With the end of the 2018 rapidly approaching we begin to look forward to the coming new year and the possibility of change or new beginnings. We start to focus on what we want to achieve or do differently, often based on what we feel we haven’t achieved this year. Yet in order to embrace the new we need to release the old.
An important part of preparing for a new year and developing new goals or aspirations is to really reflect more deeply on the past year, release it and to learn from it. By doing this it helps you to set up a more solid foundation for any changes for the new year, without repeating old patterns ‘on the merry go round’’!
So how was 2018 for you? Mostly we measure our achievements by generally accepted standard measures of success, and often in comparison to others. How much did I achieve financially? How did my job/ career progress? Did I find the perfect partner? Did I travel to interesting places? Did I find the right place to live, or achieve some home improvements?
Yet we know that while these might be admirable achievements, they don’t go far enough to really capture the significance of the year, and what we might learn from our experiences.
Some more interesting questions to reflect on could include:
‘What were some of the ‘highs’ I experienced this year, and how do they reflect my values and what’s important to me?’
‘What were some of the ‘lows’ or setbacks I experienced and how did I manage them?’
‘What have I learnt and how have I developed my skills and capabilities this year?’
‘How have I nurtured myself this year?’
‘How have I connected meaningfully with others in my life?’
‘How have I supported and nurtured others close to me?’
‘What has provided me with a sense of meaning and purpose?’
‘How did I manage setbacks and disappointments?’
‘How have I contributed to my community and my society?’
‘What activities did I do that I feel proud of?’
'What have I done that didn’t feel congruent with who I am'?
Writing down your responses in a journal would be a useful way to capture the full essence of 2018 for you and help you when you begin to focus on what you would like to achieve in 2019. An effective way of letting go of things you don’t want to carry forward into the new year is to list them all on a sheet of paper, recognising that they may have helped you at one time, or provided you with significant lesson to learn. Once you’ve done this simply tear them up or burn them.
The biggest benefit of reflecting on your year is that you gain a better understanding and perspective on your life, enabling you to make more positive and effective decisions in your future.
“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom”