Looking back

Looking back

The last few days of 2020.  We finally made it! What a year it has been.  Many of us probably started the year with goals and intentions, plans and dreams which may not all have turned out how we had in mind.  Holiday plans were cancelled, family time at home took on a whole new meaning, home-schooling became a norm in many households and eating out became even more of a treat than before.  Unexpected, uncertain, unusual, uncontrolled – all words that could sum up 2020.

I know that our first instinct is to run into the new year with arms wide open, away from 2020 and all that it threw at us.  But before we turn our backs on the year that’s past, I think it’s important to reflect on what 2020 has been for us.  Reflection is scary and emotional, but it’s the only way to move forward intentionally focusing on what matters and leaving behind the parts that can stay in the past.  Professional sports players spend time watching their games, debriefing with their coaches, looking for ways to improve.  Most business environments have performance review cycles to review performance of employees to identify strengths and areas for development going into the new year. What about if we looked back at 2020 as year that taught us something new, a year that we learnt something about ourselves or others?

The point is, although tough and challenging times are exactly that – tough and challenging, we can always learn something, there is always something good that comes out of them.  Even from 2020.  Especially from 2020.  I’m not suggesting that we dwell on the past and carry it with us into the future.  Not at all.  What I do believe, though, is that if we don’t take the time to acknowledge the moments and experiences, our response to trials and joys, we lose the opportunity to figure out ways to be better, to do better, to let go of what doesn’t serve us and others and to grow.

Take half an hour to sit quietly and think back on the year that you’ve lived through.  It may have been the hardest year of your life.  It may have thrown at you things you never thought you were capable of making it through.  But you have.

Here are some questions to get you started:

What is something you’ve learnt about yourself this year?

What are the things you could have done differently in 2020?

What are the things that 2020 has taught you about life, that you’d like to take into the new year?

What do you think you did well and would like to continue doing into 2021?

Did you invest time in the areas of your life that matter to you?

Are the things that matter to you now still the things that mattered to you at the start of the year?  If not, why?  How have they changed?

Rather than moving forward into the new year blindly floating through each day, choose to reflect on the experiences of 2020 and how these moments can impact tomorrow and next week and the weeks after that.  Sometimes the worst, most challenging times end up putting us on the road to some of the best things in our lives.

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