Your Most Important Action to Close Out the Year

how to reflect

The holiday season can run you ragged, and it’s easy to get swept up finishing projects and preparing for special events.   By the time January rolls around, you may find yourself feeling exhausted and even behind.

Instead, I invite you to take one powerful action with me this week to close out the year that will set yourself up for more success and build positive momentum…


Why It’s Important to Reflect

Reflection is the art of transforming your experience into insight. Your insight then provides the groundwork for your future success.

If you’re not reflecting, you’re not capturing your most important personal insights. These are essential for lifelong learning and lead to much deeper personal and professional growth.

The opposite of reflecting is “doing.” “Doing” is an important part of life, but a day filled only with doing leads to incremental growth, not your BIG leap forward.

Here are examples of reflection exercises that help my clients glean insight:

  • Discovering the work activities that energize them most, so they can build a plan to attract more of those in their work day;
  • Identifying positive new people who have come into their life, so they can intentionally nurture these relationships in the following year;
  • Noticing something they’d accomplished earlier in the year but had completely forgotten and would like to build upon.

The good news about reflection is that it can be short, simple and still yield valuable results.

How to Reflect

Here’s a three-step process I personally use as well as share with some of my busiest clients. It’s crafted so you can try it during the most chaotic of holiday seasons.

Step 1: Block time

Within five minutes of reading this article, block some reflection time on your calendar. Block at least 30 minutes…preferably two to three 30-minute blocks over a few days.

Step 2: Get a journal

Get a journal or use a word processor on your computer. In years, past I’ve typed my reflections into Evernote which makes them easily searchable through the year. This year I’ll be trying Ommwriter.

Step 3: Answer thought provoking questions

Select two to three of these questions below to guide you through your reflection. I recommend setting the timer on your phone for 10 to 15 minutes per question. Note that it’s important as you reflect to stay positive and weave a little gratitude into your reflection process.

  • If the last year of your life were a movie, what genre would it be?
  • If last year of your life were a song, what would it have been?
  • What headline would you give to your last year?
  • What were the two to three themes for your year?
  • Which people did you spend time with who inspired you?
  • What did you accomplish that made you most proud?
  • What would you have done differently?
  • What are the two to three major lessons you learned?
  • What were your biggest accomplishments and highlights for the year?
  • When did you have the most fun?

So right now, block time in your calendar for this helpful exercise. Notice the insights you generate by spending a little time reflecting, and now you’re set-up for more doing success in 2016!

For extra benefit, block additional reflection time in 2016.

Here’s to reflection!


PS:  Please share this with those who could benefit from getting their 2016 started with positive momentum.

Photo Credit: Ben Fanning “4 years old Christmas Morning”