The end of a year is often considered an opportune time to reflect. As we wind down for the year and transition from a hectic pre-Christmas schedule to more of a holiday pace, there are moments that present themselves as invitations to stop and take stock of the year that’s been. Reflecting on key moments of joy or loss, successes and failures, and reevaluating what’s most important to you, is a powerful tool to sustainable success in every area of your life. Why? Because our experiences shape who we are, what we pursue and ultimately become our life story.
Why reflecting is important
For some, slowing down to reflect on where they are, what’s important and who they want to be seems antithetical to the pace they believe they need to sustain their current success. After all, who has time to reflect when there’s so many other decisions to prioritize? However, it’s when your pursuit of success crowds out your capacity to reflect on what’s most meaningful to you that its most needed – and extremely powerful.
“Too many of us are so busy achieving our goals that we don’t realize the trail we are blazing is taking us to a destination we don’t want to be, and that it will end up costing us more in areas of life we thought were stable.”
No matter when or how you reflect- whether it’s in the car as you drive home from work, on a walk over the holidays, or writing thoughts down once the kids are in bed – the purpose of reflecting is to re-evaluate how aligned your pursuits are with what you ultimately want. Reflection can be a course corrector, validate your current trajectory, or be the catalyst for a whole new direction.
Reflection leads to better decision making
Pausing the habitual movement from one thing to the next – what Dr Adam Fraser calls the Third Space1 – allows you to get clarity on your strengths, values, purpose and goals. This empowers better decision making leading to greater resilience and adaptability in the face of change. Reflection builds confidence that what you are prioritizing aligns with who you are and what you want to achieve.
Making time to reflect, especially as we edge closer to the end of the year, will not hinder your success, it is vital to it.
“Identifying what success looks like in your business, your relationships and your life takes time and intentionality, and the result is an incredible return of investment – greater alignment, focus and momentum to achieve your goals.”
How reflection is a stepping stone through change
Change is constant, and we make many transitions out of and into different roles, relationships, and life stages, some by our own choosing and others that we have no control over. The coronavirus pandemic will eventually become endemic2. Some people will start pursuing goals that were put on hold, while for others it will mean managing unexpected changes.
You may be a business owner who has had to close your doors, a CEO managing rapid expansion with a hybrid workforce, or relocating to be closer to family. William Bridges author of Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes suggests that reflection is pivotal to handling “the difficult process of letting go of an old situation, of suffering the confusing nowhere of in-betweenness, and of launching forth again in a new situation”3. No matter the context of the transition, reflection is a powerful tool to effectively navigate change.
What’s the bottom line?
Adopting reflection as a core practice leads to better decision making, greater resilience in the face of change, and focused momentum to achieve the goals most important to you. Rather than being a roadblock to your success, reflection is key to long-term sustainable success in all areas of your life.
1 Fraser., A. (2012). The Third Space: Using Life’s Little Transitions to Find Balance and Happiness, Random House
3 Bridge., W. (2020). Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes. Da Capo Lifelong Books