The Power of Reflection
This time of year can get crazy very fast. With Christmas parties, shopping, kids events, recitals, church services, and giving opportunities. A time which should be set aside for reflection and gratitude can be over in a whirlwind.
Yet this is the perfect time of year to reflect upon your current situation, the past year, and the year to come. But you have to be intentional about taking the time to reflect. If you do not take the time to engage in thoughtful reflection then you will live out this coming year as you did the previous year. With no insight into how to continually transform your life to live with intentional impact.
In the process of reflection there are 4 different areas to focus in order to understand how you lived the past year. Then you have the ability to make changes to increase success, happiness, and impact in the coming year.
The most important thing you can reflect on is your own health. Complete a self-check to see how your are doing mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Especially this time of year it is easy to overlook your own care. Yet this is also the time of year which stirs many mixed emotions in individuals leading to unhealthy behaviors and suicide.
Take the time to reflect on how you have been burning your candle. Are you stressed without any idea how to move past your current situation? Have you given up on trying to eat right and exercise? Does the idea of spending time with the family for a week send you over the edge? Has there been some major event in your life over the past year you have not dealt with properly like a loss of a loved one, divorce, or any other major life change?
These situations can have a dramatic effect on your life and health and need to be dealt with appropriately. Take the time to reflect on those major impacts of your life which are causing issues and weighing you down. Then seek guidance on how to walk through the healing process properly. If you do not take the time to deal with these situations they will eventually come back to haunt you. Usually at the worst possible time. Get a jump on the New Year and your own transformation by dealing with your own care head on and appropriately.
The next item to reflect upon are your successes. Where did you do exceptionally well this past year? Take the time to write these events down and give yourself a pat on the back. Whether it was starting a new company, a great vacation with the family, time with your spouse or kids, a promotion, or completion of a major project make sure you remember what you did well over this past year.
There are two reasons to reflect upon your success: the first is to remember what you did well. Despite any negatives or failures you might have had over the past year you accomplished some great feats which should be remembered. The second reason is you want to be able to replicate these feats as much as possible over the coming year. You may not be able to do an exact copy, but you learned something important during the process of achieving something great. You want to be able to take this into the New Year in order to repeat your successes.
Now you want to take some time to reflect upon your failures. Those times where you missed the mark. Now it is very important you understand the purpose of this exercise. This is not so you can beat yourself up over the areas where you have failed. This is so you can understand why you might have failed and if you can correct the situation moving forward.
There are failures you had no control over, do not reflect long on these. But look at the ones where you can have done something different. Did you need accountability, a better plan, more forethought, someone to bounce an idea off of, or take a more strategic position? The main point is to look for opportunities for growth. You don’t want to make the same mistakes going forward. A failure without reflection is a wasted opportunity. Take the time to reflect on these misses so you can increase your chances of success in 2017.
4) Service to Others
The last area you want to reflect upon is your service to others. How did you serve others and did you serve them well? This might seem strange or you might dismiss this idea, but it is extremely important. All the success in the world are irrelevant if kept to yourself. We were made to serve, help, and guide others. But in the process of doing life we often miss these opportunities.
Spend time reflecting upon how you served others well this past year. Then be intentional about creating a plan around how you will serve others in this coming year. Many areas of service could be activities you are already doing. Coaching your kids sports team, serving at church, helping at a shelter, assisting a neighbor, or just being there for someone in need. Your life can be dramatically transformed by your service to others. There are very few ways you can make your life richer and happier than being a light to others in dark times. Don’t miss an opportunity to give your special gifts to others.
If you truly want to make 2017 the best year yet, then take the time to reflect upon 2016 with purpose and intention. Learn from what you did last year so you can move into the New Year with a renewed passion and purpose. This may be the best gift you give yourself all season.
For more information on planning and creating an Intentional Impact over this next year contact Eric at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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