How was your 2017? An associate recently asked for my description of the year 2017 in three words. My first instinct was ‘Another Year Gone’. However, on further reflection, I recognized that 2017 was not just another year gone. It was a unique year. It was a year characterized by both the good and the bad and maybe even the ugly which are part of living. How do we close this year on a high note?

At the individual level and even in organizations, the year has had its gains and pains. As we come to the close of the year, it is an opportune time to reflect on the gains we have made and the lessons we can learn from pains experienced. In a few days, 2017 will be in the past.

A good starting point to end this year on a high is to be grateful that we saw the year 2017. It is not a given that everyone who witness a New Year witnesses its end. In addition, there is a lot that we can be thankful for. We need to be thankful for the experience we have had. We need to be thankful for personal growth or our business growth however minimal. We need to be thankful for the new friends, new networks and new customers we have made. We need to be thankful for the new habits we have developed and the bad old habits that we have let go. We need to be thankful that 2017 was not just another year gone by. Maybe 2017 was even our ‘Best Year Yet.’

We need to also take time and reflect deeper on the gains we have made. In addition to being thankful, we must seek to determine how we can turn this year’s gains however small into repeatable processes. How can we build on the gains we made in 2018? If our major gain was a new skill, how do we utilize the new skill moving forward and keep learning? If our main gain was that our business survived the electioneering period, how can we make it thrive in 2018? If our main gain was a new customer, how can we nurture the relationship? If our main gain was a new job, are we striving to excel at it? If our main gain was that the election process was improved, how can we even make it better next time?

In addition, we need to reflect on pains we have experienced. When reflecting on the pains experienced, we can choose to learn from them or mull over them in distress. To end 2017 on a high we need to look at the lessons learnt from the pains experienced in 2017. For example, how can we be more humane? We also need to figure out what we need to do to fix where we failed. If our major pain was the failure of a business start-up, what can we do differently in 2018? How can we learn from other people’s experiences instead of waiting to go through similar experiences?

Irrespective of the ups and downs in 2017 we can choose to end the year on a high. It is unlikely that any person has two years that are the same. This year could have been different but that does not mean it was not a worthwhile year. Let us be grateful for 2017!

Wishing all our readers new beginnings and new aspirations in the coming New Year!

Lucy Kiruthu is a Management Consultant and Trainer connect via twitter @KiruthuLucy