As you end this year and make preparations to move into the New Year 2019, it is an
excellent time to reflect on your year. Contemplate and dwell on what you achieved and
completed this year. It will affect how you enter the New Year. Many people love to
plan a new year; to set goals. They become excited about what a new set of 12
months can bring. But in saying that, it is necessary to put on the brakes for a couple
of days and give yourself the time and space to reflect on the past year.
It is wonderful to make new beginnings and to dream big, to clean out the cobwebs that
developed over the year. It makes the process much more meaningful when we remember
the bends and curves that we encountered on the road we are leaving behind and
what they taught us. It is good to honor the past and celebrate all the joys you had, to mourn the losses, and to be thankful for the amazing accomplishment of completing another
year. Remember, a whole year has passed by and you are older, but are you wiser?
Reflecting on your Year: Self Performance Review
If you are wondering about reflection and how you can ask yourself introspective
questions to find out how your past year went, here are a couple of self-evaluation questions to ask
What was something very challenging that happened in this past year?
What was the best thing that happened to you this past year?
Was there an unexpected joy last year?
What 3 words would describe this past year?
Was there any obstacle that came your way unexpectedly?
What was the best reading material you read this past year?
Who did you spend time with that you count as really valuable time spent?
Was there a real big personal change that happened from January to where you
Did you grow emotionally?
Did you grow spiritually?
How were your relationships with others this past year – did you grow in
relationships with people?
Did you grow towards physical development?
Can you think of your most enjoyable moments at work this past year?
What was your most challenging time at work?
Was there a time this year you considered a real time waster?
How do you think you best used your time this past year?
What would be your biggest learning experience this past year?
The thing is, it is actually important to look back so that you can move forward
confidently. The past year might have had its fill of happiness and success for you –
many resolutions you made might have become a reality. Many of us come to the
end of a year and we make the same old resolutions again – like ‘I must exercise
more’, ‘I must lose 20 pounds’, ‘I must get down to eating more vegetables’, ‘I must
reduce my stress’, and the list goes on and on.
This is the exact time of the year when we do think about our future. We make plans, deciding that this New Year is going to be the different one – it’s this year that change must happen – we are going
to turn things around. Sound familiar?
Don’t Let History Repeat Itself
On the other hand, there are many of us who feel a kind of dread come upon us at
the thought of the New Year. Maybe we weren’t able to wrap the year up properly
this year, so why should the New Year be any different? But you can – you can truly
do something different. Before you make any resolutions, reflect on your year with a calm
mind and a keen eye.
Transformation and transition go hand in hand with New Year celebrations and these need to be grounded in the past 12 years of your life as you reflect on them. Can you remember what you planned for the New Year a year ago?
If you did tell yourself you were going to lose weight, did you? Were you nicer to
those people you said you were going to be nicer to? Are you thinner and slimmer
after telling yourself you were going to lose those 20 pounds?
Many people enter their doctor’s office at the start of a new year, often deflated and
frustrated. They look at where they failed; where they didn’t reach their
goals. Without an honest assessment of both your successes and failures,
unfortunately, the next year will just repeat itself.
Make Personalized Assessments & Targeted Strategies
It is an excellent idea to review your past year with its goals and resolutions to see
where you made headway. Making these resolutions actually involves a
personalized assessment of your past year and a targeted strategy for the New
Year. You can’t just have an end goal. You need to have a method to get to the end
goal. Here’s a good strategy for you:
Start on January 1st and make a decision about one thing you can do to
reach your goal. On January 2, find another step towards the goal. Continue
doing this every day in January, so that by the end of January you have 30 changes you have made. When February comes around, you have already been 30 days into making a big impact on making
real and true resolutions that you are already working on.
The thing that really counts is actually doing these incremental goal-setting exercises and not trying to reach some distant goal in one big leap. It is about achieving something every day. Start in the form of just small steps. Those small steps are likely to take you further than you might ever have
dreamed. No matter what your career, no matter what your relationships are, no
matter what habit – if you start in the morning and set the tone for the rest of the day,
you are greatly helping yourself to make it a good day and to set the tone for the week, the month, and even the year.
