With the holidays around the corner, goals and projects for the upcoming year may be looming in your mind. If 2020 taught us anything, we know that planning for the future is something that we must hold with an open hand. So this year, rather than plowing forward with a checklist of goals for our newer, better selves, let’s take time for reflection. Reflection allows us to view the past for an even clearer viewer of the future.
Here are some steps to get you started:
1 Set aside time for quiet.
Reflection requires solitude and quiet. Mark a date, time, and place on your calendar to hold space for your reflections. Communicate this with an accountability partner, so you won’t try to schedule over it or skip it. When the time comes, set up your physical space. Make sure it’s clutter free and comfortable. Maybe light a candle and play some background music. Whatever gets you in the mood for quieting, do that. Have a pen and paper handy (use a journal, or print out our reflections guide below!).
2 Start with gratitude.
Practicing gratitude has physical, psychological and social benefits. While you look back on this year, cultivate gratitude by listing all the circumstances / people / things for which you are grateful. You can note these in a simple bullet list, or dive deeper with explanations. Gratitude will equip your brain and body to be present during this time of reflection.
3 Identify your challenges.
Personally and professionally, this year has had its unique set of challenges. Give yourself space to identify the challenges you faced. Name the challenges (do not feel any need to sugarcoat them), how these challenges made you feel, how you adapted to them, and how you feel about these challenges today. Some challenges may still be in progress, and that is okay.
4 List your wins.
Celebrate the wins that you had this year. These may be in conjunction with your challenges and/or they may be separate. One simple example: We all upped our Zoom skills this year — win! Too often, we can focus on what we missed rather than celebrating and appreciating ourselves for all we did accomplish. Write it all down.
5 Check in with your gut.
How does this all make you feel? Look back on what you are grateful for, your challenges, and your wins … what comes to mind? Write out in freeform your overall reflection on this year. Do a real check with your gut, and be brave. This reflection is about you and your unique journey.
Now that you’ve had a chance for reflection, consider one of these action steps:
- Share your reflections with a trusted friend. Sharing these can help illuminate even further insights.
- Write and send thank you notes for the people who came up in your gratitude. Be specific with how they impacted you this year.
- Encourage others to reflect. Are you a leader in your work or family? Encourage time for reflection on their personal and/or professional growth.
At Central Exchange, we equip you to grow on your personal and professional journey. We’d love you to join us at one of our many upcoming events.