As 2017 draws to an end I have been reflecting on the last twelve months; my successes, what I’ve learnt, what I want to do differently and what’s next. Looking back over the year is a win-win situation. If you’ve had a good year taking time to enjoy the success can be hugely energising; if you have had a difficult year or are not sure of your direction, all kinds of new opportunities can emerge by questioning your current situation and looking for ways to improve it. Here are three questions that have really made me think hard about where I’ve been and where I’m going. I’d love to know if you find them as powerful as I did.
What are you grateful for?
Gratitude is so important to our wellbeing, development and perspective on life. If you do just one thing to reflect on the year and set yourself in good stead for 2018, I suggest making a list of all the things you’re grateful for from the last twelve months. You might be surprised to see just how many things are on your list, even if it’s been a challenging year.
How sustainable is your life?
People talk about a work-life balance but until recently I didn’t separate the two, my work is such a big part of my life and I genuinely enjoy it, and so I rejected the concept of balance. I thought to care about something and be passionate about it meant to really go for it. I didn’t stop for long enough to think that this might not be a sustainable approach and could lead to me neglecting other areas of life.
And so the question, “How sustainable is your life?”, which was inspired by Nancy Kline’s book “More Time to Think”*, struck a chord and I’ve since begun asking myself about sustainability in relation to four areas of my life:
- Health (How am I looking after my well being?)
- Purpose (Am I on purpose? Where am I contributing? What is my life’s purpose?)
- Relationships (Am I investing time in those people most important to me?)
- Work and finances (Am I working too much or not enough? Am I investing or spending in the right proportions?)
For me it’s not about getting a balance over a daily, weekly or even monthly basis. Instead, I’m looking at balance over a slightly longer period, more like a quarter. This means I can still stretch myself to achieve goals and really go for it with my work, but afterwards I take time to review, reset and re-energise.
What do you want to accomplish in the next 12 months?
Fast forward to 31st December 2018. Imagine yourself standing in “the shoes of success” and ask yourself any or all of the following questions:
- What does this success look like?
- What have you accomplished?
- Who are you spending time with?
- How are you contributing?
- What have you learnt?
Taking a three-year time period can also be helpful, as I suggested in my blog last year, which has a few more ideas on setting goals and reviewing the last twelve months.
And, if you feel ready, you can imagine yourself looking back over your entire life and list out what you want to be remembered for. This is a powerful and brave question but if you are willing to let your imagination run wild and tap into your intuition, it can shift your course dramatically.
Wishing you all the best for 2018.
*“More Time to Think”, Nancy Kline, in which she explores the idea of sustainability in relation to Jamie Armstrong’s thinking on this