It’s getting close to the time of year when many of us start considering New Year’s resolutions and begin developing strategies for our next trip around the sun. Amidst all of this looking forward, an important part of this process is often overlooked: reflection. Taking the time to look back over the past year and analyzing it can help us make more successful resolutions for the future.
Reflection can only be effective when we look not only at the successes but also the failures. The human mind is geared to remember the good times, but being honest about past events provides our best opportunity for learning. To get the most out of this reflection exercise, we can start by breaking down the year month by month and ask ourselves the hard questions.
Remember, the past is in the past and a reflective exercise is not meant to beat us back into a corner. Taking a look back has to come with the understanding that it can’t be changed, only learned from. With that principle in mind, here are some questions to consider:
· What were my achievements?
· What were my failures?
· What values did I honor?
· What values did I neglect?
· Where did I play small?
· Where did I stand out?
Think of this process as being similar to tuning an instrument. Figuring out where we were too flat or too sharp in our 2012 approach allows us to make necessary corrections. Across stages worldwide, bands always make sure they are in tune before they begin the show. This same principle applies to us as we prepare to jump into our new year. Before we start, we can make valuable use of our time by making sure to reflect upon the previous year’s events and see where we can make appropriate adjustments. It is the perfect time of year for such an exercise; we can be honest with ourselves and take advantage of the opportunity to get ourselves in tune.