Why You Should Reflect on the Year Past

It’s been an interesting year. Definitely not what I was expecting, but good in its own sort of way. A lot has happened, from surgeries to celebrations to struggles and successes. What’s even more crazy is that it’s already over. 2015 is done and we’re starting another year full of its own twists and turns. But before we embark on 2016, I have one piece of advice: take the time to reflect.

“The real man smiles in trouble, gathers strength from distress, and grows brave by reflection.” Thomas Paine

Look back on the year that you had and observe what went right and what went wrong. Where you came up short and where you excelled. What you need to improve on and what you’ve already mastered.

Only this effort of self reflection will give you an understanding of where you stand at year’s end and help you prepare for what’s to come. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to help with this process.

1. Did I use my time wisely?

Time is our most precious resource. We have so little of it and we don’t know when it will run out. So when you look back on your year, think about how you spent your time. What got the most attention? Was it used in the right place? What can you do to better manage it? How you use your time impacts everything else.

2. Did I take things for granted?

Just as important as looking at your accomplishments, is appreciating your blessings. There are many things we take for granted everyday, which we are lucky to have. Food, water, shelter, friends, family, safety, freedom, the list goes on. Appreciate what you have and understand that you have an opportunity that many others may not get.

3. Did I take care of my health?

It’s not all work. We need to be aware of ourselves from both a physical and a spiritual sense. Having this balance is vital and something that every individual should push to achieve. Take care of all aspects of your life, especially your health, as it enables the rest.

4. Did I achieve my goals?

Everyone sets goals, but you may or may not reach them. It’s important to take notice of this process all the same. If you don’t keep track of which goals you achieved and which you missed, then they don’t really serve their purpose. So ask yourself which goals did you meet, which goals did you miss, and which goals don’t even make sense anymore?

5. Did I make progress?

Related to the last point, we all set goals, but often they may be overly ambitious. Missing a goal isn’t so bad, as long as there is progress. Are you a year closer to where you want to be? Did you actually move forward? Progress is the ultimate goal, so make sure you see progress every year and you’ll be doing just fine.

“Those who do not move, do not notice their chains.” Rosa Luxemburg

In the end, taking the time to reflect can give you the necessary insight and understanding of where your life is headed and what you need to do. So before you start making your New Year’s resolutions, take a moment to reflect.

Answer the questions above, see how you truly feel about last year, and then make this year even better!

As part of my personal reflection process, I wanted to share 10 of my favorite posts from 2015 that will help you start 2016 on the right foot.

Happy New Year!

Take a Walk

The act of walking sounds simple enough, but the benefits are incredible. Learn why you need to create a habit of walking immediately.

Use a Calendar

Learn how Jerry Seinfeld and others have used momentum and a simple calendar to achieve their goals.

Remember Death

Exploring the history of memento mori and how you can use it today.

Stop Making Excuses

Excuses are what we use when we know we should be doing something important. Find out which ones we use most and why we should ignore them.

Keep a Notebook

Why should you be commonplacing? Hint: you’ll create the best book you’ve ever owned.

Make Better Decisions

How to stop eating junk food, follow through on your goals, and become successful can all boil down to how you manage your decisions.

Find Your Passion

Why curiosity is the best approach to finding your calling and how we need to change how we think about passion.

Use Beginner’s Mind

With expertise comes a certain way of looking at the world. Learn how shoshin or beginner’s mind can help you break through this perspective and experience the new again.

Take a Think Week

How going on vacation with your books may be the best vacation ever.

Start With the Most Important Task

Task lists can be useful until they’re not. Learn how you should use your task list to be truly productive.

Originally published at alyjuma.com on January 1, 2016.

Writer that designs — or is it the other way around? VP of eCommerce at function of beauty, creator of t-shirts, and lover of books.

Writer that designs — or is it the other way around? VP of eCommerce at function of beauty, creator of t-shirts, and lover of books.