Taking the time to sit down and reflect on your year is a helpful and powerful tool to help you appreciate and understand your journey, while giving you direction on how to move forward.
Oh the new year. It’s a time where most of us feel like it’s a new chapter, a new day, a new opportunity to reinvent ourselves, to re-shape our lives…
A new year feels like new possibilities, new hopes, new dreams.
But how can we go into the future without knowing how we got to where we are?
How can we move forward without taking a step back to reflect on how far we’ve come, what we have or haven’t accomplished.
Yes, the new year is an amazing opportunity to step boldly into your future to start creating and moving towards the life of your dreams.
But the truth is that you first need to assess your past to know how to confidently and effectively move towards your future.
What do I mean?
Well, it’s great to have dreams and aspirations. To know what you want and what you want to create and how you want to feel and who you want to be.
But the real question – why haven’t you achieved all your dreams yet? Why haven’t you achieved your goals? What has held you back in the past? What happened that brought you this very moment in time?
See, I think that too many of us dream about the future or dwell on the WRONG things of the past.
Even though I strongly believe that the past does not define our future, I also believe that you have the power to create your future and that knowledge is power.
Which means that you need to understand your path and journey up to now to better understand where you come from and what has shaped you so that you can figure out where to go from here.
So with that, here are 6 questions to ask yourself to reflect on your previous year.
These questions will guide you through understanding your past, what happened, how it impacted you so that you can step into your future with more confidence and wisdom.
Reasons why you need to reflect
Like I mentioned before, you need to know where you came from to understand how you need to adjust to get to your destination, to the future you want.
By taking the time to reflect on your year, what happened, how you felt, how you grew, what you learned, what you did or didn’t do, you’re allowing yourself the time and space to look at a year of your life to determine what you can change for your future.You need to know where you came from to understand where you're going by taking the time reflect on your journey Click To Tweet
You are empowering yourself with knowledge and insight into yourself that you can use to your advantage.
For example, if year after year, you’ve had the same goal, to lose weight, to change jobs, to find your ideal relationship….and here we are, it’s the new year and…nothing. You haven’t reached that goal, yet again…then something isn’t working.
Maybe you haven’t set the right goal. Maybe you haven’t asked yourself the right questions. OR maybe you just haven’t been consistently and truly working on your goals to actually achieve them.
By taking the time to reflect on your journey this year, you gain insight into yourself, who you are, your strengths and your weaknesses, so that you can use this knowledge to your advantage.
You can use your strengths as leverage to help you achieve your goals. You can also set safety nets to make sure that you don’t fall prey to your weaknesses again.
Knowledge is power. The more you know about what happened last year and why you didn’t accomplish what you set out to accomplish, the more power to you.Knowledge is power. The more you know about what happened last year and why you didn’t accomplish what you set out to accomplish, the more power to you. Click To Tweet
By taking the time to reflect, you’re also giving yourself the opportunity to adjust, to realign yourself, to assess. And you can also practice practice gratitude and remind yourself of how far you’ve come. To be proud of your journey so far.
Reflection is an opportunity for mindfulness and gratitude for the life you have been given, while also being aware of the opportunities ahead of you, of the endless possibilities that are within your reach.
How often you should reflect
Even though the title of this post is about how to reflect on your year, the truth is, you should be reflecting all the time.
And I mean all the time.
That’s why I highly encourage everyone to cultivate the habit of journaling, because it’s a great place to start to help you reflect because you’re putting your thoughts and emotions on paper so that you can take a step back and look at it from a different perspective.
By reflecting on your day, your week, your month, you’re not only practicing mindfulness because you are taking in your life and all the experiences and challenges that come with it, but you’re also giving yourself some space to think, to be, to assess.
Reflection allows you to figure out and answer the important questions of life: Who am I? What’s my purpose? What was I put on this Earth to do? How can I do it better? How can I show up for myself tomorrow? Who do I WANT to be?
These are fundamental questions to which the answers will change throughout your lifetime, but you will have to ask them and reflect on these questions over and over again because the more you ask it, the clearer the answer will be.
Self-Reflection gives you the opportunity to look at your journey from both a micro and macro perspective so that you can see the overall progress (or not) while also observing the smaller steps and victories along the way.Self-reflection is an opportunity to look at your journey in life and to understand yourself better so that you can move forward Click To Tweet
For example, if you plant a seed and cultivate it every day and nurture it and care for it, with time, it will grow and flourish. But that will take months or weeks.
