Looking back allows you to take stock, set a framework and move forward with a new year. You have made new year’s resolutions before, but this time look back and move on in a different way. Don’t look at your presumed failures, or the things that did not go according to plan. Concentrate instead at what you liked, enjoyed and capture the positive. Change is about wanting to do something differently, so start by assessing what you want to keep. We look at how to use a simple method to give yourself a boost for real change by looking back, reflecting and enabling yourself to move on as you mean to continue.
Looking Back: Reflection With Purpose
In the closing days of the year you’re in a unique situation where you not only have a chance to look back at where you’ve been and forward to where you’re going, but to choose how to label both stages of the journey.
You can’t afford to cheery pick the past, deciding that it was all success or all failure or expect the future to be one or the other. In reality life isn’t a success-only journey, but it becomes a success if you choose to look at the challenges not as the barriers they appear to be — but how you can, and did, handle them and what you have learned along the way. It’s time for an attitude check.
When looking back it is easy to dwell on what did not go right, and cling on to the ‘what if’ and the ‘if only’ statements. This drills into the negative, and opens the door to the dark side. You leave little room for moving onwards by staying in this frame of mind.
There is certainly room for reflection of this kind too – but your attitude needs to be one of acceptance, kindness and realisation that you have learnt something. Turning your year events into positive experiences – even if some may not have felt so at the time – takes courage, and a bit of work. How can you move on without knowing where you came from?
The same goes for the successes, fun and boosting experiences you have had – along with the people who have supported you. You tend to forget positive experiences once they are over, as the chapter is over. Yet – it is really important to realise what your highlights included so you can bring these with you into your new years journey.
Looking Back: Self Evaluation
Self evaluation is a method that is often used in performance management. If you are an employee you have probably gone through an assessment of your accomplishments and needs for improvement. This is an exercise between two: manager and employee.
The same method can be used for personal growth. This assessment is for you, yourself and your eyes only. It is a method for you to look at your past year to enable a plan for the coming 12 month. The self-evaluation will allow you to move onwards – a bit wiser, and more motivated to change. Wellness has many dimensions, and you will instinctively know what areas you want to focus on.
Instead of setting new year’s resolutions, make a plan where you set a starting point. You are already on your life journey, but this time you will purposefully identify where you came from to enable a plan to go forward.
Looking back will highlight successes. You will also see where you may have been surprised, perceived inadequacies and things that did not go according to plan. Start with finding the good in each challenge and get into the change frame of mind with an easy method. Make a plan by looking back to find your path for tomorrow.
Looking Back: A Simple Method
Self evaluation is an exercise in healthy reflection to enable a real move forward. Here are some tips on how to look back to move forward:
- List your year by month and highlight successes and people in your life that contributed, supported and made a difference. Write down each event, experience and fun time. Look back on your social media pages to remember big and small things that you took part in over the year, or perhaps you keep a journal which will be a rich source for recognising what made you tick.
- Locate the events or things that surprised you, or unexpected experiences. List each challenge, and identify how you dealt with them. What have you learnt from each event, experience, and surprise? Look at how you enhanced your skills; coped with pressure; dealt with challenges and the support you’ve received.
- Re-label so-called issues, problems and sad events. This shift will mentally gear you towards identifying something good in each challenge. You need to be open to how each event affected you, and how you responded to it. It’s an opportunity for some humility and kindness towards yourself, and a realisation of how you can move forward when things happen. By accepting the past you open the door for tomorrow.
- Be honest. Don’t embellish your successes, accomplishments or challenges. Think hard about what you want to take with you into your new year. Recognise that you are not going to change what has happened, but how you can move forward to set achievable goals that you can live with. Realise how the people in your life appreciate, love and support you. This will make you see the bigger picture and not sweat the small stuff.
- Take time to do the assessment well. After all, your self-appraisal is all about you, and you’re worth it! You will gain clarity and a sense of direction by giving yourself the gift of reflection.
- Once you have your list of successes and challenges you will see what you want to keep, how to take small steps to change and most of all why happiness matters in all that we do. By opening the door to positive thinking and embracing the big picture we move forward in a very real way.
Don’t attempt to complete it in one go. Treat your self-appraisal like a work of art that builds over time. Start a journal where you write down where you are going, and how you tackle challenges. When looking back you find a way forward by listing events, appreciating the good, realising the challenges and how you have coped.
Looking Back: Moving Forward
With your assessment in hand you can now see what you need to cherish, keep and change. Be smart about it. Give yourself small, achievable tasks that bring you to mini goals – and be kind to yourself too. Set a time each month to review the good, positive and challenging events.
Reassess, tweak and don’t beat yourself up if something is not as expected. You can always change what you aspire, but you cannot undo what has happened. Each event will give you something positive if you accept, forgive yourself and assert yourself towards forward movement.
Gretchen Rubin is an inspiration as she makes all previous ‘self-improvement’ books look like lectures. In her book The Happiness Project she takes us down the road of ‘all solutions are not the same’ and how you need to find your way to happiness in a way that suits you.
Change is a journey. Change is motion. By looking back you find events, things or behaviours that you can identify as comparators in a future date. Moving forward will allow you to identify if the ‘new you’ is different from that comparator.
When you can say that: Yes! this is different – then you have changed. Change is the outcome after a transition or transformation. Every journey starts with one small step, and your evaluation will help you to set the road map by looking back to identify where you want to go.
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Recommended and Related:
- Self-Evaluation for Personal and Professional Development – hubpages.com
- Without a Plan You’re Growing Nowhere – johnmaxwell.com
- 6 Tips to Stick to New Year’s Resolutions – huffingtonpost.com
- How To Accept Yourself Instead Of Setting New Year’s Resolutions – care2.com
- Why We Shouldn’t Sweat The Small Stuff – realsimple.com
- The Happiness Project – by Gretchen Rubin
- Personal Growth Inspiration from Amazon: