We are now officially careening head first into the holiday season! It’s here, the Halloween candy is on discount and the mall is already playing Christmas music (It is, for real. I was there today and Santa’s workshop is almost completed construction!) Soon we will be planning Thanksgiving day meals and making Christmas lists and the hectic chaos of this time of year will be in full swing. The busyness of the season makes it hard to focus on anything else we’ve had on our radar all year-long, in fact, it’s only right after Christmas that many of us start to think about resolutions and what the new year will bring.
I wanted to offer some direction and share one big thing you can do now that will make all the difference for 2016!
Have you ever heard the saying, ”Hindsight is 20/20′ or even ‘Time heals all wounds’? I’ve seen that work in my own life and although I cringe when someone says it, I know they have a point! It almost always seems that way; the more time that passes, the more you are able to figure out what went wrong and learn some lessons.
We can, however, get perspective at other times by consciously taking a break and looking back to reflect.
This short window before Thanksgiving is a great time to do your yearly debrief. Yes now! Before the hustle of the holiday pulls you away and you don’t notice the time past until just a few days before New Years!
When we take a bit of time to really evaluate what went right, what went wrong and what we learned along the way, it can dramatically change the way we make decisions about what we are going to choose to do moving forward. Doing it now allows you time to get in true reflection without feeling rushed and pressured with all your responsibilities over the next few months! Your plans for 2016 can be much more solid and thought out when you do this planning time first.
Spend some time alone, head to quiet corner or if that doesn’t exist at your house, head out to the coffee shop to find your space, and get to reflecting! Grab a journal or notebook and let your mind go. Leave the computer alone just this once, and I think you’ll find you are more creative as you go along. Answering these questions will help you get clear on what really went well, where you wish you improve and where you can get ‘unstuck’ on issues that have held you back. But don’t stop here, keep writing as ideas come to you, and you may be surprised what you can uncover for 2016!
Here are some great ways to start your reflection and learn from your year:
- What 3 words describe the past year?
- What things are you most proud of this past year?
- What is one thing you wish you had done differently?
- Is there someone you have a negative charge with? Someone you need to forgive or ask forgiveness?
- What is something you did with your family that had really great memories?
- What is something you want to do again next year or a new tradition you want to begin?
- What is something you wish you had done this year?
- Where did you feel the most successful at work?
- How did you grow in your career? Was it enough?
- What is one thing you could do next year that would make you feel successful at work?
- Do you feel satisfied with your year as a whole?
- What are the areas you can identify that were lacking?
- Can you make changes to those specific areas for next year?
- What 3 things need to happen to make the next 2 months great?
- If you could pick one month this year as your favorite, what would it be?
- Why did you pick that month? Identify the reasons: the weather, the company, vacations/adventures?
- How could you look to create those same feelings in other months of your year?
- What was your biggest time waster of the year?
- Could you have made more progress in other areas if this was eliminated or decreased?
- What steps could you take to make that happen?
- How did you grow spiritually?
- Did you make anyone live easier?
- How did you change emotionally? What lessons did you learn?
- Have you made changes to your health? Positively or negatively?
- How can you change just a little bit to make it more positive?
- What was your biggest challenge this year?
- Are you proud of how you handled it? What could you have done differently?
- Who are the most important people in your life? Do they know?
- What are you most grateful for this past year?
- Did anything so memorable happen this year that you will remember with clarity in 20 years?
You can download a pdf here, and use it as a template to start your own reflection. Completing this exercise will give you some clarity on how you can improve and what you are already great at that you can carry on in 2016! Happy reflecting – I’d love to hear how this worked for you!