I think it’s only natural to take some time for self-reflection as we move into a new year. This is when I stop to take an inventory of my life, both professionally and personally, and set new goals for myself.
The Importance of a Personal Inventory
This process allows me to get a clear picture of where I am now, where I want to be, and what steps I need to take to get there in every aspect of life.
To Learn From Our Mistakes
One of the main reasons reflection is so important is that it helps us learn from our mistakes. We can’t grow and improve if we’re not willing to examine our past failures and shortcomings. When we take the time to reflect on what went wrong and why, we can then make adjustments in our future behavior. This process of self-examination is essential to both personal and professional growth.
To Strengthen Relationships
When we’re bogged down with the ins and outs of everyday life, we may find we have taken our loved ones for granted. At the end of the year, I like to take a step back and think about the people who matter most to me. I always strive to express my gratitude for their presence in my life and make a concerted effort to strengthen our relationships, but this time allows me to ensure my actions continually mirror my intentions.
To Keep Us Moving Forward
Finally, reflection is essential to effective goal setting. When we reflect on our past successes, it gives us the motivation to keep going even when things are tough. Reflection allows us to see how far we’ve come and reminds us of what’s possible if we keep moving forward.
Taking your self-inventory doesn’t have to feel formal or rigid. It can be as simple as asking yourself a few key questions.
As we move into the new year, I’d like to take a moment to share the 5 questions I ask myself at the end of every year.
Did I achieve what I set out to accomplish?
It’s important to take a moment to celebrate your successes, no matter how big or small. This is also a time to reflect on any goals you may not have accomplished and to consider what stopped you from reaching them. You may find that you need to shift your habits or strategy in order to get where you need to be or you may even discover the goals you set just weren’t as important as you initially thought them to be.
What have I learned this year and how can I apply it going forward?
The past few years have been a time of significant growth and learning for all of us, and this year is no exception. I don’t think I’m alone in saying I’ve had to learn to be more flexible and adaptable. We are all learning that the things we thought would never happen, can and do happen. But it’s how we choose to respond to those challenges that makes us who we are. If we can stay focused on what’s truly important, then we can climb any mountain.
It’s important, though, to not allow these lessons to be forgotten. Consider how you can apply what you’ve learned in the coming year to better yourself.
Was I intentional in giving my time and energy?
This is something I consistently work on, but it’s something we can all strive for. Our time and energy are two precious resources we cannot get back once they’re gone. It’s important to be mindful of how we’re spending both. Are we spending our time and energy on things that are truly important to us? Are we taking care of ourselves physically, mentally, and emotionally?
Am I honoring the things that are important to me?
This question could mean many things to many different people. For me, it’s important to make sure I’m spending time with my loved ones, that I’m taking care of my health, and that I’m staying true to my values. When we get busy, it’s easy to let the things that are most important to us fall by the wayside, but we have to make a conscious effort not to.
What am I grateful for?
Last, but certainly not least. If you know me, it comes as no surprise that I often take time to assess what I’m grateful for. I believe that gratitude is one of the most important attitudes for achievement. When we take time to be grateful for what we have, we open ourselves up to more opportunities for gratitude.
As we move into the new year, I encourage you to take your own personal inventory. What worked well for you this year and what didn’t? What do you want to change or improve in the coming year? And most importantly, what are you grateful for?
The game of life is full of ups and downs, twists and turns. Just like in sports, we have to keep our eye on the prize and remember why we’re playing.
Life is full of challenges, but it’s also full of surprises. You never know what’s going to happen next. Stay focused on your goals and don’t forget to enjoy the journey.