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December is the busy month! The time between Thanksgiving festivities and Christmas/New Years seems to shrink each year. It is lots of glitz, glamour, parties, and over-indulging. Yet, it is also a perfect time to take stock and reflect on what “this year has been about.” Counter-intuitively, the only way to play it forward is first playing it backwards.

Each year at this time I suggest an exercise for myself, as well as for my clients: write your own eulogy. Pretend you are looking back at your life. Ask yourself, how do I really want to be remembered? What have I accomplished? What relationships have I forged? Who am I as a person? What do I stand for? What are my values? When you take this time to reflect, it raises the bar on how you act in the future. This December eulogy then becomes your personal inspiration.

Writing this “eulogy” doesn’t have to be a heart-wrenching act. Just make it simple. Take a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. On one side, jot down the things that you are proud of this year, including work, family, friends, etc. On the other side, jot down points that you would want to include in your future eulogy. Try to be objective – remember this is just pretend. This is just a way to chart your own growth. Are there any points in your eulogy that are missing from how you actually lived in 2013? If so, pick one thing from your eulogy that you feel you can incorporate into 2014.

This “eulogy” is your map for future inspiration. Place it in a safe place and refer to it whenever you have the need to be self-inspired. This act of reflection is personally empowering. As you feel more comfortable with the idea of a yearly eulogy, you may just want to share it with those closest to you and encourage their participation. In this way, your personal inspirational ritual can become a family or community ritual as well!