At this time of year we are bombarded with messages about New Year’s Resolutions and setting goals for the new year. As we look forward into the new year it is just as important to look back; to stop, reflect, and review the year we’ve just survived. Reflection is important for many reasons. It helps us gain insight into our experiences, behaviors and patterns. It’s the foundation for growing and changing and can help us understand what is going well and why.
But how do we reflect? What’s important to keep in mind when reflecting?
It can be powerful to look for what went well, not just what went wrong. If we don’t acknowledge our successes, we are never fully aware of our strengths or resilience. Creating more of what is going well is just as important as doing less of what isn’t working.
Failures are always ‘failures’. When things don’t turn out the way we think they should we are often self critical. Instead, can you think of what you learned from this ‘failure’ or work to acknowledge any lessons you learned or unexpected positives?
Be honest and be kind to yourself. We make decisions with the information we have at the time. Maybe that decision you made back in March was the right one for the moment, but in the context of the year doesn’t feel right anymore. That’s ok, be nice to yourself about it.
Some examples of reflection questions we can ask ourselves:
- What did I learn about myself this year?
- What were some accomplishments this year?
- Was there anything I set out to accomplish that I wasn’t able to? What was the barrier?
- What can I leave behind this past year? What do I want to carry forward from this year?
- How did I spend my time this year? How was my work/life balance?
- What am I most proud of from this year?
- What challenged me this year?
- What did I prioritize this year?
- What was something that was unexpected?
This year, before you look forward, I encourage you to look back. Happy New Year!
By: Hillary Burr