Another year has passed and we are well on our way in 2016. Is it just me, or does it seem like each year passes by faster and faster? As I look back on personal and professional accomplishments in 2015, and consider goals for 2016, I am reminded of something: the importance of reflection.
I’m sure we are all guilty of rushing through the holiday season and into the new year without much thought or reflection on the previous year. How was the year overall? Did you accomplish your goals? Did you grow as a person? Were you challenged personally and/or professionally? Do you consider the year a success? How would you grade the year as a whole?
As time passes, guaranteed, we will get older. But getting older doesn’t necessarily mean we are growing. Growth comes from being purposeful about growth; which means setting goals, striving to achieve those goals, and then reflecting on whether or not you achieved the goals you set. It is in this reflection that you realize the height or the depth of your growth.
When I discuss reflection with friends and business associates, most often we end up talking about how there just isn’t enough time. So, here is my challenge to you: stop making excuses and make the time to reflect. Get up early one morning, or turn the TV off one evening, and spend some time reflecting on the previous year.
Reflection can reveal joy, pain, discomfort, etc. Write down what actions resulted in the joy, and try to reproduce those actions in the new year. Do the same with pain; come up with a plan to try and avoid those actions in the new year. Lastly, take time to jot down the actions that caused discomfort, as this area is of specific importance.
Let’s be honest, most of us do not like to stop and think about the things that made us uncomfortable in the previous year. We want to avoid the feelings that accompany those moments or seasons at all costs. But DON’T avoid them! These feelings are what will lead you to real change, for the better.
Usually, we don’t make changes until something becomes unavoidably uncomfortable. For instance, people do not typically opt for a healthier diet until their health depends on it. Reflection should help us see the opportunities for change BEFORE things get bad.
So, set some time aside in the upcoming weeks to reflect, set goals and grow! Here’s to a great 2016!
– Written by Aaron Getty