Many people set goals for the new year. I do that, too. Even more important than goals, however, is reflection. How did 2011 go? Of what are you most proud? What would you do differently if you could have a "do-over?" If your last year ended up being your last year, would it have represented your best living?
Reflection is critical for our growth because it is often only through looking back that we can see things that will shape our future.
What is reflection? We throw this word around, but do we all know how to do it? I am continually honing my ability to reflect. Try these practices:
- Take stock - define and list your accomplishments.
- Be real - acknowledge those outcomes that make you wince when you think about them.
- Remember players - this is perhaps most important - who enriched your life, helped you become a stronger and better person, cared for you (and visa versa)?
- Look around - how have your physical suroundings changed? What did you buy, get, make, and get rid of and do your things add value to your world? What's missing? What's unneeded?
- Notice how you feel - assess your vitality and the habits that have either improved or diminished your health.
Reflection allows us to learn - to do the next year better than the last. We all want this. New Year's Resolutions and goals are wonderful and can generate breakthroughs. This is especially true when they are informed by a humble and nonpunitive look back.
Happy New Year and here's to a great 2012 - the Year of the Dragon. Brave, bold, benevolent.