The New Year is here which means millions of people around the world will embark on New Year’s resolutions. If you are one of those people, I wish you all the best. Personally, I’ve never been a fan of the practice however. Instead, I strive to wake up each day with the mindset that I will resolve to do better. January 1st is no different in that regard. One thing that I do at the beginning of the year though is to reflect on the past 365 days.
Rather than typing endlessly about resolutions vs. reflection, below is a brief video where I address the subject.
By reflecting on the past year, you are essentially conducting a performance review of yourself. Doing so will allow you to identify areas where you can improve or should have done better. You don’t need to drive yourself crazy over whether you’ve reached your potential, but you should be critical of the decisions you’ve made and the tasks you have performed.
Without these informal self-evaluations, it is difficult to know if you are doing enough to accomplish the goals that matter to you. By reflecting on what you’ve done or could have done better, you will never find yourself lying on your death bed pondering what could have been. You will have already addressed those concerns and adjusted your behavior accordingly.
If you never take the time to evaluate yourself, how can you honestly say that you have done what was necessary to realize your potential? Why live in uncertainty, when you could instead take a few moments to occasionally reflect on your life? It does not take long, and it will certainly be time well spent.
There’s an old saying that says the only way to avoid criticism is by doing nothing. Hopefully you have bigger aspirations for yourself. If that is the case, there will always be something that you are doing that warrants criticism. Don’t hide from it, and don’t wait for someone else to always point it out for you. By critiquing yourself, you will have many more opportunities to improve.
Willingness to identify mistakes combined with an eagerness to improve will always lead one towards his or her potential. Whether you actually get there matters less than your quest to actively head in that direction. Simply embarking on that journey will put you well ahead of most.
In summary, reflect on the past, make a plan to improve, and then move forward with confidence!
“We do not learn from experience. We learn from reflecting on experience.” – John Dewey