Would you like 2023 to be your best year yet? If the answer is yes, then you may need to take some time over the festive season just for you and here is why.
It’s hard to think of what to focus on in the New Year when it comes to goals. One way to set yourself up for a successful year going forward is reflection, and this is where the YOU time comes in.
The practice of reflection is powerful because it gives you all the tools you need to figure out how you came to be where you are right now. It gives you “data” to evaluate the decisions you made and the whys and how’s of 2019.
We’ve developed a series articles in which we detail 3 different reflection techniques all of which enable you to gain valuable insight into your decisions, your thoughts and ways to how to move forward in 2020.
As you think about the past year, if negative thoughts start to creep in, it’s OK to sit with them for a moment, but then bring your attention back to the positive. Remember to be gentle with yourself. For these exercises, it’s important to let your thoughts flow freely rather than scrutinizing them.
The first reflection technique takes a look at the last year in a month-by-month breakdown. The second reflection technique looks at the different areas of your life and the third and final technique looks at different facets of your life. Pick the one that feels most approachable for you. After that, we’ve included a few easy (and fun!) steps to help focus on the year ahead.
Technique one: Month-to-Month Breakdown
- Find a quiet place and block off about 30 minutes.
Do whatever you need to relax (maybe make yourself a cup of tea or take a few deep breaths), free yourself of distractions, and get out a pen and some paper.
2. Deep dive into the past year month by month.
Write down one thing you can rejoice in from each month. I recommend having your calendar or phone nearby to refresh your memory. Think: a summer weekend outdoors, that time your boss complimented your work, your birthday, trying a new workout class that you loved, or your friend’s wedding. Each thing that you remember will make you realise more of what you enjoy and thus help you when you start to work on your goals for 2019.
3. Name one quality you appreciate about yourself.
In an effort to be thankful for the year you just had, think about one quality you enjoy or one quality you’re working on. It could be something you are currently enjoying in your work, or it could be one aspect of your body, that doesn’t mean you need to be in peak physical condition either. You could delight in your hearing and all the great music you get to listen to, or the use of your legs and the long walks you’ve taken. You will notice that as you start to appreciate one aspect of yourself other memories will begin to surface; which in turn will make you think of the next quality you appreciate. The more you do this exercise, the more you will realise what things energise you, and it will help you focus on what activities you would like to continue with in the New Year.
Repeat this exercise taking a look at what drained you, what made you sad, or frustrated. Keep this reflection to only 1 thing a month.
Then take the two sets of feedback, both the positive and the negative and draw out what are the activities that helped you and what are the activities that hindered you. That way you will easily be able to recognise where you need to focus your attention in the New Year.
The learning through this reflection process helps you appreciate the wide spectrum of experiences you have had, both positive and negative. Without looking back and reflecting on what has been, it is easy to make the same mistakes. Reflection is an important part of self-awareness, which is at the heart of self-improvement. Take some time to reflect on the last year so you can set goals for the New Year ahead.