Every wisdom tradition has a process of reflection and it’s no accident that this time of year finds people all around the world engaging in a time of review. The winter equinox signals a change in seasons as we start gaining more light each day, and as we end one year and turn our sights to the next, it’s the perfect opportunity to reflect with intention.
Every year at this time, I engage in a process of reflection. It really helps me take stock of the lessons I learned and guides the goals and intentions I set for the next year. I am sharing my process with you in case you find it helpful in crafting your own.
My annual tradition is to start a new journal on January 1st — it becomes a wonderful way to capture my journey each year. I begin the journal with my intentions and objectives for the year and as the year comes to an end, I am able to not only reflect on my progress but the challenges and aha moments that I gathered from my journaling throughout the year.
So the first part of my tradition is to get my outgoing journal and read through my intentions and highlights from the year’s musings. Next, I use the following set of questions that guide my year-end journaling (to be done on the last pages of the outgoing journal).
I put on soothing music, brew some yummy tea, light some candles and allow myself quiet time to reflect. Below are the questions I answer in my journal. The order of these questions brings me insights that I can’t get to just by thinking about the year.
Questions to Reflect on 2015
- What has been the underlying, unifying theme of your year? 2015 has been the year of…
- What are your 9 greatest successes and miracles of 2015? (it’s OK to have more than 9…)
- What was a key challenge of this year and what did you discover about yourself in meeting this challenge? What gifts did you receive as a result of this challenge?
- What three people had the greatest impact in your life this year? What has their presence stimulated and awakened in you?
- What are three key lessons you’ve learned through your experiences in 2015?
- What are some of the most joyful moments of 2015?
- Is there anyone whom you need to forgive? Forgive means to release judgment and blame that causes your heart to close down, resulting in unnecessary pain. Who is it? What quality do you need to forgive them for? Can you find that same quality within yourself (to any degree) and love yourself anyway?
- What “risks” (taking action though fear is present) did you take this year and what greater freedom did you discover in the process? What did you learn about yourself in taking these risks?
- In what key ways have you been of greater service to your human family this year?
- What are the greatest blessings of 2015? Those people, experiences, gifts, conditions, awarenesses that fill your heart with gratitude…
Looking Ahead to 2016
- As you stand upon the firm foundation of all the learnings, shifts, insights and awakenings of 2015, what wise counsel would you give yourself as you move into 2016?
- Now, articulate your intentions for 2016. Consider having at least one for each area of the Wheel of Wellbeing: Self, Relationships, Health & Healing, Career & Calling, Happiness, Creativity, Environment, Community, and Spirituality. You may wish to write these in your journal, and post them in various places where they will remind you of your focus (home, care, work, wallet, etc.).
- If you wish, you can also create a vision board for 2016 that captures the essence of your intentions.
I do this ritual alone but then gather with my dearest friends who share this philosophy of life. We have a wonderful evening sharing our insights and intentions. This connects us, not only this one evening, but throughout the year. You can even build in a quarterly check-in meeting to continue to support each other, address any roadblocks and celebrate successes!
I wish you a wonderful time of reflection. I know that your next trip around the sun will bring you all that you need to reach your highest potential.