It’s almost time for the New Year. Will you be sad to see it go, or are you in the majority who happily see the old year go and welcome a blank slate for 2019?
This is also the time of year when we’re flooded with “look back” lists – your top 1o photos on Instagram, your most popular artists and playlists on Spotify, the best (and worst) movies at the box office. It’s easy to let these be your markers of the year you had, but if you dig just a little deeper for a moment, you can find some meaningful self-reflection.
Self-reflection is an opportunity for personal growth. It can help you learn from your experiences and feel more in control of the choices you make moving forward. If you’re not careful, negative self-talk can easily disguise itself as reflection – so try to keep your thoughts positive and helpful. It may not be easy, but practice makes perfect.
Work-life and career coach Eileen Chadnick has twelve easy exercises to guide your self-reflection journey – six for looking back, and six for the year to come.
Questions For Reflecting on 2018
What went well?
This should be a staple question for you every year. It can be too easy to get caught up in the negative and bypass the good and personal success that you found. Reflecting on the good can provide fuel for your wellbeing and give you the strength to tackle new challenges head-on.
It can also be helpful to acknowledge what didn’t go so well. Especially if you can learn from those instances and be grateful for having overcome them.
What surprised you?
Life is full of surprises. Reflecting on the curveballs that came your way helps you identify how you responded. What do you notice about your ability to react quickly and adapt to the unexpected?
What did this year teach you?
For better or worse, every experience has a lesson to teach. How did you grow from this year? What insights or knowledge was gained or reinforced? Self-awareness, trust, adaptability, resourcefulness and resilience are all critical skills.
What are you noticing or having hunches about?
Sometimes if feels like change comes out of the blue, but in hindsight it’s easy to recognize the signs or hints that came before. Think about the past year and the year ahead. Are there any signs or feelings that another change could be on the horizon? Where are your opportunities coming from? Are you ignoring anything that could be putting you at risk?
What needs to be left behind?
When life and work pressures demand the best of us, reflecting on what no longer works for you is a good idea. Now is the time to close some doors and transition your focus to new areas. Ideas, strategies and even relationships are open to evaluation.
Wrap up your year with a name that fits.
Complete this phrase: “2018 was the year of ____.” By defining your year, you are giving yourself something to focus on and pinpointing the largest takeaway that you’re carrying into 2019.
From Reflecting to Projecting on 2019
Where do you need to go next?
Think about the changes that keep showing up, both internally and externally. What’s next for your personal and professional life in the coming year? Even if you don’t have a precise answer yet, keeping the question in mind will help you plan and identify opportunities easily.
How will you evolve in the year ahead?
You can’t predict the whole image, but take time to be intentional with your development and identify new skills, experiences and knowledge that will help you grow. Visualize your ideal self at the end of 2019, and map out what you need to get there.
What are your top goals?
Forget resolutions – get specific and concrete with these. Meaningful, relevant goals – if backed up with a plan – can provide a sense of purpose and energize you with new motivation.
Who will you connect with?
Don’t wait for sudden change to test the strength of your relationships; invest now. Take stock and a commit to making meaningful connections with those important to you.
How will you cope with ambiguity and uncertainty?
How do you cope with the unknown? Those who do well tend to foster flexible, resilient mindsets. If these aren’t naturally your strengths, make efforts to tap into your capacity to adapt, learn and find heartiness even in challenging conditions. Start by setting the intention, and then commit.
What’s your mantra for 2019?
What stands out for you that identifies your intentions for 2019? Create a mantra to hold on to this by completing this phrase: “2019 will be the year of ____.”
Best wishes for a new year full of a little more wisdom, and even greater growth, as new experiences come your way.