Give Yourself a Gift

As we come to the end of year, you are likely in the throes of being overly busy.  Work is demanding your time with wrapping up year-end assignments, and you are likely trying to get out of the office on vacation for a few days too. Not to mention the time you are probably spending buying and wrapping holiday presents or planning/attending holiday gatherings.  Too often, we can feel like we are just trying to survive this time of year.

But, the end of the year is actually a great time to do some self-reflection.  I know – this can seem like an indulgence when you barely feel like you have time to get a cup of coffee.  But I challenge you to find a few minutes and really reflect on 2018 before you embark on another year.  Self-reflection is defined as “meditation or serious thought about one’s character, actions, and motives.”  In other words, self-reflection is looking inward, which builds two components of emotional intelligence: self-awareness and self-regulation.  And, we’ve all heard how important emotional intelligence is. If it still feels like too much of a luxury, you should know that research has proven that self-reflection has many benefits and can even improve your job performance!

Here are five questions to help you do some self-reflection on 2018.  It’s a good idea to give yourself a few minutes in a quiet space.

  1. What went well?  Let’s start with a fun one!  Identify 2-3 successes you had this year that you are proud of.  Think through each one and identify how you contributed and what you did that had an impact.
  2. What were your challenges – big or small? This one’s not as fun.  It is ok to acknowledge that not everything we do is great. And, since you are human, it is likely you had at least one or two things that didn’t go the way you wanted them to this year.  
  3. Who helped you on your path – either during a success or a challenge?  We are all impacted by other people.  So, think about who the other people are that influenced your life this year and contemplate if you have done enough to acknowledge that impact.
  4. What did you learn this year?  Now that you’ve reflected on the moments you are most proud of, and the moments you wish had gone differently – identify what you learned on the journey. This is the most important part and where you consider how you will handle similar situations in the future.
  5. In one word or phrase – how would you characterize your 2018?  I know – a whole year is hard to sum up in one word or phrase.  But sometimes there is power in wrapping up your year with a bow – or a word in this case.

I find self-reflection at the end of every year, or stage in life, to be refreshing, inspiring and an opportunity for rejuvenation.  I hope you give yourself the gift of time and self-reflection as 2018 comes to an end, before we turn the page to 2019.

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Jennifer is a seasoned leader and executive coach with more than 20 years experience including as a Chief Human Resources Officer overseeing the HR and Communications functions. She is a Professional Certified Coach through the International Coaching Federation.