Ask virtually anyone who’s successful if they take some time to reflect, and I bet you the answer will be “yes.” The reason is simple – if you don’t pay attention to where you’ve been, there’s no way to determine if you are moving forward.
Why You Should Really Do This
Reflection is a necessary tool to better your life; it’s how we learn and apply the lessons of life, and make sure we are headed in the right direction.
If looking back on the year doesn’t look like the right timing for you, no worries. The important thing is you take the time to think about what you’ve been through.
Personally, I do a mini-reflection every month when I change the pages in my planner – maybe 20 minutes just looking at what I did for the month; and then a big one every year.
Here’s a breakdown of the Big Benefits:
1. Remembering Your Accomplishments
It’s very easy for me to forget I ever overcame anything. I know I faced challenges, and they were completely taking over my life at the time. But once I overcame them they became no big deal. I just move on to the next challenge.
So when I look back and see what I was working on during the first half of the year, I get to remember the progress I made. Honestly, it’s a huge confidence booster to remember these things, and it makes my current obstacles much more manageable!
A lot of people have told me they keep track on their cell phones or computer; which is a great habit. There are a couple of downsides for me though: I can’t see everything in one glance because you typically have to click to open up an event, and the program will delete old events to make space for new ones.
Also, should any of said technology fail for any reason, I don’t want to lose my data. That being said, I have conformed at work, and keep all my Corporate Info on Outlook (so I have a pretty good perspective on both).
2. To Evaluate Yourself As a Person
Life is about growing. Digging into the zone of where I was, compared with where I am now, let’s me see if I’ve done this, and in what amount of time.
Ideally, I’ve either become a better person, or not lost a perspective or position I’ve worked hard to cultivate.
The idea is to take a good hard look at where I’ve been successful, and where I need to either tweak my approach or cut my losses. Personally, I define something as successful if it’s moving forward at an acceptable rate, and if the work is worth the results.
Writing for example, I really enjoy it. It’s an outlet for me, and it helps solidify my understandings of life. I’m kind of the person that knows the answer, but has trouble articulating it until I sit down and write it out. So the benefits I get from writing far outweigh the cost of the time it takes.
Leaving my house when it’s cold, on the other hand, I absolutely hate. The benefit of doing so has to hold some weight, or I’m likely to just stay home. Things like work and grocery shopping are necessary (at least at this point in time), so I leave. But going out to party on a Sat Night when its 20 degrees or less out just doesn’t really hold the same appeal it does during the summer.
Using this scale to evaluate each piece of my life individually lets me see where I’m getting the most benefit, and shows what I should focus on to make a difference.
I could NOT do this if I didn’t know who I was at a core level, and who I want to be.
3. To Define Your Fate
Having an idea of what’s still a priority, I’m going to decide where to spend my (very precious) time going forward.
Right now, for me this includes getting truly healthy, doing a good job at T-Mo, and building my business (BalancedU) with a strong foundation. Those are my three cornerstone pieces, though there are some smaller rocks involved too; things like love, fun, relaxation, puppy playtime, etc.
Ultimately, where life takes you is your choice. You can decide to give the decision away, or you can make the one that’s best suited for you.
So Make This Happen
When I first started to do an in-depth review of my year, I remember thinking it was a huge monumental task that couldn’t help but be complicated.
The truth is, it’s actually pretty simple from a technical standpoint.
1. Make a List of all the struggles and challenges you faced over the past year. This should include everything from your personal life to your work life, whether you’ve overcome it or not.
2. If you overcome the challenge, write down the outcome. I also like to either check off or cross of the original challenge when this is the case. [Your Accomplishments]
3. Anything that hasn’t already been solved, write down the steps to the solution. Whether you’re working on it or not, it’s good to have an idea of what needs to be done. [Your Challenges In Progress]
4. Finally, take some time to think about each one. Are you happy with the outcome? Proud of what you’ve done? What did you learn? [Your Score]
How do you want to move forward from where you are now?
[& The Beginning of Your Road Map]
Good Luck & Enjoy Your Journey!