7 Things To Reflect On This Holiday Season
During the holiday season, we receive more than tasty treats and thoughtful presents. We’re given a profound sense of closure as another year of our lives comes to an end, and we’re given the time to sit quietly with our nostalgic, wandering, hopeful, imaginative thoughts. So no matter how hectic these next couple of weeks become, make a promise to yourself that you’ll take a moment to pause — maybe with a journal and pen in hand — and consider these seven reflections on where you’ve been, where you are and where you’re going. There’s no better way to launch yourself into the new year.
1. How did you use your passions to push your life forward?
For many of us, passion and purpose are inextricably linked throughout our lives. We try to create a career for which we are passionate and that brings us purpose. We lean into hobbies because we are passionate about them and, by working to improve or create or train, we fill ourselves with a sense of purpose. So, in hindsight, what did you do this year to create that charged sense of ambition, excitement and accomplishment within yourself? And where do you see those gains taking you in the new year?
2. Did you make any new noteworthy relationships?
Humans are, by nature, social beings. Even for the introverts of the bunch, investing time in others to forge new connections is critical for your overall sense of happiness and life satisfaction. So, in retrospect, did you put forth a considerable amount of energy to build a new friendship? Did you “put yourself out there” to network with someone new who is now a trusted member of your network? Did you invite new people into your own community? And how do all of those efforts make you feel now?
3. How well did you maintain existing connections?
While fostering new friendships can feel invigorating and refreshing, working on the relationships you already have is another focus entirely. So consider those who have been close to you for much larger portions of your life and reflect on where those relationships are right now. Did you work through what felt like an impassable obstacle with a family member? Did you connect even deeper with your partner? Did a casual acquaintance take a leap toward best friend status? And how do all of these movements leave you feeling as you prepare for what’s to come?
4. What did you do to take care of yourself?
So many of us jump to care of everyone else in our lives before turning around and giving ourselves the TLC we crave, too. It can end up being the hardest thing on our lists to check off. So what did self-care look like for you in 2018? Did you take care of you on a regular basis or simply feel a sense of gratitude when you finally remembered it was your turn every month or so? Did it come in the form of fitness, spa treatments, lattes at your favorite coffee shop, solo travel or a little bit of everything? And how does that impact what you want your self-care to look like in 2019?
5. How have your priorities shifted over the course of the year?
It’s incredible how many things can change in a matter of a year. From jobs to homes to health and beyond, almost everything is temporary. And those fluctuations can dramatically impact your personal values and priorities in both the short and long term. Looking back, how are your priorities different now than they were a year ago? Maybe you landed that promotion you wanted, checking it off your list so you can move on. Maybe you finally made the big leap and moved to a new city, so your new community is sitting at center stage. Maybe you lost a loved one, which is leading you to honestly consider how you spend time with the rest of the people you care about. No matter how the shifts have occurred, take an account of them before the new year strikes.
6. As you end this year, what do you wish you would have done differently?
This reflection might sound like you’re searching for regrets, but it doesn’t have to take that negative turn. Taking inventory of where your well-laid plans veered away from your intended path can help you adjust course as you move forward in life. It’s all about balancing perception with reality, and sometimes, even the best ideas don’t exactly come to fruition in the way we anticipate. So look back on those moments and ask yourself how important it is for you to try again in the new year because, if it really matters, you’ll be more likely to focus on these areas of your life in a new way and create the change you wish to see.
7. And as your next year begins, what kind of intentions are you setting?
And to end on a (hopefully) inspirational note, turn inward and ask yourself what intentions you want to set for the next 365 days. We’re not talking New Year resolutions and major goals here — we’re talking about how you want to actively focus your energy and attention to make your life more fulfilling and satisfying. Your intentions can be as simple a two-word mantra you think about during a yoga or meditation class — take care, be gentle, stay open. Those internal phrases can be a powerful guiding light in the new year when the going get’s tough. Treat your intentions like your North Star — keep them within sight at all times and you’ll fare just fine.
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