As the New Year approaches and everyone begins to look ahead, it’s equally important that we spend some time to look back on the year we have just passed through.
New Years is a time of fresh starts, new resolutions, and positive changes, but it’s also a time of quiet self-evaluation.
In order to make a change, it’s necessary to identify the problem. It’s only then that we can create a plan of action to put the change in motion.
By reflecting on both the good and the bad times, the celebrations and the challenges, we build a map of which influences we should carry on into the New Year and which we should leave behind.
1. The things we are the most grateful for
Maybe there’s someone we should extend our sincere gratitude to, or maybe we just take this time to not take the little things in our lives for granted.
2. The hardest challenge we faced
What was the most difficult time we went through? What did it arise from? Is there a way we could have prevented it? Maybe in the future we will be able to avoid causing ourselves unnecessary suffering.
3. The time we felt the most insignificant
It’s good to feel small sometimes, like when we look up at the stars and realize we are a speck in the universe. It makes our problems seem completely ridiculous in the grand scheme of the universe.
4. The nicest thing we did for someone else
Helping someone else can be an amazingly rewarding experience, and definitely something we should all bring with us into the New Year. Hopefully if we keep the kindness going, what goes around will come around.
5. The coolest place we visited
It can be as simple as the cool new restaurant that opened up down the street or our vacation in Rome; what matters is that we’re dying to go back!
6. The biggest mistake we made
This is one of the most important reflections, because it’s not about the actual mistake; it’s about what we learned and how we are better as a result. Sometimes a mistake can turn out being a blessing in disguise that opens a door we never knew existed before!
7. The newest people we met
They say you are the sum of the people you surround yourself with…so is there anyone you feel has added value to your life in the past year?
8. The proudest moment we had
We shouldn’t forget to give ourselves a little pat on the back now and again, especially at this time of year. Maybe we got that long deserved promotion or finally learned to play the violin. Say it loud and proud, ya did good!
9. The time we cried the most
Tears aren’t always a bad thing, as they help us get in touch with our emotions. A good cry is a pressure valve for hidden emotions, and looking back at the cause can help us identify our soft spots and maybe even the places we need healing the most.
10. The most memorable event we attended
Sister’s wedding? 20 year high school reunion? Disastrous work Christmas party? Indulge in a little reminiscing; it’s worth a laugh or a conversation starter!
11. The greatest obstacle we overcame
We all know life sucks sometimes, but it’s just those rare moments when we get the best of our bad luck that makes everything worth it.
12. The thing that made us laugh the most
Definitely worth remembering, especially since laughter is proven to work wonders for our health. And hey, we all need a little comic relief once in a while.
13. The biggest personal change we made
Before making a new change, we should reflect on a change we have already made? How did it turn out? What strategies did we use to make it happen? Maybe we can learn from our past efforts and see what did and didn’t work.
14. The person who helped us the most
Whether a family member, friend, religious leader, or the homeless guy down the street, we should definitely extend a thank you. Who knows, maybe you’re that person for someone else. If not, you could be next year.
15. The time we had to be strongest
We don’t know our own strength until we are truly tested. What did we learn about ourselves and our capabilities in the process?
16. The day we felt the most beautiful
Feeling beautiful is more about our environment and the attitudes of those around us than it is about physical appearance. Maybe this is a good indicator of the type of people and situations we should surround ourselves with more often.
17. The most important lesson we learned
This doesn’t have to be a major groundbreaking discovery; it can be as simple as never leave the hairdryer near a sink full of water or always turn your reports in on time. Whether we learned the hard way or were impacted by a teaching of some kind, the question to ask is how we will apply our new knowledge in the coming year.
18. The best discovery we made
Oreos and peanut butter?! There is a lot to learn from the Parent Trap. Or maybe you’re a scientist and you discovered a potential cure for cancer. Equally important discoveries.
19. The way we grew the most
And I don’t mean horizontally or vertically. Well, depending on the person that could be the answer, but generally it means summing up everything from this year. Looking at where we were on this day one year ago and where we are today, what is the most noticeable difference? Where do we want to be one year from today?
20. Our hopes, plans, challenges and changes for the new year
Now for the future. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though, because we all have a tendency to make unrealistic promises and goals (we’re not all really going to start going to the gym, become organic vegans, give up social media and donate to charity). This is the time to look at the year behind us, the year before us, and decide what we can realistically expect to accomplish.
What kind of obstacles stand between us and where we want to go? How will we confront them and what resources will we need? There’s nothing wrong with wanting to make a radical change, but we should make sure that it’s something we intend to stick with to the end. If that’s the case, more power to ya!
This New Years take some quiet time by yourself to do some reflection. 2015 is your oyster, it’s up to you what you make of it.