What to do BEFORE you jump into your New Year’s resolutions

change growth mindset

2023 is officially in the rearview mirror! As we bid farewell to 2023 and venture into the uncharted waters of 2024, it's crucial for lawyers and legal professionals to take a moment to reflect on the past year with a sense of gratitude. 

If you’re anything like me, 2023 likely brought its fair share of challenges and triumphs, both personally and professionally. Before we dive headfirst into 2024, let’s explore why it's essential to express gratitude for the lessons learned and growth experienced in 2023, along with four practical tips to help you do just that.

1. Acknowledge Your Personal and Professional Growth: Before you jump with both feet into setting new resolutions and goals for 2024, let's pause for a moment to appreciate the progress you've made. Whether it involves mastering a complex legal issue, honing your negotiation skills, building your leadership skills, or finding a better work-life balance, take time to recognize your accomplishments, no matter how big or small. Reflect on the hurdles you overcame and how they contributed to your personal and professional development.

2. Thank the Version of You That Carried You Through 2023: Before you start crafting new expectations for yourself in 2024, express gratitude for the person you were in 2023. That past version of you carried the weight of the year's challenges, adapted to unexpected circumstances, and strived for success. Take a moment to acknowledge and appreciate this resilient version of yourself for your unwavering dedication, hard work, and determination. It's a powerful way to recognize your inner strength and tenacity.

3. Embrace the Lessons Learned: Lawyers and legal professionals are in a perpetual state of learning and growth. In 2023, you undoubtedly encountered situations that tested your knowledge and skills. Reflect on these experiences and the valuable lessons they brought. Whether it was a case or assignment that stretched the boundaries of your knowledge and skills or a challenging client or colleague interaction that taught you patience, each encounter contributed to your professional (and also maybe personal) growth. Express gratitude for these lessons, as they are the stepping stones to your expertise, mastery, and development.

4. Practice Gratitude Daily: Incorporate a daily gratitude routine into your life. Start or end your day by noting three things you're thankful for. This simple practice can shift your focus from what you lack to what you have achieved and received. Whether it's a successful case resolution, a supportive colleague, or a moment of personal joy, acknowledging these blessings can enhance your overall well-being and perspective.

As lawyers and legal professionals, we often hold ourselves to high standards and are quick to set new expectations. However, before you rush into charting your course for 2024, take a moment to pause and reflect on the journey that brought you here. By expressing gratitude for the lessons learned, the growth achieved, and the version of yourself that navigated 2023, you'll enter the new year with a sense of contentment and readiness to tackle fresh challenges with confidence and resilience.

Take a moment this first week of the new year to appreciate your personal and professional growth, express gratitude for the version of yourself that carried you through 2023, embrace the lessons learned, and cultivate a daily practice of gratitude. 

If you can do those things, you’ll kick off 2024 with a feeling of fulfillment and a mindset geared toward confidently and resiliently handling whatever the year may bring.

Wishing you all the very best in the coming year!