It may be a little cliché, but I always make a point of taking time in November to reflect on the past year and all that it has brought to me, and be thankful for every bit of it. I think about the opportunities as well as the challenges, and I feel so grateful for both. It may seem strange to say that I’m grateful for the challenges, but I really am. I believe that it’s through our most challenging times that we learn our greatest lessons. It’s an effective way to practice self-care, making sure my priorities are in place, and caring for myself as well as I care for others.
For me, journaling throughout the year makes it easier to look back. Reading through the journal helps me recall the details that are so easily forgotten over time. Journaling may not be your thing, and that’s perfectly fine. Whatever way you have of recalling your big events of this past year, I encourage you to spend some time this month reflecting on them—how they came about, how they impacted you, and what lessons you came away with as a result. Look at life as well as business events because they both help to shape the person you are, personally and professionally.
A few tips for reflection:
- Make two lists: Life Events and Business Events.
- On each of the lists, jot down everything you can recall that happened during the year that had an impact on you in some way. It might be a birth, a death, an inspirational speaker you heard, a client you may have helped. List the positive events as well as the things you found downright challenging.
- Review each item on your list, and think about how that event impacted you, and what you learned from it. Look for the positive in each situation, draw it out, embrace it, be grateful for it, and let go of the rest of it. Letting go of anything that doesn’t serve you will help increase the positive energy.
Now that your lists are complete, and you’ve spent some time reflecting, it’s time to move on to another important exercise in self-care …Projection.
What do I mean by Projection? This is the time when you take the lessons you’ve learned this year (and in previous years) and use them in projecting your plan for moving forward. Just as you did with your Reflection list, your Projection list for the upcoming year can include personal and business plans. It might include going camping with your kids, taking a professional development class, streamlining an internal process, or expanding your placements by X number of clients.
Whatever you add to your list …
- Make it measurable and meaningful to you; and
- Keep your list in plain sight throughout the upcoming year so you can stay on track with your plans.
The items on this list will become some of the things you’ll reflect on when next November rolls around, quicker than a flash!
“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson