Thursday, 3 January 2019

Why you need to look back before looking forwards

This time of year - a few days into a fresh new year - is a time when our attention often focuses on our resolutions for the next twelve months. They usually centre on the things we’d like to change in our lives – eat less, exercise more, or stop smoking… This year, we’re challenging you to think a bit differently.

Rather than empty resolutions that bear no resemblance to where you have been, how far you have come, or where you want to go, we want you to spend some quality time reviewing what has happened to you over the course of the past twelve months – and use the insight you uncover to develop a meaningful plan for the year that lies ahead.

Ask yourself questions such as:

What parts of the year did I particularly enjoy?
When did I feel challenged?
When did I feel overwhelmed?

By looking constructively, you can plan yourself a year that fulfils you and gives you the stretch you need to grow. We wouldn’t think twice about taking the time to reflect after we’d completed a big project at work – yet we seldom give our own personal reflection the same attention.

Reflection helps us to assess how we’ve done things, what the result was, and whether we should carry on as-is or if there’s a need to change direction in order to achieve what we really want.

You can choose which areas of your life you want to reflect on – it could be time for a general stock take, or a time to look at a particular aspect of your life that you have already identified deserves more attention in the coming year. Family, relationships, work, learning are all good starting points for your reflective practice. There will be some areas of overlap – it can be difficult to get more family time, if your job is particularly demanding, for example, but always start by thinking about the year that has passed.

Be honest in your assessment and evaluation of what went well and the areas that you would like to address going forward. Don’t just think about what was good – delve deeper to examine what it was that made it good. How did it make you feel? How can you recreate that feeling?

Once we have identified the high points – and the low points - this gives us a basis from which to develop a specific and focussed action plan. You can still call these resolutions if you want to!