It is once again time for my annual tradition of sharing 12 Questions to help you complete the year past and reflect on the year ahead.
This is my favorite time of the year for reflecting. To be your best, it is imperative to have a foundation of personal awareness. Journaling is a great way to reflect in a purposeful way; to become more mindful, and to instill more awareness and intentionality in your life.
For this year’s iteration of the 12 Questions, I’ve kept some of the tried and true questions from previous years (mostly for the ‘year past’ reflection) and added some brand new questions for the year ahead. These newer questions are inspired from themes in my recently launched book, Ease – Manage Overwhelm in Times of “Crazy Busy”.
On a personal note, this has been a huge year for me with lots of change and growth. I’m excited to capture and celebrate some of the most salient highlights. And I have so much in the queue for the year ahead that I can’t wait to write about that too. “Writing it down” is another essential tool offered in my book to pre-empt the feeling of ‘mind full’. Getting all these thoughts and ideas down in writing will help me clarify and tune-in to my goals and commitments for the year ahead.
How about you?
I hope you take some time in the weeks ahead to reflect on your year past and the year ahead. Please enjoy these questions and if you think others would enjoy them too, please do that ‘social share’ thing (buttons at the bottom of the post).
THE YEAR PAST:
1) What went well? Identify the goals you accomplished or advanced towards; and anything else that went well and is worth acknowledging.
2) In what ways did you grow and evolve in the ‘evolution of you’? How were you tested or challenged, and how did you grow as a result? What new skills, knowledge, ideas and have made you better or different from the beginning of the year?
3) What were your favorite moments of the year past? Savouring positive experiences gives you the opportunity to replay the positive moments which is a proven strategy to boost your “positivity muscle” leading to more optimism, resilience and mojo – all essential ingredients to personal and professional wellbeing. Go ahead – indulge and enjoy them again.
4) What do you need to clean-out or let go of right now from the year past to be ready to start fresh in the New Year? Consider both your physical space (your office, your home) as well as your emotional and mental mindsets.
5) What and who are you most grateful for right now? Consider the people in your life; the circumstances; the gifts; make this a juicy list! Practising gratitude helps fast-track you towards greater happiness, health and well-being.
6) If there was a theme for the past year for you, what would it be? i.e. “This was the year of ____.”
THE YEAR AHEAD
7) What do you want for the year ahead? What goals are you embracing and willing to commit to? Are these goals actionable and part of a plan? Or just wishful thinking? Make them count; make them meaningful; and make them happen!
8) In what areas do you need to get better organized to avoid the ‘mind full’ syndrome so you can bring your best self to your goals? Consider your daily tasks as well as longer term priorities? How will you make sure you get your vast amount of ‘to do’s out of your head but maintain a top-of-mind awareness of key priorities? How will you manage your crazy schedule? What boundaries and structures will you put in place to manage your time more effectively and meaningfully? Chapter 1 of Ease provides a ton of tips in these areas.
9 ) How will you tame the multitasking beast and add more focus and flow to your days? Sure, life is busy and there’s a lot to juggle. But science tells us that our brains aren’t built for certain kinds of multitasking. In fact, we are depleting our energy and compromising our best ‘brain-ability’. Our brains need some time for focus and flow. Give it some and you will be rewarded with a greater sense of ease, energy and ‘brain-ability’ to tackle the loads more effectively.
10) What inner critics need to be acknowledged and then invited to take a back seat this year in order for you to tap into your more essential self that will empower you to flourish? We all have parts of ourselves that limit our greatness – if we allow them to. We can’t quiet our inner critics if we don’t notice them. What voices need to be noticed and quieted this year? What empowering voices from within yourself will you listen to more intently – e.g. your voice of trust? Wisdom? Experience? Courage? In Ease, I offer guidance on how to get to know your inner critics and how to park them in favour of other more empowering forces from within.
11) How will you boost your positivity ratio? Research in the science of positivity has proven that those who practice robust positivity habits enjoy greater success and tend to be more apt to stretch higher and reach more of their goals. They also experience greater well-being physically, mentally and emotionally. How much positivity makes the difference? The ideal ratio is a minimum of 3 positive thoughts to one negative thought. Scaling back negativity is one way to achieve that and ramping up authentic positive micro moments is another. Chapter 6 in Ease provides many tips to help you ramp up your positivity habit. What will you commit to practicing in the year ahead?
12) How will you ensure you get enough quality sleep this year? Lack of quality sleep has become a problem for too many people. Ample zzzs are imperative for our brains and bodies to operate most effectively. Lack of sleep combined with excessive stress, poor mood is a recipe for poor performance and ‘bye bye thinking capacity – hello brain freeze’. It’s time to wake up to the issue of not enough sleep! In Ease, I offer some tips to help you get a grip on sleeplessness. What will you commit to this year to get the sleep you need to flourish?
BONUS Q: If the year ahead is to have a personal theme for you, what would that be and what word or phrase best embodies this theme? i.e. “This will be the year of ____” This is one of my favorite questions. This year my theme continues to be “Ease”: To live and work with greater ease. I’ll still work hard and give it my all – and then some. But I will use the tools shared in my new book, Ease, to do so with much less frazzle and struggle. How about you? What’s your theme?
And do you have your word?
Wishing you an abundance of well-being, positivity and ease in the weeks ahead as you complete the year and more of the same for the shiny new year ahead!