I’d be dead from my Stage Four cancer
  2. My country would disintegrate without some serious shift in border controls
  3. They’d take away my gas car, my gas stove and my gas boiler.
  4. My 401K would be completely depleted by the combination of the market and inflation

And I was wrong.

  1. I’m still alive, and actually faring surprisingly well
  2. While I still worry about the border, my country is still here, and I’m still proud of it
  3. I still have a gas car, gas stove and gas boiler (and a wood fireplace, to boot)
  4. My 401K is better off than it was last new year’s by about 5% (still not back to where it was two years ago, but a definite improvement)

And so, we embark on 2024.

What Can You Do?

First, make a short list…just five or six things…that you believe will go right in the year ahead.  They don’t have to be big things.  Maybe you’ll note a restaurant or city you’ll visit.  Maybe it’ll be reconnecting with X number of old friends (and then keep a checklist that you’ve followed through). Perhaps you’ll identify your commitment to work in the garden, mow the lawn, seal the driveway or learn to bake baklava (which is a challenge, but well worth the undertaking). 

When you have the list, post it somewhere semi-prominent.  The refrigerator or wall calendar is a good spot.  Since it’s all positive accomplishment, it’s not self-badgering.  It’s reassuring.  You can have good news of your own making in the new year. 

Second, make an empty list…just five or six blanks…as things happen right around you in the year ahead.  I’m writing this in the old year, and just got one of the last wonderful things for the year gone by.  My cancer markers are down to 600.  Compare that with where I started two-and-a-half years ago—42,000.  600 is about double the “normal” limit, but relative to my old numbers, I’m believing I’ll live to be an old man. 

Third, commit to sharing something positive in every encounter.  It just rained for three straight days here, and it was cold and miserable.  One of my neighbors reinforced how grateful he was that it hadn’t converted to snow, and how truly lucky we are.  I just weighed in at my doctor’s office, and my weight was stable for a whole month, despite the holiday bingeing.   My doctor just shared how pleased she is with my condition, and that she really had to change nothing for another month!  Good.  Good.  Good.  It’s great to be in an environment where the news is good.  (Many people wouldn’t look at a day at the oncologists and two hours of infusions as an upbeat moment.  I do. And I strive to share that outlook with anyone who asks how I’m doing).  The result of these encounters is driven by the laws of attraction.  Like attracts like.  Positive attracts positive.  It’s sometimes challenging to remember that, as we have a nasty habit of focusing on the more daunting aspects of the day-to-day. 

It’s a new year.  Be it resolved that…

You’ll share good news whenever you can

You’ll look ahead to find the opportunities resident in your existence

You’ll believe that the world has the possibility to become better, thanks to you being in it.

On the last one, it’s a George Bailey moment.  If you watched the Frank Capra classic It’s a Wonderful Life over the holidays, you watched a man who struggled to deal with the vagaries of life.  Perhaps the year ahead is the year where you become Clarence, the angel who made George see that his life mattered.  Getting others to see their personal value and worth is enormous.  And in the process of doing so, you open the door to better days for them…and for you.

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Carl Pritchard, PMP, PMI-RMP is a husband, Dad, project manager, wood chopper, drystack stone wall builder, cook, baker, trainer, and audio narrator.  He is blessed, and welcomes your e-mails with questions or comments at carl@carlpritchard.com. His new book, The Stage Four Project, will be released on Amazon in February!