It is so easy to get caught up in the day-to day aspects of life and forget to pause, self reflect, and look at the bigger picture and before you know it another year has blown by. Slowing down and taking time to think about your life is extremely helpful in creating a better sense of you are, who you want to be, and how you will get there in the coming year.

Why is it beneficial to self-reflect, because it helps to build emotional self-awareness. By taking time to yourself to ask the important questions you gain a better understanding of your emotions, strengths, weaknesses and your driving factors. Integrity increases when you take time to reflect on your core values. Having a clear understanding of your core values strengthens your mind and your decisions.

We are constantly acting and moving from one thing to another in a cycle of doing/producing and trying to maximize productivity and minimize time spent. So much so that sometimes we forgot to stop and think. Taking this time to think allows you to form new ideas and reduce the risk for becoming stagnant. So what are the important questions you should be asking yourself? I would highly recommend asking yourself these questions to get you thinking and maybe writing them down or journaling about your thoughts and ideas.

How do you see yourself and who are you?
What are you most proud of?
What are you most grateful for?
What is most important to you in your life?
Who do you spend the most time with and are these people enabling you or holding you back?
What are your goals? What is stopping you or holding you back from achieving them?
Who can you share your goals with and who do you have to ask for support?
What experiences taught you the most in this last year and how can you use them to help guide you in the coming new year?
Where do you put your attention and energy when you are overwhelmed or stressed and is this how your want to spend your resources?

Whether you are in a leadership role, an aspiring leader, or you just want to be your best in work and life, the habit of reflection can build self-awareness, efficacy and resilience. If done right, it can also help you establish and achieve more meaningful goals. In the days ahead, I encourage you to take the time with these questions over several sittings. Let your thoughts percolate and stay with the questions over the next few weeks.

Lastly, I invite you to wrap up your year by giving it a theme or name.
For instance, 2017 was the year of ___________. 

So what’s your mantra for 2018?

I like the idea of having a theme, mantra, or even a powerful question to define intentions for the year ahead. You may find the word that you want to define your year comes to you straight away. But if not, there are three main steps, first, brainstorming words that define your approach or goals in areas of your life, second, putting those words (and any others) under key areas like family, health, travel etc, and third, looking over those words and trying to understand where there is overlap in your intentions. Your chosen word doesn’t have to relate to all of your resolutions but the more overarching it is in relation to what you want to achieve the more useful it will be.

Looking for some example words try:
Improve – Begin – Challenge – Wellness – Balance – Courage – Creativity – Evolve – Change – Heal – Release – Grow – Begin – Finish – Health

How about you? What’s your mantra for 2018?