Rolo and a (near) Winter Solstice sunrise in Crystal Palace Park
Amidst the chaos of Christmas, there’s a yearning in me for introspection right now. I’m an extrovert and love a Christmas get-together, but I also need pockets of quiet and space to enjoy and appreciate the essence of this season.
Like nature’s cycle of hibernation, December provides the perfect opportunity to take a pause and reflect at the end of the year, on what’s really mattered to me, and what I choose to take forwards into the next.
The end of year reflection exercise I’ve created below is no annual work-appraisal! My intention is that you’ll glean meaningful insights about You this year. This is about remembering your strengths and skills, those brilliant character traits as an individual – a reminder of what you’re great at and what you love to do – all of which have contributed to your growth.
This is for you, whether you’re experiencing:
- Feeling stuck or drained, as though 2023 cab just fade away (see My Invitation), or
- At a crossroads – which way to turn, what to do? You can specifically read more HERE
- Curiosity – energised by the potential gains and possibilities from self-reflection
I hope it serves as a gentle nudge to harness the positives within you to take forwards into 2024!
- Your small wins amongst the challenging experiences – a new skill, connection with new people, a healthy habit you’ve developed
- What you have loved doing this year – however seemingly small or insignificant
- And what has energised you, lifted you up
- Be kind on yourself – and notice if you be kinder still
You ultimately choose what to take with you into 2024.
Benefits of an End of Year Reflection Exercise
- Reflection – gives the brain an opportunity to pause and slow down. We carry so much information; social media, advertising, the mental load. This is an opportunity to untangle and sort through this year’s positive moments to be proud of, boost your confidence and cultivate a sense of gratitude
- Perspective – and allowing it – provides another possible interpretation, a growth mindset approach, particularly when thinking of an event that’s felt challenging
- Increased self-awareness and confidence – of the good stuff about YOU to be more of your authentic self
- Increased sense of wellbeing – this can be a healthy, positive exercise on You
How to Reflect at the End of the Year:
- Your environment – in a cafe? Out on a walk? Go somewhere inspiring where you won’t be distracted the your day to day stuff that could get in the way
- Create quality time to do this – 30 mins minimum, better still an hour to think deeper
- Your approach – on your own? With a friend over coffee? In chunks – ie part one and a revisit as a part two?
I prefer to do this specific exercise in a group. My friend Lyn Ray is also a Life Coach, based in Edinburgh, and I’ve joined her group especially for this exercise over the past 3 years! It always surprises me what comes out of my pen and what I learn about myself that boosts my confidence and pride. As a small business, I enjoy being with others for this kind of work – connection, support, banter and fun!
But otherwise I’d do this in a cafe with good coffee, cake and nice people. I often take a piece of work to one of my local cafes in Sydenham, London, put my air pods in, and take them out and talk to people on a break. And of course, I think super well out on a walk by myself – good for when I have a smaller question in mind.
Whatever you do, have an open attitude and a growth mindset – what can you learn here about yourself? You might surprise yourself!
10 Life Coaching Questions
Consider using these coaching prompts to gently guide you on your end of year reflection:
- What were the highlights of this year – big and small – that brought me a sense of achievement?
- Briefly, what were the significant challenges or setbacks I faced? What positive traits have I learnt about myself?
- What did I do for my physical and mental health in 2023? What difference has it made?
- What tasks or activities have energised me in 2023?
- What’s drained me in 2023?
- What am I most proud of in 2023?
- What am I grateful for this year?
- From these reflections, what do I want to take into 2024?
- From what I’ve written, how have I grown this year?
- And what will I leave behind?
Once you’ve reflected, move onto goal-setting – but if you’re a bit of a thinker like me, perhaps chunk it down and leave this for another time.
I wrote about values orientated goals HERE if you’re interested.
One final thought
Kindness. Above all, approach reflection and yourself with kindness to yourself, as you would a friend. Celebrate your successes, no matter how small they may seem. Embrace your challenges as opportunities towards personal growth.
Reflection isn’t about dwelling on mistakes or shortcomings; it’s about learning and evolving.
You can prepare for a new year with possibilities and the promise of growth.