Evaluation is normal. Evaluating from the perspective of a 'negativity bias' is also normal. However, though negativity bias is built into our hardwiring for survival's sake, it does not serve us to use it when looking back over the year and assessing ourselves. Looking through the eyes of the 'Angel Coach' is much more promising, as it will flood you with hormones and neurotransmitters that support your well-being, your mood, your motivation, and even your health.
Taking stock and assessing what went well, what changed, what you did to move something forward, and what you learned that you can apply in the future is a great 'angel practice' at the end of a project or the end of the year.
Over the course of my life, I have learned that looking back for the purpose of moving forward is extremely beneficial if it done as an 'angel practice.' It certainly tops going into a self-putdown or self-criticism cycle that leaves me feeling depressed, lethargic, and out of sorts. Engaging the 'angel' allows me to think about what I did to move the project or my life forward. By looking at where I was when the project or year started, what I learned or implemented to further my life/project, and how I executed little step by little step, is one way to take credit for my accomplishments.
If you are like most people, you find it easier to berate yourself for what you didn't do rather than credit yourself for what you did do. This year, make it different. Take the time and the care to love yourself more, to look over your year with kindness, to take credit from a place of deep reverence for yourself, your effort, your persistence, your focus, and whatever it took you to get through the obstacles that you encountered this year or during this project.
If you supervise others, take the time to support them in doing the same. Most people will start telling you what they didn't do, how they didn't do something as well as they would have liked. With kindness, shift them as you might shift your own brain, and encourage them to look at and take stock in all the good they did.
Start with the end in mind, whether with the conversation with yourself, your direct reports, your children, your partner, or a friend. The end can be as simple as, “I want to end this conversaton feeling really good and motivated to go into the new year with optimism” or something like that.
Each time you shift into what you didn't do, or didn't do well enough, engage your angel voice to give you a margin of error, to say to yourself something like, “Thinking about what you didn't do is only going to get you depressed, whereas thinking about what you did do will get you inspired to do more. Now, which do you want?” Hopefully, you will answer “the latter” and you will shift into the positive. Your Year through the Eyes of Your Angel will support this.
Expressing gratitude to all those around you who have supported you this year or with your project helps your own internal credit taker and helps you engage in healthy evaluation. To look at how much support you received and how well you used it will help you remember that you do not work alone; that the more you engage your team, the more you can accomplish, and the more you can spread all the good feelings.
In that vein, I feel tremendous gratitude to those of you who are reading this. Thank you for your interest, your commitment to your own development, and thank you for making this world a better place, person by person, relationship by relationship. And an extra special thanks to those of you who have taken the time to write to me. I appreciate it tremendously.
With hopes that you have a great time looking back through the eyes of your angel,