We put so much pressure on our self to think only forward—whether it is about the work we want to be doing, where we want to live, or the people we want to surround our self. We attempt to answer that question by creating goals and plans and resolutions to help (or so we think).
To figure all this out we need to reflect on the past. So, the first step prior to setting goals is reflection.
The answer to where we are going is most often found in where we have been. In one study, employees who took the time to reflect at the end of their day ended up performing 23 percent better after 10 days than those who didn’t. Additionally, it let to more happiness and productivity and less burn out. In moments when you feel that you are most unsure reflection will always bring you back to what mattered to you. So before making your plans for 2019, take inventory of 2018, by asking three questions.
- In 2018 what actions gave me the most/least energy?
- In 2018 what made me feel most/least inspired?
- In 2018 what made me feel the most/least proud?
This will work best if you write out your answers. Find a quite spot take 10-20 minutes to think, don’t over think and make your list. Once this is done underline/circle anything that stands out. This thoughts and ideas can help you set those goals for 2019.
Whatever things made you the proudest or gave you the most energy focus on these and let this guide you for 2019. On the flip side the one’s that caused the most stress or loss of energy, figure out how to minimize these in 2019.
Let these same ideas guide you into having an honest conversation with yourself about friendship. We get caught up in “people” so many friends are all that necessary? Think of the people who give you positive energy, bring you joy and would be there regardless or your situation. Now think of the “friends” who take so much out of you. The ones, that are only friends with you so that it benefits them, the ones that you don’t see or hear from if the world surrounding you isn’t “perfect”.
One note with this exercise: Be kind to yourself, especially if you’ve had a hard year, it might not be easy to revisit some memories.
Whether you’re completely lost about what to do in 2019, or completely sure, reflection is the key. Taking the step back, will help you create more intentional action for the year to come.