Most of us are busy at the end of every year with the build up to the festive season swiftly followed by a bout of New Year resolution making. And then we forget them within weeks! However, spending just a little time reflecting could help you make resolutions which have a lasting and valuable impact and give you your best year ever.
30 Minutes of Reflection
If you can find half an hour just for yourself have a go at this exercise. The purpose of this is to review (not judge) the past year, to reflect on what you have learned over the last twelve months and help you plan for the next.
Paper and Pen
Take a piece of A4 paper and turn it so that longest edge is at top (landscape style). If you have some, use coloured crayons or felt tips and doodle the year at the top of the page (doodling is very creative!) Mark your page into four equal boxes marked Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn. For the purposes of this exercise Winter begins in January, Spring in April and so on in three month periods.
Take a Moment to Relax
Before you begin, just close your eyes for a few moments (maybe do the thinking bit while grabbing a few relaxing moments to yourself in the bath) and reflect back over the last twelve months. What has been happening? Whether it’s been good, bad or indifferent just allow yourself to recollect the actual events and later write them down in the appropriate box. Don’t judge them or give yourself a hard time for not having done enough or the ‘right’ thing; this is simple recall at this stage. If it helps you, you can colour code the events for positive, planned, unplanned, welcome, etc.
When you have filled in your year take a long hard look at what you have written. How much control did you have over events? Sometimes it seems we don’t have any. (If you’ve had a year that feels like you have been at the mercy of fate you might like to take a look at my article ‘How to cope with change’).
Once you have the main elements of your last twelve months written down, don’t do anything else. Leave it for 24 hours to just mull around in your brain. Go and relax.
The following day pick up your 12 month review list again, and jot down under each season at least three things you learned, that were positive. They may be earth shatteringly big things or, more likely, smaller nuggets of knowledge about you, or about the world in general. But I guarantee it will have proved almost impossible to go through twelve months without gaining something of value! Try not to dwell on what went wrong, but focus on the positives, the good things from the year. And then, plan in the next twelve months to do more of what worked, make your resolutions positive and ones that will work for you!