Look Back Before Going Forward
It is important to know that without looking at yourself in truth for who you really are,
you will never get to where you want to be. That is knowing your weaknesses, it is
knowing the loopholes and bumps where you are likely to trip and fall down and it’s
also knowing what the triggers are that make you do and choose some of the
unhealthy choices from time after time. Without that necessary understanding, you will
find making change is so much harder and you will be less likely to get to that place
where you want to be.
It is the pitfalls and triggers that can recur and keep you in the rut, and you need to recognize them. But as you improve and go along, you will be better at catching them before they catch you. Know yourself and review your past. Be honest when making plans and then carry them out. And most importantly, believe and know that it is never too late to make real and positive lifestyle changes. Just do it!
That means in 12 months’ time, your resolutions you made for 2019 will be checked
off in their tick boxes and be an important part of your life. That means Happy New
Year for 2020! It’s up to you!
Useful Tips for the Journey Ahead
1. Don’t try coming up with a perfect plan before you have even started. Rather,
come up with a plan incrementally and take action on it gradually.
2. Focus on what’s really important to you – Take that step forward as mentioned
above, being the first step of your day, every day. This is when it is most likely you are
feeling clearheaded and rested.
3. Do one thing at a time to do your best – No matter if it’s at school, college, work,
your personal life; when you try and do several things all at once, you
very often lead to mediocre results and half-finished stuff.
4. Reduce the distractions – Distractions are all around, making it easy to get swept
into them. We have a tendency of getting stuck in the not so important stuff and procrastinating.
By following the above hints, you are protecting your valuable time, your energy, and
your focus during the days and weeks.
Tips For Achieving Your Goals
Put away your smartphone on silent mode whilst working, checking it only 1-2
times during your workday.
Take 5-10 minutes to look at your inbox, reducing the recurring ones that you
haven’t gotten to in the past 30 days. When you do a cleanup like this by
unsubscribing to some email lists, you will see what a difference it makes during
Keep reminders just below your computer screen, listing your top and most
important goals and focuses. This will help you get the stuff that really matters done by focusing
on the necessary steps.
Replace negative influences with positive ones. What you let into the mind
has a huge effect on what you think about, and what you do or don’t do. It could
be that there is someone in your life who is a negative influence on you or who
drags your life down. Ask yourself what action you can take today to make
positive changes, and make a point to spend less time with the negative influences
and more time with the positive ones. Come up with a small action plan to deal
with it in a couple of easy steps that you can take action on and see what a huge
impact it can make on your life.
Exercise regularly. Try and work out every day. The focus of this
challenge is not only about getting stronger but also the potential positive mental benefits and lower stress levels that come with exercise. Make it a natural habit.
Accept what is. For instance, if you are truly not in the best physical shape you
were 2 years back, accept that this is what it is now. Try not to deflect or
push it away because then it just persists, taking up your attention which can
cause worry, anxiety and negative emotions and behavior. Don’t only look at your
fitness levels like this; apply this in your relationships too. If you are in a negative
place, accept it first. Once you’ve accepted it, it will give you the clarity to direct
all your mental energies towards making those changes positively.
Take a break every day to reboot the mind – For instance, in the mornings
when your mind is still ‘empty’ and rested. When you think clearly, it’s like making
a fresh, new start. As the day goes on, the mind gets filled with events, feelings,
and thoughts. You become tired, making it harder to think.
When this happens, take a break, sit in a comfy chair and close your eyes. Try and really relax the
body for a couple of minutes, focus on your breathing, and then open your eyes.
Your mind feels nice and clear again, like in the mornings, and you are back in
the present moment instead of getting snagged into all the mental cobwebs. With
a refreshed, rebooted mind, the rest of your day can become smoother with less
stress and tensions. You should now be able to focus again.
Ask yourself self-reflection questions that set you free – This opens your mind to positive
possibilities, setting you free to do what you want. If fear is holding you back from
doing something, ask yourself a question like “what is the worst thing that could
happen?” Then make a small plan of how you can find clarity and reduce the fear. For instance, if you dream of doing something and you think it’s something to wait for then question yourself here too: “How can I take a small step towards that dream today, instead of in the future?”
Quite often, you might discover that you don’t even have to wait to get started. You just might start writing the book, go on that cruise or dream holiday, or start that small business. Don’t let your dreams be just that – daydreams, by putting imaginary obstacles in your mind. Instead, start with that first small step towards it, taking action on it today. Notice how liberating that feels!
Do the opposite in a common situation in your life – For instance, we all have
those negative patterns in our lives that seem to repeat over and over. To start
2019 on the right foot, choose to do the opposite of what you did this year, 2018,
in some common situation in your life.
What do we mean by this? Well, for instance, choose to take the high road with someone who irritates you or angers you. Give kindness. Or eat some very healthy vegetable and exercise when you
have a bad day rather than what you are used to; taking out junk food to handle
the situation. Make choices that are contrary to the negative patterns you are
used to following – do it once, and start breaking the habit or pattern.
Be kind to yourself when stumbling – As you work towards what you want for
2019, there are going to be setbacks, maybe a couple more in the beginning than later on.
It might be tempting to beat up on yourself to motivate yourself to do
better the next time. But that way of handling mistakes or failures can often be
counterproductive because very often it leads to lower self-esteem, lower self-confidence,
and often just going down a spiral of inactivity and negative thoughts.
Be kind to yourself so that you can be constructive during your strategic reflections. A failure does not make you a failure, it’s just a temporary setback. Don’t fall into the trap of treating yourself like
you are a robot. You need time for a conscious recharging time. Relax, mindfully look around you, and be grateful.
Add Healthy Habits, Day By Day
1. Put priority on maintaining good health habits and lifestyle
Don’t put off that medical check-up, because remember that good health is the
foundation of everything you do and achieve in life. It is important to get up and
move. Even just walking around the park twice a week. Find a routine that works for
you, and stick to it.
2. Develop an attitude of gratitude
Be grateful for your good health. Be thankful for all the wonderful things that come
your way, because it may have a positive effect on your wellbeing and health.
Be thankful is known to potentially reduce depression and stress, lower blood
pressure, and slow down the effects of aging.
3. Make quality sleep a top priority
You can’t feel at your best when you are exhausted. There is plenty of scientific
research to prove how sleep benefits your health, keeps the weight off, and
reduces some risk factors such as heart disease and diabetes. Sleep also helps you
to think properly and clearly.
4. Strengthen positive social relationships
There are dozens of studies to show that people who have good and satisfying
relationships with friends and family may be happier people with fewer health issues and
they also may generally live longer.
5. Brighten someone else’s life
2 million people in a study from across the globe were asked what made them feel
fulfilled and the answer that most gave was “giving”. We as humans are biologically wired
so that we can share with others. Feel-good neurotransmitters are released when we
show goodness and kindness to others.
6. Carry on learning to the end of your days
Let this New Year be the year that you take up a challenge. Learning is important as
we get older as it sharpens the memory and gives our brain a regular workout. Also, our learning
contributes to society since we often share our knowledge with others!
It can be a Happy New Year!
When all is said and done, while reflecting on your year, it is wise not to just stuff your resolutions for the New Year into a drawer and just forget about them. Remember, plans and resolutions become much more manageable if you take little steps, day by day; keeping it simple. Each one of us is going to open a new book in 2019, a book with blank pages. It is up to us to put the words of our life in
that book – the book of opportunity.
The first chapter will be New Year’s Day. Let the end of 2019 be a year that makes you satisfied and fulfilled. May your 2019 book be a book filled with pages of dreams fulfilled, memories made, positive changes made, all because you took the time for reflecting on your year mindfully and to make the right changes that propel you forward to do even greater things!
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