Well, Christmas is now behind. The holiday sales season has come to a close. It is the week of calm before we enter the new year ahead of us. These can be seven of the most fun days of the year, but also seven of the most critical for each of us. As we near the end of something it gives us cause to reflect. Each year millions of people around the world set forth their resolutions, goals, and desires for the upcoming year. Are you one of them? I enjoy new things. I enjoy new toys, new experiences, and especially new changes. A new day, a new week, a new month, and a new year. Each of these can be followed up with a desire to be better than the old.
The past is not something that we forget. It is not something that we live it. It is something that we take as a tool to learn from and become better from. As we end another year take this time to reflect on the events of 2016. Now look from each of those events to how you can be better in 2017. What can you do to improve, grow, and better live in the moment?
Here are some things that I enjoy looking at each year as I reflect and look forward.
How have I spiritually grown this year?
I like to take an inventory of how I have grown over the previous year. Some questions that I ask myself that help to gauge this and quantify it are as follows: What are some of the things I have read?
- What are some of the things I have read?
- How has my personal reflection been?
- Have I dedicated appropriate time to journal writing?
- Have I been consistent with morning and evening prayers?
- Have I read the scriptures each day?
I utilize Coach.me each day to record my daily tasks. It is great to look back on how consistent I was throughout the year. This is a great tool to quantify my progress. Spirituality is a difficult measurement to quantify, but how well I am doing on tasks helps. Internally, I am able to look to see how I feel and if I have grown throughout the year. A couple of other tools that have been a help to me are meditation with an app like Centered or Headspace. Meditation helps to keep me mindful and in the moment. The last tool to mention here is the following layout utilized by the 5-Minute Journal in the Day One App. This helps each day to look to where I am and where I want to be.
- I am grateful for…
- What would make today great?
- What do I fear that I can do today?
- Daily affirmation
- 3 Amazing things that happened today
- 3 things I learned from reading today
- How could I have made today better?
What adventures have I had this year?
I live for adventure. My God, my family, and my adventures are the big three things in my life. Each adventure hopefully brings me closer to the previous two. I like to reflect on the adventures that I have had over the course of the year. This year has been a progress in skiing, visiting multiple new National Parks (Mt. Rainier, Olympic, Yosemite), and supporting my wife in her achievements. Looking back to what I did helps me to see where I want to go this upcoming year.
What adventures am I looking forward to this coming year?
Each year I set forth aspirations and hopes. I want to do more than the previous years. I want to achieve more. I thrive on being in the out of doors. It brings excitement, adventure, life, and mindfulness to me as I spend time outdoors. I look forward to what I can do. As I look to this upcoming year I will plan out various adventures that will push me, that inspire me, and that can bring me closer to God and family.
How have I done on my goals for the year?
Each year I set goals. Unfortunately, it is sometimes the only time that I do. I try to stay away from resolutions. I take this time to look back to how I did on the goals that I set forth at the beginning of this previous year. How well did I do? Did I stay on task? Did I do what I wanted? This past year, I set out to accomplish the following.
- Get my weight down to 180 by March 1
- Read 1 book / month
- Help 5 boys achieve rank of Eagle Scout
- Launch Trail Destinations
- Rim to Rim to Rim of Grand Canyon
- Summit 20 Peaks over the year
I fell short on a few of these goals, but I got done more than I would have if I hadn’t set forth these goals. I look forward to what I can do in the upcoming year.
What are some key things that I want to accomplish in the coming year?
I’m not a big fan of “lose weight”, “visit the gym more”, “be nicer”, etc. I need to quantify my goals. I need to have something that drives me. I need S.M.A.R.T. goals. These will be what drives me this year. I want to accomplish what I put down.
These moments of reflection need not be held to an annual inventory, but can, and ought to, be done each week, month, and in some cases daily. By reflecting on life we become aware of where we are and what we better desire to achieve. Take this moment as the clock changes to reflect on life. Set some goals. Be driven to live in the now and be better each day. I know that I will!