If you’re anything like me, after the year-end festivities, you’re excited to finally close out the year and welcome the new. Just the thought of a fresh start and how this will be your year is so energizing.
But wait a minute! Before you blaze into the future and start thinking about what you want to accomplish in the new year, there’s an important step you have to take first. As the new year begins, most people start goal-setting right away. Why? Because it’s fun, exciting, and quite simple, especially if you already know what you want.
However, goal-setting is not the first step in creating your best year yet!
The first step is reflecting.
To set yourself up to achieve your definition of success, you must reflect on this past year so you walk into the new year with the right mindset, insights, intentions, and focus.
Reflecting gives you closure to what has been and prepares you for what can be. It gives you the foundation for a fresh, new, and exciting year.
Now, I know this seems obvious but most people don’t take the time to do this and actually resist it–and for good reason! I mean, think about it, if in this past year you’ve faced challenges, had setbacks, or dealt with a life-altering situation, reflecting would probably be the last thing you’d want to do.
And if you’re feeling like you’d rather just skip this whole “reflecting thing” so you’re not “living in the past”, that may be a clear sign that this is something you need to do. In most cases, what you’re resisting is what needs to be done.
Or maybe this year wasn’t what you anticipated and you feel disappointed. I’ve been there too. And if this is the case for you, I’ve got some good news! When you discover you aren’t happy with how the year went, it’s actually a GOOD thing.
Anytime you realize that you’re not happy with how your life is going, it’s the perfect opportunity to reflect and make changes. This results in major growth and a new reality for you.
The bottom line is that if you don’t take the time to reflect, you risk missing out on an opportunity to move forward with the kind of closure and clarity that sparks life-changing growth.
There’s power in reflection.
Looking into your past for what worked, didn’t work, lessons learned, and what you accomplished is a powerful exercise. A simple reflection can help you create your life more strategically.
Grab a notebook, a pen, some chocolate, and turn on some music if you’d like! It’s time to reflect on these questions like your future depends on it…because it does!
Here are 5 simple questions to help you reflect on this past year to create your best year yet:
1. If you had to describe your past year in 3 words, what would it be?
Think about your year. Write down the 3 words or common themes that come to mind. Don’t overthink it here! Oftentimes, what comes to mind first is the most accurate.
2. When did you feel inspired, alive, or excited this year, and why?
Think about when you felt fired up this year. Was it while working on a new project, meeting new people, reading a good book, learning new concepts, teaching, making important decisions, being generous, spending time with loved ones, working out, eating healthy, or traveling?
3. When did you feel at your lowest this year and why?
Think about your lowest point in the year and why you felt that way. Was it an unfortunate situation, a health scare, a failure, a mistake, a tragedy, a disappointment in yourself, a time when you felt lost, a misunderstanding with a family member, or a friend? Spend some time thinking about this one! I promise that you’ll gain new insights about yourself. It’s difficult to get this type of clarity and closure any other way.
4. What lessons have you learned?
Think about your highs and lows this year as well as situations you’ve experienced or witnessed. What have you learned about yourself, others, or life situations that you can take forward with you into the future? Whether it’s a mistake you made, a difficult decision that paid off, or a situation that you experienced or witnessed, write down what you learned.
5. What are your biggest accomplishments?
Think about what you are proud of this past year? These can be big and small things that have had a big impact on your life. If you haven’t yet accomplished your big goal, that’s okay! Instead, write about what you’ve done to lay the foundation for achieving it.
I answer these five questions at the end of every year to quickly reflect and it has made all the difference in starting my year off right. And I know it will do the same for you too!
Once you’ve answered these questions, you’re ready to start dreaming, visualizing, goal-setting, and mapping out your action plan to make it all happen.
Cheers to making this year your best year yet!
P.S. After you’ve done your year reflection, tag me (@noelle_bloom) in your Instagram stories, would love to see!