Before we look toward next year, it's a good idea to have closure with the current year by going through an exercise of reflection. The temptation might be to not want to reflect on this past year since it's been a particularly challenging one, but those are the times where reflecting can be the most fruitful!
Here are some things that I recommend reflecting on:
1. What am I grateful for that transpired this past year? Big, small and everything in between. What are all of the things that come to mind that you are grateful for? This gives us some nice perspective as we are reflecting on the year. What are your best memories from the year?
2. What did I do, create, or experience this year that I'm really proud of? This can be in any area of your life. List out all of the accomplishments and experiences that you are proud of that happened this year. Work through month-by-month or pull out your calendar or your journal and take a look at the daily entries to help jog your memory. You may be surprised at how many you come up with.
3. What mistakes did I make and what did they teach me? What were the failures, disappointments or missed opportunities? What didn't go as planned and why? What lessons did I learn that I can leverage from? What was the meaning in those mistakes and lessons? Maybe it's something that's not concrete, like patience, or compassion, or forgiveness.
4. What were the game changers? The unexpected events that shifted your priorities and focus. How did these impact your year both positively and/or negatively. What did you learn from them? This year the pandemic was an unexpected game changer for all of us. It's served up many lessons, what were those for you?
5. What were the top three things that you were focused on during the year? The three things that you put the majority of your time, energy, effort and resources into? How did these serve you?
6. What am I willing to let go of? What am I currently disciplined to that I desire to let go of? What habits, routines and disciplines are serving me and which ones are not? What old story do I want to rewrite and replace with a new story? An exercise I love that helps me to create the new story is to play the "imagine if" or "what if" game. When playing the "imagine if" and "what if" game there are no limitations, no rules, no restrictions, no logic. You get to freely create using your imagination what you would like the story to look like.
I think it's healthy to productively reflect. To productively look back for a bit before setting it aside and moving forward. Not getting stuck in the past, just looking at it to savor the positive and learn from the challenges and allow them to help inform your plans for the new year.
How are you feeling about the new year? I know a lot of us have mixed feelings as we are looking out at our world. We want to change, we desire change. How is that change going to happen for you? Are you willing to be the change that you want in the world? Are you willing to do your part to create the change in your own life, in order for that to ripple out into the world? Consider these items as you are closing out this year and looking toward the next.
As the year comes to a close spend some time in reflection. Grab yourself a cup of hot tea, coffee or cocoa, sit by the fireplace, wrap up in a warm cozy blanket and reflect on the year as it is closing. Savor the year. You've been on this earth one more year in time, what did it mean to you?
Wishing you and your family a wonderful holiday season! Enjoy, be well, be happy!