As we close in on the year ahead, most of us are rushing to that finish line we call the Christmas break. Then we flop on the sofa/hammock with a cold beverage in hand and exhale the stress of everything we’ve packed into the last few weeks or months.
We have the beautiful excuse to let go of all the things we haven’t quite gotten to, even if it’s just for a couple of weeks. It’s the time of the year when everyone shuts down, and we do too.
While sojourning by the pool, we start to realise how stressed we really are and promise ourselves that in the new year we’re going to do yoga and breathe more. We step into a new year with our goal to change the way we work and not let it and life get so out of control.
We return to work inspired and energised, get to our desk and realise those things we left behind are waiting for us. Last year’s tasks turn into this year’s tasks, and before we hit morning tea, all our calming thoughts and aspirations have exited out the back door, and we’re stressed again counting the days to our next break!
Sound familiar? Ok, maybe I’m exaggerating, but probably not much.
Why does this happen? I used to do all that until I learned to finish the year I’m in before I started the next. So many of us don’t ever take the time to reflect on what we have accomplished, and therefore we are always in achieving mode which doesn’t have room for us to reflect. No sooner have you ticked off the task completed, you’re onto the next one.
If we don’t know what we’ve achieved how can we possibly feel like we’ve had a successful year? And on the flip side if we haven’t reflected and let go of the things we haven’t achieved, it sits inside us, compounding and holding us back in the future.
It’s time to start celebrating our successes!
Reflection usually only happens when we’re writing a CV or updating our LinkedIn profile. We try to pry open the doors of our highly packed memory bank to find and remember those key skills, experience and outcomes that will give us the confidence to apply for that pay rise, new job or position.
Giving ourselves a pat on the back shouldn’t just happen when we’re applying for a new job. Taking the time to celebrate our successes each quarter or year gives us confidence, a strong foundation and clear direction on what we can focus on in the year to come.
One of my favourite quotes that we often use in the mentor program and planning sessions is “You can’t reach for anything new if your hands are still full of yesterday’s junk.” Louise Smith
And so I implore you this break, to take time to reflect on what you’ve accomplished so you can truly move into the new year with a clear head and light heart.
Every year at the end of November I take my old planner/calendar and take the time to reflect. I go back through each week and look at my accomplishments. This creates a picture of my journey and I can see the progress I’ve made, financially, mentally and physically in terms of my work.
I can see where I’ve grown and the areas where I’m not so strong.
I can then choose to focus on strengthening my weaknesses or bringing in help to get those tasks done.
I can’t start a new year until I have a clear picture of the previous year’s journey otherwise I feel like I haven’t achieved anything and I can get really down on myself. It hinders my ability to move forward on my goals and dreams of supporting our community.
So here’s a little exercise I use and I can highly recommend it to help you reflect on your year:
- Take out your diary, journal, planner or computer (Outlook) and tasks lists.
- Get a blank piece of paper A3 or Notebook and a few coloured pens.
- Go back through each month – January to December and month by month find things that you accomplished, your successes and where you felt you could have tried harder.
- Write what you liked and didn’t like about each month and what you might do better.
- Circle the things you’re most proud of.
- In a notebook or journal (maybe specifically for these exercise) rewrite all your accomplishments, and at the end, you’ll have a full picture of the year.
- Set out what you want to let go of, and what you want to focus on for the coming year.
This allows you to see where you’ve come from, so you know where you’re going. It also highlights things you probably need to let go of to ensure future success.
I’m not sure about you but it feels like God’s turned up the clock and time is just flying. Another year has come and gone. The best way to stop a clock is to take time to reflect.
So much more is possible when we have cleared out the closet of successes and failures for a fresh start. It helps you stop time, even for a moment to give you clarity your work and personal goals to create a more balanced season.
Sign up for your free Reflection Workbook here.
Let me know how you go and if you get stuck, just send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I look forward to hearing about your discoveries and new year intentions.