Some Strategic Self-Reflection to End Your Year

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Looking at failed New Year resolutions of the previous year and aspiring for too many complicated changes in the year to come, can combine to create a lot of self-judgement and feelings of failure. It’s also proven to not be a constructive way to create lasting change in your life.

Instead, we’d like to suggest trying an exercise of compassionate self-reflection to help direct your focus effectively in the new year. With self-compassion, you take a position of curiosity rather than critique. That creates space for you to understand yourself better, fight yourself less, and let go of things with greater ease so you can grow.

Try it now

1) Grab a pen and a fresh notebook or piece of paper, and find a quiet spot that feels comfortable and calm.

2) Take a few moments to let your past year run through your mind like a video reel. Pay attention to which parts of the year take up more time, and are filled with more vivid colors, smells, tastes, sounds and sensations.

3) Write down what you feel were the most significant milestones for you this year- what were the things that felt like major markers of change, transition, or celebration?

4) Did these markers or milestones come with any challenges? Were there other significant challenges you had to overcome this year? Write them down!

5) How did you overcome those challenges? What are the unique strengths and resources that have allowed you to make it through? Recognize the aspects of your character that were there for you. If your resources include your community, family, friends, co-workers, etc, then recognize them too. Write down whatever comes to mind.

6) Now take a moment to think of your happiest moments this year. What are you most grateful for? Some might overlap with your major milestones, and even with challenges overcome. These moments might be simple pleasures like a dinner with an old friend or a conversation that touched you. That’s fine, there’s no wrong answer, just trust whatever comes to mind.

7) Finally, you are going to think about the one thing you can take forward into the year that allows you to be your best self more often. This is something that allows you to show up more fully for yourself and for others. How do you discover what this thing is?

  • Read back over everything you’ve written so far, then close your eyes, and let that video reel of your past year play through your mind again
  • What gave you joy, calm, energy, inspiration? Did you pick up a dance class halfway through the year that made you feel spectacular, but ended up giving it up because you got busy? Maybe you simply realized that an afternoon coffee and croissant changes your whole day. You might have noticed that when you sleep more hours a night, your relationships are better. Or perhaps, that occasional route change that lets you walk through the park really grounds you. You might have realized you are just much happier when you make sure you have time for your friends at least once a week, or time alone at least once a day.
  • I know there likely isn’t just one thing that makes you feel good, that there is likely many things you want more of, or that you want to change. But that is what we do, we overwhelm ourselves. You are going to be discerning and pick one small thing.
  • Whatever it is, this one, small, simple thing, it’s enough. It can be your touchstone and the one way you are committing to take better care of yourself in the New Year. It is the lesson and gift from the moments, days, weeks, and months that have passed that you carry forward. It is how you celebrate yourself every day.

And remember! The New Year is just a symbolic number. The present day is all that counts, and every time you wake up, you have a new opportunity to commit differently and serve yourself best!

Start today, and let us know what habit you’ve picked for yourself in the comments. We love hearing from you.

Tala is currently completing her psychotherapy certification at the Ontario Psychotherapy and Counseling Program. Her passions include alternative knowledge systems and overcoming boundaries and blockages both within and outside of the self, and finding critical, holistic, conscious approaches to education.

She believes that encounters and explorations of tensions related to race, class, gender and colonization—in both old and new forms—can lead to healing and a greater awareness of the interconnections between self, ‘other’ and the environment we live in. She believes that looking at food from farm to plate and its role in environmental, communal/cultural and personal health is a pivotal way to do so.

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