Brought to you by Christian Today
New Year is a great time to slow down and reflect on the previous one. The act of pausing and looking back allows you to take stock and to think about all that you have to be grateful for as well as considering lessons you have learnt or would like to learn before launching into 2016.
So, if you have a quiet moment and can resist the pull of the sales, the TV specials and the leftover food, here are seven questions to help you reflect on the previous twelve months.
1. What are you grateful for from 2015? Try writing down 10 things that you can be thankful for from the last year. They can be big or small things and if you are on a roll why not keep going past 10 and see how far you can go with your list? If you are thankful for people in your life or something someone did for you – why not tell them? People won’t necessarily guess that you appreciate them. You offer a great gift if you can express your gratitude and let people know what they mean to you.
2. How did God speak to you in 2015 and how did you respond? If you keep a prayer journal why not look back through it and see how God answered your prayers or spoke to you over the last 12 months? If not, think back anyway. What were the main themes in your prayer life and relationship with God this year? How did you change spiritually? What verse or verses spoke to you? What was God teaching you this year?
3. How well did you nurture your closest relationships? Think of your 12 closest relationships. They could be with loved ones, children, family, friends or people you work with. How well did you love and invest in those people? Did they get the best of your time, effort and attention or did they get the dregs after everything and everyone else? How well did you show up in your relationships? Did you allow people to see the real and authentic you? How well did you apologise and forgive when things went wrong? Who or how would you like to have loved better?
5. What were your greatest regrets, hurts or failures and what lessons did you learn from them? It can be painful to look back at what went wrong – our disappointments, hurts, losses, upsets and failures. But often it is in the difficult times that we learn the most about ourselves. What was challenging for you this year and what did you learn from those times? Have you been able to heal, forgive, apologise or let go? What if anything do you need from God, yourself or others to move forward?
6. How did you grow, change or improve over the year? Whether it was emotionally, physically, spiritually, or intellectually – how did you change? What bad habits did you break or what good ones did you take up or maintain? How well did you do at looking after yourself? What new things did you try? What goals did you meet? What were your greatest celebrations or achievements last year?
7. What one word or phrase would you best use to describe your 2015? Think of last year as a chapter in the book of your life – what would the title of that chapter be?
I hope that you found that a useful exercise. In my next column, I will be taking a look forward with seven more questions to help you be intentional about 2016.