Reflecting on Last Year

Wow, here we are; another year has passed. 2021 was undoubtedly an interesting one, but now it's time to look to the future with all its possibilities, but wait!

All too often, we plough through getting ready for the upcoming year, setting goals or targets, creating plans or setting New Year's resolutions. Still, you could be missing out on something extraordinary by focusing your attention forward. Why not take a moment to reflect on the last year.

Reality Check

Last year may have been your best or worst year. It may have tested you in ways you couldn't imagine, but that does not mean it wasn't filled with things to celebrate or perhaps valuable lessons to learn from.

Do you realise just how much raw potential you have within you? The very fact you are taking the time to read this means that you want to improve your results somehow.

Perhaps you are faced with a common problem: you are distorting the truth, not on purpose; you might not even be aware. Let me explain in one hand you have this potential-filled with dreams and goals of what you want to achieve this year and beyond.

In the other, you have the words you say to yourself, which will create how you feel about yourself, which leads to the actions you take or don't. Combining this with the exterior world and how that translates internally will depend on how you feel about yourself. I know; it sometimes feels like the magic roundabout (wow, I am showing my age now).

All of this then creates filters of how you see yourself and the world around you, leading to action or inaction.

Now, there may be more work needed than just this strategy, but I think it is a great way to help reset certain things and help identify what may have been distorted by these filters, etc.

Reflection is a brilliant skill to practice. In this scenario, it will assist you in exploring the truth about the last year by examining the good, the bad and the ugly. It also helps you understand what you can control and can't, which is also a beneficial skill to develop. We will talk about that another time.

I believe you need to pause and think about what happened because, in truth, you only really ever learn from mistakes or when overcoming a challenge. You may not currently believe it, but often this makes you stronger and more resilient.

It is also important to celebrate your successes. Most of us don't do this enough; this simple strategy helps. Dedicating time to reflect allows you to collect valuable feedback to help you in the upcoming year.

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Photographer: Joshua Earle | Source: Unsplash

The process

First things first, block some time out. I usually give myself a maximum of an hour in a quiet corner of a cafe. Still, it can be anywhere you can devote focused time to yourself.

I put on my trusty sound-cancelling headphones, locking me into my own little world, providing a lovely mixture of background noise and my trusty playlist filled with film scores and relaxing classics.

Armed with my journal and an e-ink tablet; but it could be a notebook or even a piece of paper.

Then I work through a set of questions and answer them as honestly as possible; if you don't journal or document your year, that's fine. It will not stop you from doing this process; you will just need to give yourself time to think about the past 12 months.

Rules of the process:

  1. Don’t judge yourself.
  2. Be honest.
  3. Reflect on the answers and note your thoughts and feelings.

Here are the questions:

  1. Personal highlight of the year?
  2. 5 happiest moments of the past year?
  3. 3 Challenges of the past year, and what did you learn from them?
  4. How have you moved closer to your key life goals?
  5. Who has supported you this year and how?
  6. What are your personal accomplishments?
  7. What are your professional accomplishments?
  8. What relationships have you worked on improving (Family, partner, kids, friends)?
  9. What skills have you developed this year?
  10. What was your biggest lesson this year, and what did it teach you?

You can add other questions to your yearly reflections, but this is a great place to start.

Finally, once you have answered all the above questions, take the time to read through them and write down what you learnt and how with the new knowledge and experiences are you going to move forward positively into the new year.

I look forward to hearing what you learnt and how this is going to help you.

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