With 2013 all but gone, you are in the perfect position to evaluate the “highs” and “lows” from the last year. You won’t be able to achieve your Best Year Ever without taking what we call a sober assessment of this past year.

Having a BEST YEAR EVER is something most people have never even given any thought to… so they couldn’t tell you what it would take. In reality, it’s a very individual thing. It could mean you get an extra week’s vacation… or you go on that African Safari you’ve always talked about… or you make an additional “x” number of dollars… or you get to see your kids accomplish something or achieve a well-earned victory or milestone….

To jumpstart your thinking about what would make YOUR next year the best ever, think back to what WAS your best year ever. It’s probably hard to figure out! These might be some of your ingredients — money or net income; quality of relationships with your spouse, your kids, your employees and patients; some type of experience; the success of your practice; the success of your employees; your employees doing a lot more so you’re doing less and have more time off; your level of contributions or the impact you’re having on the people and world around you.

DEFINE IT… Take a minute a write down some info about your Best Year Ever (and what made it the BEST)!

Now think about your WORST year. Perhaps your parents divorced, or you were young and broke and had to ask a parent for help, or you had an accident or were diagnosed with a serious illness, or you suffered serious financial losses and maybe even lost your house.

It may not be fun to go back and think about all those awful things that happened in your life, but you know what? Those awful things provide the very BEST lessons in our lives. We either use those experiences as excuses… OR we learn from them.

Interestingly, the difference between a good year and a bad year could be just one thing, or one action… so identify it, embrace it and learn from it, so you can make sure it doesn’t happen again. Develop that pattern over your lifetime so you’re always learning valuable lessons.

Make every TOUGH year a GREAT year in terms of what you learn from it. You will be MORE successful in life as a result of getting through tough times IF you learn from them. You also learn you can handle anything; that you’re strong enough to make it through. Then it’s easy to be that person who’s up-beat and optimistic when everyone else is pessimistic — the kind of person others want to work for and be around!