Reflecting on 2022, as it’s about to come to an end, is a valuable tool for slowing down and taking a moment to look at your year in review in order to go into 2023 strong. It’s not about being hard on yourself for the things you didn’t get to, but instead about celebrating your wins over the last year and making observations about what aligned with your goals and what you’d like to do differently in 2023.
Reflection practice isn’t new age mumbo-jumbo either—it’s a scientifically proven strategy for progress. Research out of Harvard University showed that employees who spent time reflecting on their work day at the end of each day experienced a 23% performance improvement after practicing this strategy for just 10 days.
In other words, taking the time to look back—positively at best, neutrally at worst—may not only help you see the past more clearly, but it may also help you shape your future with more clarity, too.
Here’s how to reflect productively. Grab a notebook and ask yourself these key questions. Take as much time as needed and feel free to add to the list, too.
- What are 5 things I‘m personally proud of from 2022?
- Where did I spend most of my time and energy?
- What experiences made my heart sing this year?
- What do I want to leave in 2022 that no longer serves me?
- What struggles did I experience—and more importantly—what did I learn?
- What are 10 things I am most grateful for this past year?
The last question about gratitude is imperative to balancing how you feel about any potential pitfalls this year—so don’t skip it! Gratitude will help balance your perspective and remind you that not everything has to be perfect for good things to shine. Afterall, you are a work in progress.
Here Are 4 Ways To Set Yourself Up For Continued Progress In 2023
- Decide How You’re Going To Take Better Care Of Yourself In 2023
How are you going to give yourself more time to recharge, to thoughtfully process emotions, nurture your mind, body and soul, find time for fun, and speak to yourself more kindly? Here are 5 soothing self-care practices to try.
- Use Smart Goals To Achieve Something Specific
We’re big fans of setting realistic goals instead of impractical resolutions. If you have a specific goal in mind like paying down debt or exercising consistently – and it’s been sitting incomplete on your to-do list for some time – then it’s time to set a SMART goal.
SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Limited. An example of this could be that you are going to eat more protein in 2023 to better support your fitness goals.
How that might look using the SMART system is: “I will meditate for 5 minutes every morning before I start my day for the first month of 2023 to ensure I am supporting my mindfulness goals. After 12 weeks, I will reassess my progress and adjust as needed.” While it’s simple, the goal is specific, measurable, realistic, and time-bound.
- Ditch Outcomes For Behaviors And Identify With Them
There are two types of goals: intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic can be described as goals that align with your values, and that you do for the sake of fulfillment and self-development alone, whereas extrinsic goals are often driven by optics—meaning positive attention, recognition, and fame. Extrinsic goals also tend to focus solely on the destination and not the journey.
By changing from an outcome-focused mentality to a behavior-focused mentality, you will begin to do things for the satisfaction of the things themselves—and not just the end goal—which according to researchers, is the key to real lasting change because it rewires our brains for behavioral change.
Another thing that helps to crystalize new behaviors is to not only practice them, but identify with them. Start to refer and think of yourself as a person that not only does X,Y, Z but is X, Y, Z. For example, “I am a devout meditator.” Scientists say that the more you identify with the behaviors you’re establishing, the more successful you will be.
- Make It Bigger Than You!
Research shows that those who are not only altruistic in their behaviors, but also emotionally by way of compassion are happier, healthier, and live longer.
A beautiful path to evolution is going beyond oneself and finding ways—big or small—to give back. Contemplate your skills, gifts, and interests, and how you can contribute to a better community, planet, and those in need in 2023. If you’re not sure where to start, here’s a great place to explore volunteer opportunities near you.
For More Clarity, Answer These Questions in a Journal…
- What skills do I want to learn in 2023?
- What adjectives do I want to be described as in my evolution next year?
- What will I shift more of my energy towards?
- What will I spend less time and energy doing?
- What experiences will bring me joy?
- What is holding me back from becoming who I want to be?
- What must I let go of to make real progress in my journey?
- What am I most grateful for in my life?
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