I know 2013 rushed by for me. It was marked by some fabulous highs professionally and then sadly, by a few personal lows. And if I don’t actively reflect but instead just let my thoughts mull on the year, my mind goes towards the low points. My year is then blighted by the troughs instead of celebrating the peaks.
When we reflect on our past, we are programmed to remember the low points more than the high points. Our brain is wired to actively seek out the negatives in case they represent danger for us, and we need to take corrective action to save ourselves!
This was a brilliant feature when we were living in the caves, but in 2014, it is rather outdated!
I know when I do actively reflect, and remember the high points, the fun bits and the successes, I feel so much better about the year – even though it was the exact same year!
Thinking about the past and collecting the pieces that went well gives us a strong, positive foundation for the year ahead. When we remember our successes and learn from the mishaps, we feel more positive and confident about our abilities.
Before the new year starts in earnest, take some time out to review the year that’s been
Step 1: Get ready
Take two pieces of paper, and divide both of them into two by drawing a vertical line down the middle, so you have two columns.
Step 2: What went well?
On the first piece of paper, write down everything that went well for you in the last 12 months. Anything, big or small. Write this is the first column. Then in the column next to it, for each point you wrote, write down what you learnt from it.
Reflecting on the learning from each achievement will strengthen the impact of it, and the likelihood you will repeat this.
Step 3: What didn’t go so well?
Then, on the second piece of paper, write down what didn’t go so well, and again, in the second column, what you learnt from it. If possible, try and think about the low points as an opportunity for learning.
Step 4: Stepping forward for 2014
Consider what you have written, and what you have learnt. What does it mean for you i 2014? How will you be, what will you repeat and what will you avoid?
Life is constantly evolving and throwing all sorts of things up to us. We can’t choose what happens buy we can choose how we react. Choose how you will react in 2014 based on your learnings in 2013.