I love spending time reflecting on my past year.

See if you can take a quiet hour to reflect on the questions I have shared below.

Our world moves so fast and suddenly, before you know it, it is next year and you’re back into your busy schedule. 

It is so easy to forget and lose the details.  The memories will not be fresh like they are right now.

Question #1 – What made you feel most happy this year?

Here is a clever way to remember this…go into your photos and scroll all the way back to January 1st.  Peruse them all and take note of all the happy times and things you have done this past year and who you spent it with.

I am not great at taking pictures but was amazed at all the beautiful things that happened this year.  Even if you don’t take a lot of pictures, it will still be fun to see what you have captured. 

Often, we just reflect on what made us the most successful, but happiness is just as important.

What made me most happy was the time I spent with my husband.  I had so much quality time with him this year.

There were so many pictures of us being silly, trying new places or out having adventures.  Looking at them made me smile and laugh.

I was also remembering how happy I was getting together with friends again after a long time.

Next, ask yourself, “How will I make more time for more of what made me happy this year?” 

So often when things are going well, we do not notice until it is gone.  Don’t let that happen!

Question #2 – What made you unhappy this year?

What took away your joy this year?  What sucked your energy?

You may not have pictures, but try reflecting on conversations you’ve had with people, your text messages or your journals.

For me it was getting caught up in other people’s fear around the election and Covid. 

Fear of who was going to be President and what that meant for the country. 

Fear of catching Covid and passing it to others.

I completely understand people’s fears around these issues, and I am not entirely immune to them myself.  But when I remember to tap into my greater trust and acceptance for whatever is happening, I am much more able to remain at peace and react in a cool headed and calm way.

It could be so easy to blame other people for my unhappiness.  Someone did this or that and it made me so unhappy. But the truth is I made the choice to read the news or talk to people about their views.

Instead of blaming others for my unhappiness, I know I can always enjoy and accept everyone regardless of whether we share the same view or opinion.

When we blame other people, it is like putting a destination in your GPS and then asking yourself how did I end up here? 

Your thinking and your actions are what made you unhappy, not the outside circumstances.

So reflect on what can you do going forward to not allow whatever made you unhappy to affect you in this upcoming year.

For me it is cutting way back on reading the news and talking to people about what’s is important and interesting to me instead of current events.

Question #3 – What was the biggest lesson you learned this past year?

For this question, you can take hints from the last 2 questions. 

I’ve been thinking about this…for me it is around judgment.

When I compare myself to others or believe someone else should see the world the way I do, I find myself judging that person harshly.

When I remember to take time to get into the other person’s world and experience, it is easier to understand and have compassion for their perspective.

Question #4 – What do you wish you would have done more of this year?

What did you not take time for, but you wish you did take time for?  What do you need to prioritize?

For me is more about play and relaxation, which is not a new theme for me this year.  Rarely do I let myself off the hook from having to be productive or working on a project. 

When I take the time to just meander through the forest or doodle or listen to a fiction book, I turn off my mind and get myself into a peaceful place. 

Then being productive doesn’t feel like a chore.

Your schedule tells what you care about.  What you do with your weekend and evenings tells you what you care about.

You may have to work, but what about your weekends and time off?

So, take time and review that what is important for you and what do you want to take more time for this upcoming year.

Question #5 – What’s something you want to do less of next year?

What did you fill up your schedule with that you need to do less of or let go of?

Did you overindulge in food, drink or mind-numbing activities?

For me I watched way too much TV.  I used to watch mostly movies but the past couple of years we found so many amazing TV shows and they were highly addictive. 

It meant a lot of sitting and not moving my body and I am someone who hates sitting for too long.  I found at the end of the night my husband and I were stiff and sore.

So, we started doing some stretching before we went to bed and resolved to watch less TV.

Question #6 – What was your biggest success this year?

Now you are getting into the work and purpose part of your life. 

What I want you to consider is not only what you were successful in this year but track the success back to where and when it started.

I got married just over 2 years ago and moved in with my husband.

Since he had lived there for a long time, I wanted to make the house reflect our new life together.

So, during the craziness of Covid and major back orders of all products we embarked on a major remodel of our house and yard.

But if I trace back that accomplishment it started way before this year… we have been thinking and fantasizing about ideas and improvements we would make even before we were married.

It even goes back further to my love of design and my other experiences remodeling other homes.

So, it has been under construction for a long time.

If you reflect on everything that brought you to your success it shows you your longer-term commitment and connects the dots of your past experiences and dreams.

What that also teaches is that your success is years in the making and construction.

Question #7 – When was a moment you failed this year?

This is something you probably reflected on way too much this year or still regret.

For me it was relying on other people’s expertise and advice over my own intuition and desires.

I trusted other people’s style and design skills, rather than trusting myself.  That led me to choosing things I ultimately did not like or was not happy with and had to redo.

Rather than beating myself up for the extra time or money I had to spend to correct things, I learned to figure out what my style and taste was.

Rumi famously said, “the wound is the place where the light gets in”. The very awareness of your pain is your opportunity to let the light in.

So, look for that blessing or inspiration of how it might be better.

Question #8 – What is something you want to learn next year?

We often just focus on setting goals for the next year, but I think it is important to be focused on growth as much as goals.

Instead of I am going to write a book, you could instead ask yourself what can I learn about how to write a book?

So, focus on growth setting not goal setting.

One of the things I wanted to learn this past year was to how to trust my spontaneity and being fully present, so I took an improv class.  It was a blast.

Question #9 – What is your favorite way to refuel?

We rarely reflect on how we best energize and refuel ourselves.

For me this year, it was a lot more yoga and walks in nature verse the hard-core strength training and bar classes I used to do every day.

What is it for you? Is it more sleep, more deep conversations with your spouse or friends, more creative time??? If you take the time to reflect on these questions, the answers will guide you to your best self in the next year


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