Reflecting on 2018, Living Your Best Life in 2019
As a new year embarks, thoughts naturally lean toward a reflection of the year past. One may think back to happy milestones such as a wedding, getting a promotion, or moving into a new home. Sometimes, the milestones are less positive and one may be ready to put the past 365 days behind them. Whether one can consider 2018 a positive or negative year, or some of both, it can be a beneficial personal exercise to reflect on 2018, take stock in the opportunities in life to evolve, and set new goals for 2019.
The art of reflection can be done in one’s mind, but putting pen to paper can allow you chance to slow down, take stock, and visualize as well as mentalize. Journaling reflections allows for the chronicling of goals, joys, and pains from year to year, creating a narrative from which to draw themes and keep record. As the years go by, time seems to speed up, and having a record of the year’s milestones can pave the way for rich memories and learning opportunities. It’s important to reflect and make note of the positive areas that you’d like to further or the more challenging aspects of one’s life that require more patience, compassion, and understanding.
Below are some questions that can jumpstart your reflection of the year.
What did you enjoy about 2018?: Even if you had a rough year, there may have been at least a few happy memories. Write about happy, fun, or exciting moments in 2018, no matter how big or small they seem. What about them brought you joy? Who was present?
Did you take risks in 2018?: Did you step outside your comfort zone? Maybe you asked for a promotion or made a move to a new city. As scary as risk taking can be, it can also be energizing and lead to feelings of empowerment and self-efficacy.
What were some of the tough moments in 2018? How did you handle them and what did you learn?: Reflect on the more difficult times you faced this year. This may be painful so be mindful of what is coming up. Even though it may be painful to think back on the tough times, it can help to evaluate the way you coped and provide perspective on how to take on separate or related challenges that arise in the coming year.
How did you take care of yourself mentally, physically, and emotionally?: Reflect on the ways in which you practiced self-care of yourself in 2018. For example, maybe you purchased a gym membership or started a yoga class. Maybe you started seeing a therapist or participated in a recovery program. Think of all the ways in which you took care of yourself and prioritized your mental, physical, and emotional well-being this year, what was effective, and how you can prioritize self-care in the new year.
Who was your support system throughout the year?: Who were the people who were there for you during the tough times in 2018? Think about the ways those people supported, loved you, and showed empathy and compassion. It’s as important to assess the people who were not there as well. Reflecting on your support system is a good way to acknowledge those who add to your life and analyze those who may bring you discomfort, so you can address it and strengthen your sense of community. As 2019 approaches, reflect on the importance of support and practice gratitude for those who lifted you up when you were down.
What changes can you make to cultivate healthier lifestyle and relationship habits and boundaries?: What strides did you make this year to improve your relationship habits, lifestyle, and boundaries? Maybe you made the decision to stop drinking alcohol or eat healthier, cut out a toxic person in your life, or set boundaries within a relationship. Any action you made to improve your life and overall health and well-being was a form of self-care and self-love. Reflect on the ways you employed healthy habits for yourself and prioritized your well-being, and how you can love yourself more thoroughly.
Overall, in 2018, what did you learn about yourself?: The purpose of reflecting on the preceding is to glean the arc the year and oneself as a whole. What did you learn about yourself? What aspects of how you showed up in the world are you proud of and (without judgment or self-flagellation) which aspects would you like to work on? Be gentle with yourself when it comes to reflecting on the things you may need to work on. The new year offers you a clean slate, from which to be your best self.
The goal of reflection is not to dwell on the negatives of the past, but to make room for hopefulness of the future. If 2018 was a difficult year, the best thing to do is learn from what didn’t work and implement what will better us. Make 2019 the year of living your best life. Happy new year from everyone at Triune Therapy Group!