One of my favorite December songs is “Happy Xmas” by John Lennon and Yoko Ono. The lyrics start with
“So this is Christmas
And what have you done
Another year over
And a new one just begun”.
Every year when I hear this song, I find myself reminiscing about what “I have done” and whether I accomplished the most important things in terms of what I set out to do. There is not a better time for reflection then at the end of something and the beginning of something new. I know most of you are thinking-“Is she crazy-doesn’t she realize how busy my schedule is?” I certainly do as my schedule is also full. However, if we don’t set aside time for reflection we move into 2013 without a solid evaluation of what’s working in our lives and what is not. As a result we could destine ourselves to repeat 2013 in the same manner that we moved through 2012.
Reflection is an important component of how adults learn. We learn not only from our experiences but also from the interpretations and reinterpretations of those experiences. When we pause and reflect upon circumstances and then apply a different framework to our circumstances we can create new ways of acting and thinking. Using the process of reflection and introspection on an on-going basis leads to increased levels of awareness, insight, and self-acceptance. Many times these times for reflection can result in epiphanies from which we can chose new thoughts and behaviors.
What direction could your reflection take? A suggestion would be to think about where you are and where you wanted to go. On a sheet of paper, place what you wanted to accomplish this year at the top and then your successes at the bottom. Place in the middle any gaps or misses. Being able to identify gaps is a good thing-especially when we are able to prioritize them effectively into strategies for later successes.
Some questions to reflect upon are:
*Are there any patterns in your accomplishments that led to your successes, i.e. are specific people involved, did they happen more at work or at home, etc?
*When you look at both your successes and misses, what were you most passionate about?
*Were you as passionate about the activities that led to successes as activities that led to misses? Were you fully engaged with your goals or did they belong to someone else?
*What are you most proud of with regards to your successes?
*Are you disappointed about any actions not taken?
*What would you go back and change about last year if you could?
*How did you celebrate your successes?
*What did your successes and disappointments teach you about yourself?
*Did any experiences change you?
*What were your obstacles to success?
*How did you overcome obstacles?
*Which ones were difficult to overcome?
*Did anything cause you to challenge yourself about, your ideals, your philosophies, your concept of life or the way you live?
Summarize the most important things you will take with you from this year’s experiences.
For next year begin to think about:
What do you really want to learn or do?
What are you most passionate about?
What is it, in your heart that you must do, be and have? And why?
After you choose the list of questions you want to focus on, spend some time in reflection before you answer. Write down your responses and then set them aside. If you set aside an hour a week from now until January 1st, you will have a sizeable amount of information from which to build 2013 goals for yourself!
To Your Success!