My favorite process for reflecting
Happy new year!
Instead of putting all the pressure on the first day or week of January, I like to give myself the full month to reflect on the past year and consider what I want to create now.
There’s something countercultural in resisting the rush.
Let’s take our time in 2024.
We are all familiar with the cliches of the new year and the doomsday predictions that follow. People set goals and resolutions only to forget or abandon them. We aren’t doing that. We are teachers, we are learners, we are creatives. What we understand is that reflection and recreation are available to us every day.
The new year is just like any other date on the calendar except for the collective consciousness around the recreation it represents.
I believe that our life is our curriculum unfolding for us each day, sometimes spiraling us back to old lessons, sometimes taking us into new and exciting content. It would be silly to have twelve months of learning and not pause and reflect.
What did I get?
What do I know now that I didn’t know before?
What will I leave behind and what will I take with me into this new year?
The act of reflection is the foundation for recreation.
We could let 2024 just happen to us, and certainly there will be plenty of surprises baked in, but what we're up to is intentionally creating a year that brings us closer to our most authentic and well self.
Your 2023 Timeline
The process for reflecting is to create a timeline so that you can take advantage of the perspective you now have, that maybe you didn’t have in the moment, and stamp the lessons of the past year
Set an intention that will support you as you reflect on your year. You want to look at the year as a whole from a state of curiosity and learning. Pick an intention and commit to it so that you may see your life’s curriculum clearly, free of shame, and with gratitude for what you now know.
Examples of intentions:
Love, openness, neutrality, willingness
Begin in January 2023 and work through each month of the year recalling events and emotional experiences you had. I like to use my iphone pictures to help with my recall:)
For each positive event, create a “mountain” to mark that event on your timeline.
For each negative event, create a “valley” to mark that event on your timeline.
What was working, felt good, fun, values-aligned, joyful or successful?
What breakdowns, set backs, pain, upset, or failure did I experience?
Do your best to put yourself back in each of those moments. What was happening? Who did you have around you? How connected were you to your values and vision for your life? What were your met or unmet needs at the time? Download anything about the event that you can see now. Stay in your intention rather than revisiting the event from the same upset.
What themes emerged in your timeline?
Creating the best year yet
Where did you get most stuck or “kicked” in this past year? What would the opposite experience be?
If you could have any new experience this year, what does your heart desire?
Decide a word that encompasses your desire for 2024.
Examples: Freedom, love, joy, presence, light
Reply to this email and let me know your word of the year so that I can be part of your cheer squad in this new year!
P.S. - This exercise is from my curriculum Replenish. Replenish is an adult culture curriculum written to help schools and teams recover, reflect, and recreate together so that they may show up to their work and lives from a place of greater clarity and possibility. If your school or team is ready to be Replenished in your work, click here and we will get this powerful work to your people.