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. To reflect on what worked and what didn't and to bring closure. It can be easy to skip this step and jump forward into the next year with the proclamation of forget last year, this year will be better. By doing this it's easy to lose perspective, missing the the good stuff and the growth.
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? I love to start off all of my prayers, meditations, planning sessions, etc. with a good dose of gratitude. This gives us some nice perspective as we are reflecting on 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 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 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 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.
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.
Setting Your Intentions
If you don't set out your intentions for the year, then it's like getting in a car with no direction. As Jack Kornfield puts it, "Setting a long-term intention is like setting the compass of our heart. No matter how rough the storms, how difficult the terrain, our direction is clear." I set intentions that are both internal and external. My external intentions I keep a little more fluid and flexible. I surround them with a lot of space, space for the creativity of the Universe, space for my natural tendency to think too small, space for my highest and best good.
As the year comes to a close spend some time in reflection. Grab yourself a cup of hot tea 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?
Let your intentions be your compass, your guide that helps give you direction even in turbulent or challenging conditions.