If you’re like me, when you arrive upon this time of year, you’re a bit surprised. The year feels like it zipped by, and we were just ringing in the last New Year.
This is one reason I do a year-end reflection each year. And I encourage you to do the same because without reflection you’ll miss some really big opportunities.
According to Harvard Business School, reflection results in learning more effectively, which increases productivity and builds one’s confidence in achieving a goal.
Without taking the time to reflect on the last 12 months, you’ll also lose important moments to celebrate and lessons to integrate. These build positive momentum towards goal achievement and could increase your happiness level.
To start with your own year-end reflection, start with these questions.
1. What did I do, create, or experience this year that makes me proud?
Are you critical of yourself? Me too, which is why capturing celebrations is so freaking important! Your brain has a negative bias; this means, unless you make an effort to see the positive, you probably won’t (and if you do, you’ll brush by it pretty quickly).
You need to actively amplify the positive events to help train your brain to see more of them. As you relish in more positive events, taking them in and really feeling them in your body, you’ll start to increase your happiness level. If you want to find out more regarding this process, Rick Hanson explains this in Hardwiring Happiness.
Take time to reflect by going through your calendar, looking at pictures on your phone, or chatting with loved ones to mine the gold nuggets from the last 12 months. Then celebrate and be proud!
2. What mistakes did I make that taught me something? What lessons did I learn that I can leverage?
I get it — failure stinks and sometimes it’s seriously painful! Even when we know that failure is the most data-rich source of information available to us personally, we still don’t want to touch it (or reminisce about it).
Yet, to get the lessons, reflection on failures is an important part of the process. It’s hard to see the lessons when you’re still reeling in the pain. And often, as soon as the pain dulls, the typical reaction is to want to forget the experience as soon as possible, in order to “move forward.”
Don’t do this! You’ll leave valuable lessons behind (which means you’ll likely repeat them). To learn the lessons, you need to dig for them, which is easier to do after some time and distance from the event. So, go back and dig deep by asking yourself, “What can I learn from this?” and “What else can this mean?” Then learn the necessary lessons and integrate them as you move forward!
3. What am I willing to let go of?
Do you have projects, commitments, people or habits that have been hanging over your head? Maybe it’s time to drop them because they aren’t that important, don’t align with your values, or simply drain too much life-energy from you. Stop “should-ing” on yourself and let it go!
Is there a story you’re telling yourself that no longer serves you? What are you telling yourself that’s holding you back? What hurts, shames, or embarrasses you that you keep reliving? Is it time to let these go? The cool thing is you get to write your new story; but first, you need to let go of the old one that you’re holding onto because it isn’t serving you.
Once you’re done with your year-end reflection, write down what you commit to for the next year.
Are you letting go of a story or project? Will you try something new that scares you in order to learn some new lessons? Want to test out a new story? What will make 2020 your best year?
Whatever it is, write it down as a reminder for you in 2020 – and plan to review it periodically to track your progress.
If you need help planning your goals, check out my complimentary Goal Crushing System. It’s a step-by-step process to help you get clear on the goals that really matter so you can successfully crush them in the new year!
Do you want help setting goals that align with what you really want? Are you not sure what you really want and need help getting focused? Do you want a partner to help you build momentum and maintain it throughout the year? If so, I’m here for you.
Happy New Year!