Look back to look forward: 10 ways to effective reflection
It’s a rarity to take a few moments out to reflect on the year gone by but if you’re determined to have the most fulfilling 2015 imaginable, it’s certainly something worth doing. Grab yourself a notepad, a pen and a cup of thought-provoking tea and settle down to delve into the depths of your memory to decipher what made this year so great, what made it so unbearable and why it was that way. A healthy dose of self-reflection could help us all, here’s how:
Base your resolutions on lessons learned rather than goals unattained
Rather than putting all of your focus on what you wish you had done differently this year, shift the importance onto what you have actually learned instead. So if you overcame an obstacle or a hurdle in 2014, aim to overcome another similar one in 2015.
Highlight all that you have achieved this year
All too often we focus on the negative – where we stumbled, where we messed up and what went wrong. It’s important to take time out to think back to all of the great stuff that happened too. Make a list of all the major accomplishments you had over the year at work, with your family, in relationships, with money, health wise or in your leisure time.
Decipher what’s more important for you
As you are writing down all of these events and achievements from the past year, take note of how you react to the memories. Which ones do you laugh at? Which ones bring a tear to your eye? Which ones cause no reaction whatsoever? You may be surprised by which events have had the most impact on you.
Did you particularly love a new exercise class or sports club that you joined last year? Then why not give something else a try next year?
Stop yourself making the same mistakes twice
As much as we may wish it didn’t have to be the case, the lessons learned the hard way are always the most prominent. Look back at times when you wish you had reacted differently and aim to not make the same mistake again.
Determine whether lessons learned were the right ones
If previous experiences led you to act differently in certain situations this year, reflect on whether these new reactions were improved or still flawed. This will help you decide which life lessons to take through to 2015 and which to leave behind.
Let go of old life lessons that really aren’t doing you any good
If you’ve been single for years because you refuse to date anyone who doesn’t pay the bill on the first date or hold the door open for you, it might be time to throw out some of those life-long life lessons.
Notice any themes
Quite often there will be one theme that is linking many of your problems together. This could be a friend that is constantly filling your life with drama, a colleague at work that isn’t pulling their weight, or your inability to adapt to change. Whatever it is, once you’ve recognised it you can work on putting it right.
Do you constantly criticise yourself and wish you were better at certain things? Make next year the year in which you accept yourself
Make less restricted resolutions
Saying in 2015 you want to meet the one, finally get on the property ladder and get a promotion at work is all very well but realistically you don’t get that much control in the matter. Instead make the resolution to aim high, work hard and set time aside to get out and meet new people.
Highlight what makes you happy
All too often we get stuck in such a routine that we barely notice whether we are actually enjoying our lives or if we’re just making do. It’s important to take the time to think about whether you are actually happy in your job, in your relationship and in yourself.
See whether you stuck to last year’s resolutions
If you made resolutions in 2013 for this year, think back to what they were and determine whether you stuck to any of them. If you didn’t manage them ask yourself what went wrong, this will help you decide which resolutions are plausible for next year.