With 2023 around the corner, many people will soon be coming up with New Year’s resolutions. Instead of a resolution, my tradition for the new year consists of “reviewing” the year that’s ending and intentionally welcoming the new year.
The closing of the year gives me an opportunity to reflect on the growth and insights it brought. This year I am making this practice a bit more official and calling it my end of the year retreat.
For me a “retreat” represents a chance to get away from the routine. It’s a chance to quiet the distractions and noise. It’s a time when I will not look at the to-do list, mobile notifications or external noises. Basically, it is an opportunity to— as I often share with my clients, “put yourself on the agenda.”
If you aren’t planning on reflecting on 2022 before hopping into 2023, let me entice you. It's never too late to stop and reflect, and there are important benefits to doing so. Studies (Don't underestimate the power of self-reflection. Harvard Business Review. (2022, March 21). Retrieved December 23, 2022, from https://hbr.org/2022/03/dont-underestimate-the-power-of-self-reflection), show that reflective people actively strengthen their emotional intelligence, making it easier for them to cope with new challenges.
There are some basic guidelines for the reflection:
- Set a date, time, and place to take a step back and celebrate your victories and recognize the difficulties experienced in the year that’s ending, from a compassionate and non-judgmental perspective.
- Identify any changes you made in your routine and evaluate them so you can decide if you want to keep them.
- Reflect on what you need to leave behind and the learning you want to bring into the new year.
- Looking back, be kind to yourself. The goal of self-reflection is not to fight or to be ashamed of what happened last year, but rather to be curious and gain useful information and clarity for the future.
The following prompts may offer a starting place. Looking back at 2022 with curiosity and no self judgement,
- What are 5 achievements I am proud of?
- What 3 things did I learn about myself?
- What 5 things am I grateful for?
- How have I changed this year?
- What were the favorite moments? (You may even want to draw or paste an image/photo that represents those)
- To what extent was I tested and how did I grow as a result?
- Give 2022 a song, a drawing or a meme. “For me it was the year of ____.”
Don’t forget to incorporate gratitude and self-compassion in the reflection process. Check my prior newsletters where I shared the importance of self-compassion, gratitude, and mindfulness as key aspects to reduce anxiety, and create new connections in our brain (neuroplasticity).
As you look ahead into 2023 ask yourself,
- What do I want/need to leave behind?
- In what areas do I need to forgive myself?
- What will my non-negotiable anchors be? (Those things that are so important to my well being that I will not ignore)
- What are the pillars of my 2023? What will hold me every day?
- How will I challenge myself to use my strengths and grow?
To end this newsletter, I wanted to share an interaction I recently had with a client who practiced insightful reflection on the closing year.
I asked the client: “What did you learn about yourself in 2022?
They responded: “I noticed that small and consistent steps pave the way towards change. It is not the big goals that I set at the beginning of the year. It’s the small steps that often seem easy or insignificant that make a difference."
Wishing you and your families a 2023 filled with peace, health, new adventures, and continued personal growth.
Ana Isabel Sánchez