Reflect & Celebrate
Those few days between Christmas and New Years are a perfect opportunity to take a moment of reflection for yourself. Reflection is looking back so that you can look forward with clarity. Our perfect way to spend the last day of the year would be to rent a cabin, enjoy skiing during the day, then come back to a cozy fire, with snow falling outside. Then take time for reflection of the past year. With a warm drink, pen and paper, and a blanket for snuggling. To celebrate what has been. Saving the goals for the next day or week. Bring in the New Year with fireworks and sparkly drinks, raising our glasses in a toast of celebration.
What if your year has not been the greatest? What if you have suffered? Or are grieving? What if you are alone? Growing older? These are great questions which I believe can be answered by this: your choice. Viktor Frankl, one of my heroes says, "The pessimist resembles a man who observes with fear and sadness that his wall calendar, from which he daily tears a sheet, grows thinner with each passing day. On the other hand, the person who attacks the problems of life actively is like a man who removes each successive leaf from his calendar and files it neatly and carefully away with its predecessors, after first having jotted down a few diary notes on the back. He can reflect with pride and joy on all the richness set down in these notes, on all the life he has already lived to the fullest. What will it matter to him if he notices that he is growing old? Has he any reason to envy the young people whom he sees, or wax nostalgic over his own lost youth? What reasons has he to envy a young person? For the possibilities that a young person has, the future which is in store for him?
'No, thank you,' he will think. 'Instead of possibilities, I have realities in my past, not only the reality of work done and of love loved, but of sufferings bravely suffered. These sufferings are even the things of which I am most proud, although these are things which cannot inspire envy." Viktor Frankl was a neurologist and psychiatrist as well as a survivor of the Holocaust and wrote several books, one of which is Man's Search For Meaning. According to Harold Kushner, Frankl's most enduring insight is this: "forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation. You cannot control what happens to you in life, but you can always control what you will feel and do about what happens to you." Even if this year was the worst year. If you lost everything dear to you. You still have a choice. How you feel and how you respond.
If this was your best year or your worst year yet, reflection is an important part of life. Process. Reflection helps you grow and learn. Reflection helps you know what you did well so you can build upon that in the future. Reflection helps you to also see what areas you did not succeed in and how to plan accordingly in the year ahead. But can you ever reflect too much? My intuition says yes. Over analysis can become too much if you sense you are growing anxious or fearful about making a decision or moving forward. If you sense you are aiming for perfection, no amount of reflection will bring you to perfection. Because it doesn't exist within our humanity. If your reflection isn't moving you forward, then perhaps it is becoming too much. Reflection is helpful when you are able to move forward.
Are you ready to reflect? Grab a warm drink, find a cozy spot on the couch or chair, wrap up in your blanket, and have your pen and paper handy. (Netflix has a great fireplace video.) Turn off your phone. Get rid of distractions. Here are 10 questions to help you get started on reflecting over the past year.
1. What were your goals at the beginning of 2017 and how did you achieve them?
2. List 10 highlights, accomplishments or memories from 2017.
3. List 10 disappointments, failures or missed opportunities from 2017.
3. List 3 unexpected events that shifted your priorities.
4. List the top 3 areas you focused most of your time on?
5. List 1 area you did not focus on that you intended to.
6. What time did you step out of your comfort zone?
7. How have you changed as a person?
8. What are your 3 biggest learnings from 2017?
9. Do you feel you made the most of 2017- Why?
10. How does this past year affect your plans and goals for next year?
Reflection doesn't happen without planning, especially in the busy world we live in. Be intentional. Schedule time for reflection. And follow up with celebration.
After you reflect, allow yourself time to celebrate. To learn more about why it is important to celebrate both success and failures click on the links. Celebrate what has been. Look forward to what is to come. In my opinion, life is richer when you celebrate. Life is filled with joy and positivity when you choose to celebrate. In our experience of taking time to reflect, we find we are rewarded with richness, wisdom, gratitude, and direction. Seeing where we have come from, what we have accomplished, learned, been through, all of this helps guide us in our dreams, visions, and goals. With a heart of thankfulness. Cheers to 2017! What are you celebrating this year?