As the end of the year draws closer, all of us yogis could really benefit from doing some serious reflective work on what we experienced over the past 12 months to help move us forward into the New Year.
By doing this work, we allow ourselves to grow. We leave what no longer serves us behind and embrace what we know is right for the future.
To start your end-of-year refection, you’ll need a few things:
- A quiet, comfortable space where you can sit down and be uninterrupted for at least an hour (or longer if you choose)
- Your journal or a few blank pages of lined paper
- A pen or pencil
- A glass of water or cup of herbal tea (optional)
- A candle or aromatherapy diffuser (optional)
- Some classical or ambient music (optional)
You’re going to sit down and write as much as you can as you ask yourself the following five questions. Be as detailed as possible and don’t worry about spelling mistakes, grammar, conflicting thoughts, or mixed emotions—just start writing as the words come to you and don’t stop until nothing else comes to you.
1. Which areas of my life did I focus most of my energy on?
Sometimes we find ourselves wondering why certain areas of our lives are lacking, which is why it can be so eye-opening to get honest about where we’ve truly been focusing our energy. This is where we find our answers. For example, if you spent the past year wondering why your love life hasn’t been very exciting, getting honest with yourself and becoming aware of the fact that you spent most of your time developing other areas (such as perhaps your health and fitness, or growing your career) can help you get started with shifting your priorities in the New Year.
2. What were some of the experiences that brought me the most happiness?
Think back through each month carefully and consider everything from big achievements to smaller, special moments. Refer to your previous journal entries if you regularly wrote in it over the past year. Those happy experiences that stick out the most to you are big hints at what you need to keep doing, do again, or build upon in the New Year.
3. What were some of my biggest struggles?
It’s easy to reflect upon happy times over the past year, but it’s a different story for those experiences that left you feeling sad, rejected, humiliated, angered, hurt, emotionally out of control, lost, or scared, Those experiences, however, hold the key to some of the biggest lessons you’ll learn about yourself and about life. Acknowledge them, process them if you haven’t done so yet, forgive whoever needs to be forgiven (including yourself), make peace with them, and extract the important lesson you learned from them.
4. What habits and behaviors did I do that I want to leave behind?
We all have bad habits and behaviors we wish we could drop. Bad habits flourish when we’re operating at a low-conscious level, so the more aware you can make yourself of these bad habits, the greater the chance of success you’ll have at eliminating them for good. Even if you tried to drop a bad habit this past year but didn’t succeed, be compassionate toward it i yourself and explore your experiences with it. If something didn’t work, you know what you need to do—change it up or try something else.
5. What habits and behaviors did I do that I want to continue doing?
It’s just as important to take stock of the good habits and behaviours as it is of the bad ones, because the good ones are the ones you’ll want to focus more of your energy on in the New Year. These are the habits that move you closer to a greater sense of happiness, peace, and purpose. Whether you started taking yoga classes consistently or challenged yourself to be a little more mindful of your spending habits, make sure you write about the positive effects of those habits so that you became more aware of just how much they’re helping you grow.