We don’t reflect enough. While New Year’s resolutions are a cultural norm, year end reflections seem to be much less discussed. Reflecting is difficult, but necessary to learn from the past. Ideally we’d all be reflecting more regularly; the end of 2018 provides a good excuse to start the habit and continue it on a more frequent monthly or weekly basis.
Below are the questions I used for my 2018 reflection along with some rationale:
1. What went well?
2. What am I proud of / what did I overcome?
- People tend to obsess over their mistakes. It’s helpful for mental health to also take credit for your successes
3. What could have been improved?
- That said, knowing what you could have done better is also helpful. Importantly, focus on bad processes rather than bad outcomes
4. What am I thankful for?
- Remember to be grateful for the opportunities you have. If these include friends and family, now’s a great time to reach out
5. What surprised me?
- This is more for fun, since surprises are by definition unexpected, and I’m unsure how much you can learn from this. It might be helpful if you can identify a common theme in your surprises
6. What did I learn?
7. What needs to be left behind?
- Letting go is difficult. Be aware of sunk costs and behaviours to avoid
8. How will I change?
9. Who will I connect with?
- Both new and old
10. What are my goals? Of those, what are my top goals?
- Advice that has been credited to Buffett on goal setting is worth thinking about, though that was just focused on career goals, and is possibly a fake anecdote. Your list likely expands when including other aspects of life e.g. physical, leisure etc. I do agree with the principle that you can’t focus on too many things at once.
11. What can I look forward to?
- End off with a positive note and think about what gets you excited about the year ahead
Some resources I took reference from: