December is a fitting time to reflect on the past year, just as January 1 marks a popular time to set new goals. Indeed, if setting resolutions is something you like to do, taking time to reflect on what’s worked and what hasn’t is a great way to set yourself up for resolution success.
Recognizing what’s brought you satisfaction and health as well as what’s caused you frustration and anger can help you steer toward more of what helps you thrive. It’s time to ditch what’s getting you down, as best as you can, and double up on what feels truly satisfying.
Also, paying attention to your big wins for the year and taking note of how you got there can help you understand what strategies to apply to reach other goals. This is helpful for understanding what works for you. The flipside is true to: if you experienced a big flop, why did that happen? “Failures” are often packed with a lot of lessons.
Reflecting is a way of learning from the past and also an important time to celebrate what you’ve accomplished and how you’ve grown and changed. We spend so much time and effort improving and aiming to our best, it’s valuable to take a moment to realize the greatness we already embody.
Strategies for Reflection
Alright, so reflecting on the year sounds like a nice idea, but what are we actually supposed to do? One popular approach is journaling. Letting thoughts and ideas flow pen to paper is an excellent way to give your reflections form. It's also something you can revisit in the future.
If writing isn’t your thing, get graphic: draw, collage, paint. Think vision board. This could become something you pin up to help motivate you for the coming year. Seeing the ups and downs you’ve navigated in the past can be a powerful motivator and confidence booster.
Or, maybe you process better when you’re in motion: try going for a walk or doing some yoga while you think through your year.
What you really want out of this exercise, however you get there, is to remember and thoughtfully consider what’s happened over the past twelve months. Whatever works best for you is the best approach.
Organizing Your Reflection
However you decide to process your reflection, it’s helpful if you have a little structure in your approach. You can go month by month, or season by season. If you experienced big events–a move, wedding, death, graduation–those can be helpful anchors. Life events can also be times of change and growth and hardship. Focusing on these pivotal times can provide powerful personal insights.
Also helpful are reminders of what actually happened. Use texts, emails, photos, and social media posts to remind yourself of the path you've traveled.
Of course, if you did set resolutions last year, revisit them. What other specific goals did you set? How’d they turn out? Beware to not beat yourself up about where you might have fallen short. Again, use moments where you weren’t as successful as you wanted to be as opportunities to learn.
Like the great writer Paulo Coelho said, “The secret to life is to fall seven times and get up eight times.”
Processing Your Reflections
Considering your year isn’t only about checking off wins and losses. It can be much more than thinking about whether or not you crossed off all of your To Do lists.
Consider your emotional state, your physical state, and your psychological state through the year. How did you feel before, during, and after the experiences you’re reflecting on? How does that inform your plans and goals going forward?
This can help you understand what it takes to get things done and also explain why you fell short a time or two. Every experience takes some mental, emotional, and physical energy. Maybe you had a big win, but the price was really high. Knowing this, you can plan accordingly in the future.
Or, perhaps the reason you couldn’t quite reach a few of your goals wasn’t because you weren’t committed, it was because you had too many other things on your plate at the time. What can you cut back on now to pave the way for future success?
It’s also worth considering when the price of a goal might be too high–or perhaps too high for now. If you’re operating on a “success at all costs” basis, consider if it’s really worth it. If the answer is yes, go for it! But if not, remember that you can always adjust and change your goals. Or break them down into smaller, more manageable pieces. Mark off your small wins, until that adds up to something bigger.
Your Health and Wellness
Our focus, of course, is health and wellness. We want you to find the best ways to meet your strength and movement goals, and we’re always here to help.
We congratulate you on the many wins you’ve had this year–because we know there are, indeed many! And we encourage you to continue on the path toward wellness in whatever ways you want to improve or maintain.
We welcome you to continue your strength and fitness journey with us. And, we wish you an excellent holiday season!