I love this time of the year. Smiling faces, generous hearts, sun (or snow), friends and family, time for fun and festivities, plans for the future, and most importantly I believe, time to reflect. My message over the last few weeks has been to make the most of the moment, slay the day, and finish the year strong. I believe it wholeheartedly, and part of that, I believe, is to find at least one thing, and smile.

As I have already mentioned, I speak to and see many posts on social media from many people suggesting that 2023 has been a year to forget, and they can’t wait for 2024 to come. I believe these people make two very understandable but devastating errors in judgment. The first one is thinking that somehow, as a new year arrives, things will magically get better. They won’t! We create change in the only moment we have, now, and then the future will get better. It is not a random fingers-crossed and when-I-get-there kind of deal. The second mistake is actually allowing yourself to miss the joy, beauty, accomplishments, lessons, and/or opportunities that occurred in 2023. Trust me, if you are open to it, look for it, and reflect on it, you will find at least one thing, and smile.

As I reflect on my 2023, it was definitely a mixed bag. I think that is probably what it’s like every year, isn’t it? When I say mixed bag, I want to clarify. It doesn’t mean some great things and some terrible things. It means some things that went as I hoped, and some incredible lessons I learned when they didn’t. There were some joyous moments, and there were some challenging but glorious opportunities for personal growth. I guess what I am trying to say, without wanting to come across as too Pollyanna or insensitive, is that I can look back at everything that happened this year and smile. Smile for the achievement, smile for the joy, smile for the connection, smile for the significance, smile for the lesson, or smile for the opportunity to grow as a person. What about you?

What I want to encourage you to do, before you relegate 2023 to the past and move into 2024 with hope and anticipation, is find, reflect on, and bask in at least one thing that happened in 2023 that is cause for a smile. Was in an achievement, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant? It is significant, and you should be proud. Was it an experience that moved you in a positive way? Was it a connection with another human that warmed your heart? Was it the completion of something you have been working on for a while? Was it letting go of something that you recognised was no longer serving you? Was it a lesson learned from something that didn’t go the way you wanted? Was it a perspective you gained regarding something that has been holding you back? Was it the kick up the butt you really needed? What is it? Embrace it, enjoy it, be grateful for it, and smile.

In my podcast this week called Learn to be lucky with the fabulous Andy Lingfield, we have an incredible conversation about creating more ‘luck’ in your life. When Andy was seven years old, a trip to the musical theatre with his dad to see the Sound of Music, and then a kind gesture by the lady behind the merchandise counter sparked a dream in him that many would consider lucky that he actually achieved. The memory of that visit to the theatre still makes him smile, many decades later.

You never know, the thing that you reflect on that makes you smile, may actually be the thing that is the catalyst for great change in your life and the fulfillment of a dream. So, don’t waste it. There are more moments of significance that happened this year than you or I will probably ever recognise or remember, but all I am encouraging you to do is just find and focus on one. Please don’t let this year pass without realising that without everything that happened, you would not be the wonderful human being you are today. So, find that one thing, and smile.