And if every day, you look at your pot, you won’t see a lot of progress. And you might get frustrated.
But by looking at your plant every day, you might notice smaller details like you might need to change the soil, or you might need to water it more, or your plant might be more sunlight.
So by “reflecting” (i.e. paying attention to your plant on a daily and weekly basis) then you will be able to adjust along the way to get you faster to the goal, which is to grow your plant.
Self-reflection should become a daily and weekly habit that you cultivate because it will not only help the bigger questions of life a lot quicker, but it will also allow you to enjoy the process while staying focused and on track with the end result that you’re trying to accomplish.
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6 questions to ask yourself to reflect
Question # 1 | What did I accomplish?
Don’t underestimate the power of a “small” accomplishment because every milestone deserves to be celebrated.
Did you overcome a fear? Or perhaps you had the courage to ask for a promotion at work? Did you save up money?
Accomplishments should not be categorized as big or small because it’s the lesson that you learn from it that matters, whatever it might be.
So take the time to write down ALL your accomplishments from this year, however small they might feel to you, they’re important and relevant. Write them down!
Question # 2 | What did I not accomplish this year (and that I meant to)? Why? What can I learn from it?
The same way that you accomplished stuff, there are surely things that you didn’t accomplish – what are they? What happened that you didn’t accomplish it?
This isn’t a time to feel guilty or be hard on yourself. This is simply a self-reflection exercise to better understand what happened because…(all together now) Knowledge is power.
The more you understand why something didn’t happen or work out, the easier and simpler it will be to avoid the same challenge and obstacle next time around! So just be honest and open with yourself, have the courage to really analyze WHY you didn’t accomplish something, so that you can avoid it from happening again.
Question # 3 | What am I grateful for?
Ah yes, the practice of gratitude. One of my favourite ways to cultivate a positive mindset of abundance.
By reflecting on the things that you’re grateful for, you’re allowing yourself to deeply feel and understand how much abundance you already have in your life.
- Related: How to Transform your Mindset
And even though you might want to achieve something different in your life, it’s more powerful to come from a place of gratitude rather than scarcity, because you will already feel content with what you have rather than feeling frustrated and negative with what you don’t have.
Question # 4 | What are a few memorable and significant moments?
Another important question to ask yourself to reflect on your year – take the time to see what memorable and significant moments stand out for you.
Were there learning opportunities where you learned something new about yourself, about someone close to you, or about what a situation meant?
Are there special memories that you would like to hold on to and cherish?
Write them down!
Again, we are trying to cultivate a positive mindset. I want you to feel inspired and see that life is beautiful as it is, even though you haven’t achieve your goals…yet.
Because every moment and every situation is an opportunity for learning and growth. There are no positive or negative experiences, only lessons.
So take the lessons from this year so that you can learn and grow from them.
Question # 5 | How did I grow and change? What helped me get there?
You need to reflect on how you changed this year but more importantly, why and HOW?
What made you change? Why did you change? And how? Was it a specific experience? Something you heard? Something someone told you? Was it a moment? Or a realization that you had?
These are significant moments in your life and taking the time to reflect will allow you to better understand yourself, who you are, how you think and what you believe in.
Once you have a better understanding of yourself, you can channel that knowledge to see how you can learn more, grow more and BE more.Once you have a better understanding of yourself, you can channel that knowledge to see how you can learn more, grow more and BE more. Click To Tweet
Do you see how knowledge is power?? (seriously, I can’t drill this enough in your head).
Understand your journey, your path, your life, your lessons, yourself, and you will have the knowledge to control those better in the future to use them to your advantage so that you can to where you want to be faster.
Question # 6 | What did I learn (about myself, about others, about my life, about what I want, about what’s missing in my life?)
What specifically did you learn this year? About yourself? About others? About your friends? About your life? About your childhood? About what you want? About what you don’t want? About what’s missing in your life?
- Related: How to Uncover and Live your Purpose
Every day is an opportunity to learn, you just need to take the time reflect on those lessons so that you can use them towards building the future that you want for yourself and to become the person that you want to become.
I want you to take your favourite journal, or a piece of paper and a pen, and go through the questions.
Write for as long as you need, but answer the 6 questions so that you can reflect on your year, or your month.
These are practical questions that you should answer on a monthly basis at the VERY least!
To help you get started, access the free self-discovery worksheet that walks you through a series of questions to better understand yourself.