My 'Good This Year' Calendar: How I Kept Track of the Good in 2017
As we said goodbye to 2016 on New Year's Eve last year, many of us were filled with hope that 2017 would be a better year. Goals were set. Resolutions were made. People welcomed the New Year with big smiles and open arms.
I won't lie, I was certainly one of those people. Like many people, 2016 weighed heavy on me. Was it the toughest ever? Nope...there were traces of good throughout 2016. They were just buried beneath the bad, forgotten and lost.
That's why I vowed to keep track of all of the good things that happen in my life throughout 2017, the little things that we often forget to acknowledge year after year.
For me, it was easy to organize. I have a note in Evernote titled Homebase. Within that one note are a few different sections that I use to keep motivated and organized throughout the year. For reference, here's the basic breakdown:
- Motivational Quote: Placed right at the top to remind me that life is good.
- Keep in Touch: A short list of people that I'd like to personally get in touch with soon.
- To-Do: A simple to-do list broken out into three sections -- Do Now, Do Next and Do Later.
- Bucket List: It's good to have goals.
- And lastly, Good This Year: A monthly calendar where I simply list things that make me happy as they happen in real time.
It's that last Good This Year section that I'm finding really made a difference throughout 2017. And it's so easy. I simply use a bulleted list within my Homebase note to acknowledge all the good things that happen in my life month by month. These include concerts I went to, books I finished, trips I went on, personal and professional achievements, and noteworthy experiences with loved ones. No moment is too big or too small to list.
Throughout this exercise, I've realized that noting the good in my life is worth doing so for three reasons:
Moving into 2018, using my Good This Year calendar, I'm now able to look back and see all of the good things that happened in my life throughout 2017. Nothing is buried by unfortunate moments, which gives me greater hope and positivity for the coming year.
Awareness and Goal Setting
Beyond reflection, this exercise has motivated me to be more aware of my goals as well as the items on my bucket list year after year, which makes it easier to cross them off and continue to set new goals moving forward. Additionally, by acknowledging the good in my life, I'm more likely to live a more fulfilled life, which makes me a better person to myself as well as my loved ones.
Gratitude in the Moment
I believe it's important to keep a positive mental attitude throughout the year. Too often, we focus on the negative and take the positive for granted. (There's always a bright side, people.) This simple exercise is a great way to practice gratitude in the moment. As good things happen, simply add them to the list. You should hopefully notice a snowball effect as you take note of all the good piling up in your life month after month.
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Whether you have a New Year's resolution for 2018 or not, I strongly encourage everyone to adopt a similar exercise in 2018. It's easy, beneficial and, honestly, kind of fun.
As an example, below is a stripped down sample of my Good This Year calendar for 2017. I edited and/or removed a few of the more personal items -- like people's names -- that I obviously don't want to share publicly, but please know that they were all good moments nonetheless. You'll notice that each bullet only needs to be a few words, just enough to conjure up a great memory whenever I look back. Although, I'm obviously free to expand and clarify when necessary.
Happy New Year, everyone! Cheers to a good year all around.
My 'Good This Year' Calendar
- CES 2017 in Las Vegas
- Took my wife snowboarding for her first time in Jim Thorpe, PA
- Received my first Society6 payment
- Published Victor Cruz article
- Snowboarding with my wife at Mountain Creek
- New apartment!
- SXSW in Austin, Texas
- St. Paddy's in Boston
- New Found Glory concert at the Stone Pony
- Four Year Strong concert in Long Island
- Ran the Rutgers 8K with my wife
- Rutgers Football season tickets
- Ran the Highland Park 5K with my wife
- Demented Brewery with old friends
- American History Museum in Philly with my wife
- Marketing AI Conference in NYC
- Successful pitch for work in Madison, Wisconsin
- Helped a friend with content marketing for their recording studio
- Week of rewarding housework at investment property in Asheville, NC
- Published Commute Hack article (which was well received on Medium!)
- Published Failure article
- Somerville Craft Beer Festival with my wife
- Finished Coyote Blue by Christopher Moore
- Published Equal Opportunity Creativity article
- First BBQ at the new apartment with friends!
- Launched Take Off, Set Sail side business
- John Mayer concert and tailgate with friends
- Promoted to Content Director!
- Ran the Run Now Wine Later 5K in New Hope, PA with my wife
- Finally secured a storage unit where I can store and play my drums!
- My wife receives word that she passed graduate school!
- Finished Linda and the Real World by Nicholas Kurt Duffy
- Los Angeles for work/to see old friends
- Sleepy Hollow for Halloweekend with my wife
- Watched all of Stranger Things 2 in one day with my wife (great day!)
- New York Giants football at MetLife Stadium with my best friend (even though the Giants super lost to the Rams 51-17)
- Three days of Thanksgiving! (My family, my wife's family, hosting Friendsgiving)
- The Menzingers at House of Independents
- Snowboarding at Blue Mountain/Jim Thorpe for my wife and my one-year wedding anniversary
- My wife official graduates with her Master's in Biology from University of Nebraska - Kearney