Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.
The final week of 2023 between Christmas and the New Year is the best time to reflect on the year passed; a chance to breathe and take a look at what’s happened and, more importantly, what you want from the coming year ahead.
This week is ideal because for many of us it’s a kind of ‘limbo’ week. The stress, worries and rushing around from Christmas is quickly becoming a distant memory, but the excitement of the New Year is rapidly approaching, signalling the opportunity to start a new chapter in your life.
Self-Reflecting on the Year Passed
The term self-reflection means to take the time to become aware everything that’s happened to you over the last 52 weeks. This includes becoming mindful of the lessons you learnt, your achievements and any breakthroughs you had.
You can reflect on everything both big and small.
You can also reflect on what you have learnt as a family, in your career, in your personal life, be mindful of what new skills have you learnt, what dreams and goals you achieved, or not achieve. Reflect on things you can maybe change or even do differently in 2024.
Year's end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on.
Think back to the beginning of the year and reflect on where you wanted to be in January 2023 and where you are now in December. Did you achieve everything you wanted?
Of course, it’s not about beating yourself up and finding fault, nor pointing the blame or feeling as though you failed; it’s about learning.
You need to take this opportunity to self-reflect because it allows you to clearly see what you can change, and you can use what you learned from the year as a lesson to help you turn that dream into a reality this coming year.
Acknowledge your successes.
Really go deep and be truthful with yourself and write everything down in your journal, or even on a piece of paper. This could take ten minutes; it could take an hour. The most important thing to remember is to really take the time to reflect and really explore the year just gone.
Time spent in self-reflection is never wasted - it is an intimate date with yourself.
Paul TP Wong
Once this is done, you can now start to look to the future.
2024 is just around the corner; the future is full of possibilities, of open dreams and goals that you want to achieve. 2024 is going to happen, so why not start to write down your ideas about what you want to achieve in 2024?
Write down the lessons you want to implement in 2024.
This is not about making a goal; it’s about forming ideas and starting to see what you want to achieve. Is there something you did not achieve in 2018 you would like to aim for in 2024?
Did you put something in place to help you get to where you want to go in 2024? Do you want to focus on your health? Wellbeing? Mindset? Personal development? Career? Family? Self-care? Where do you want to really focus on in 2024? Of course, you can focus on more than 1 area.
This is a time to see where you want to take your life.
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF AND ANSWER
These are self-reflective questions which can help you to see how things were in 2018. They can also help you to set up new goals and focus for the new year.
HOW TO SELF-REFLECT?
At the core of self-reflection, there’s one principle you’ll always want to remember, and that’s to be honest. Remember, this entire process is for your own growth and doesn’t need to be shared with anyone.
A handy tip for even better results is to write everything down, then go away and mull over it for a while come back and keep repeating this until you feel ready to accept the past and embrace the future.
Take your time to focus on your personal, career, family, health and finances, as well as any other areas of your life you’re interested in. You can even look at them individually as you answer the questions listed above.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE BENEFITS OF SELF REFLECTION?
Very often, we live like hamsters on a wheel going round and round, but seemingly not getting anywhere.
However, when you take the time to reflect, you’re looking inwards and this enables you to build up your emotional intelligence by noticing you’re caught in the trap and cycle of the wheel, and ultimately giving you the perspective, you need to escape its clutches.
Self-awareness and self-regulation are also huge benefits that come from self-reflecting. Self-awareness is the ability to understand your emotions, your strengths and weaknesses, what drives you, your values, goals and how you impact on the people around you.
Self-regulation is, as it suggests, the way you control your emotions and behaviour, in different situations and with different people. By being able to reflect on how you’ve been in the past, you can be proactive in becoming the person you want to be in the future.
"Be a reflection of what you’d like to receive. If you want love, give love. If you want truth, be truthful. If you want respect, give respect. What you give out will return to you."
THE PURPOSE OF REFLECTION
Writing down your experiences as a method of reflection helps you to learn about yourself in a practical way. This process of learning helps you to understand what lessons are worth keeping and what lessons you need to learn in order to make these changes.
Ask yourself what ideas you can implement what can you put into the place you want to be by acknowledging the past and looking towards the future.
However, it’s not about what you did wrong. This is a gentle exercise to learn and accept where you have come from and to accept the gist that 2018 gave you, whether that’s hard or easy lessons.
Realising there’s a whole new year ahead of you, a whole new start and a whole new journey is where you’ll discover the opportunity to choose what type of journey you want. This choice, your direction of life, is in your hands.
Where do you want to be this time next year, or who do you want to be? Who do you want to become? Do you want to become more confident, more patient, become a writer, a creator, be more assertive or more in tune with nature?
Identify the actionable steps you’ll take to start, stop or continue doing to put yourself on the path you want to walk.
Some of these may include being more grateful, more open, more supportive, more collaborative etc., or they can be very tactical things like sending fewer emails and having more one-on-one conversations.
Don’t forget to celebrate your successes and congratulate yourself on all the great things you accomplished this year and what you are most proud of.
And, above all, be proud of the person you are because of the lessons you learnt in the past. Be proactive in becoming the person you want to be.
Over to You
Self-reflection is one of the most important habits we human beings can undertake in the present day, simply because we spend so much of our time worried and anxious about the future, we forget to focus on the now and where we’ve been.
As with most things in life, perspective is all about balance, and giving ourselves the opportunity to self-reflect is one of the best ways to do this; especially with the number of benefits it can bring into our lives.
If you’re looking for help when it comes to self-reflecting on your life, or you’re looking for the best way to move forward into 2024 and make this the year you’ll never forget, come and join me in thewhere I have a workshop on reflection.
Remember to live your life with confidence!
PS: Listen to Into Your Life podcast episode
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