The year 2021 has come to an end. Looking back at this past year, would you be proud of what you have accomplished? These past few years have been hard on all of us and for some, it may have been better than they could have ever imagined. Some have decided to start living their lives for a better tomorrow, a brighter future, a life that fulfills their highest ambitions. Many of you may have decided to start a new business, go back to college, spend more time with your kids, or perhaps you decided that this was the year you committed to accomplishing your goals; to make your dream become a reality. As you reflect on what happened this past year, what can you say you are most proud of? As life hits you with curveballs and takes you down a path you never thought you would go down, how did you respond to that moment of uncertainty? Did you respond positively or negatively? You see, life is a roller coaster of highs and lows that can often take us for a wild ride. Each part of this wild ride we call life has a lesson. It is now up to us to recognize that lesson. Did we learn, or did we continue to repeat the same old pattern that keeps holding us back? Now as you reflect, what have you learned from this past year? Would you be proud of the person you have become? Approaching 2022, engrain it in your mind that this will be the year you become great!
Here are a few practices you can start today to begin fully understanding what happened this last year in your life. Before you do this, make sure to fully commit to being honest with yourself. Make sure you are answering these questions authentically.
1. Acknowledge the good
What good things have happened in your life this past year? Did it help you get closer to the person you want to become? Maybe you started leading others in your company, birthed a child, got married, moved to a new city to start your dream job, or bought a new house. Whatever it may be, always look for the good in your life and never forget to look for the good in others.
2. Recognize the bad
When reflecting, it’s important to look at both sides of every circumstance. We have to know the good to realize the bad and we have to realize the bad to know what is good. Reflecting on this past year, you might realize that 2021 turned out to bring you a lot more good than bad. However, when you were in these struggling times, what lessons did you learn? What did you take from these lessons and how did you apply them to your life moving forward? It’s important to take a step back, reflect, and realize what we could have done better. Without reflection on the bad things that have happened to us, our wounds from past experiences begin to take over. It is when we are honest with ourselves that we begin to see healing, overcoming all obstacles that come our way.
3. What do you want to stop doing?
Now that you know the good and bad sides of what has happened this past year, what habits do you want to get rid of in your life? This is where it gets hard. Building habits can be one of the hardest things to do. It takes discipline, persistence, and a burning desire to hold to a particular action. Bad habits can become a distraction to living in our strengths. Not only do we need to remove these distractions, but we need to surround ourselves with an environment that positively reinforces the person we want to become. If you set up your environment for success, success will inevitably come. So, I ask you this, what is holding you back?
4. Put it all together
Now that you know some of your highs, lows, what ways you can set up your environment for success, and some habits you want to quit, it is now time to put it all together. Summarize this past year in writing and realize why things happened the way they did and opportunities for you to make an even better plan for the upcoming year. Seek understanding in every part of your life. Truly ask yourself the tough questions of what you want and who you were destined to become. Be honest with yourself and find a plan to move forward.
Before moving forward, we must come to know how far we have come. Reflection on the lives we lead can take us to new heights. Looking back on the decisions we have made and the experiences we have lived may be hard to go through, but they are critical for us in moving on with our lives. You must be honest, you must be open, you must be strategic. This time of reflection can be one of the most rewarding experiences you can give yourself if you let it. What will you decide? Will you take the time to reflect? Will you make 2022 to be the best year of your life? The choice is yours.
Carl currently resides in Wichita, KS where he coaches and consults businesses, community groups, and individuals with Exemplify.