How Reflecting on the Past Brings a Better Future

Whether the past year has been everything you’ve dreamed of or a struggle to reach your goals, it’s important to reflect on your experiences. 

Taking the time to sort and analyze everything you’ve gone through makes it much easier to grow from your learnings.

The Value of Reflection

December can be a busy month with family and friends gathering for the holidays. However, carving time to reflect on the year is essential to set yourself up for success in 2023. 

One of the most powerful things we can do is to reflect on our past. This does not mean dwelling on mistakes, but taking an objective view and seeing where you can learn.

Let’s take Major Anthony Bourke as an example. He was a former F-16 fighter pilot who had a crucial role in protecting the airspace. One of the key lessons he took from his days in the Air Force is the importance of debriefing. 

The debriefing after the mission was a sacred place and time for people to reflect, learn and grow from the mission. He has flown over 2,700 hours and has yet to fly a perfect mission because there is always something to learn and make the next one even better.

Debriefs are just like year-end reflections. It’s not a time to beat yourself up for what you haven’t done, but rather reflect on what you’ve achieved and where you can improve. This is the true mindset of any thriving entrepreneur for ever-lasting growth.

How to Reflect on the Past Year

Taking a third-person perspective, follow these three steps to begin reflecting on your past year.

1. Find blessings and gratitude

You may have had a year where you accomplished all your goals, or perhaps there were other fires to fight that kept you away from achieving your goals. No matter what kind of year you have had, there are many blessings and things to be grateful for if you look for them. 

Pat yourself on the back and celebrate even the smallest wins. Running a successful business, juggling family commitments, and allocating time for yourself means you’ve got lots of balls in the air.

Write down 100 things you have accomplished or you’re grateful for. You’ll likely find that the first 10-20 things are big items you can easily recall, but you’ll have to get more granular to find the other 80-90 things. 

This is an excellent exercise to train our brains to look for small wins and be grateful for them every day.

2. Look at the gains, not the gaps

As humans, it’s easy to focus on our gaps instead of our gains.

But think about all the challenges you have overcome. What challenges held you back, but you found ways to persevere? What lessons have you learned? How did you show up in times of scarcity or fear? 

Reflecting on what you’ve overcome throughout the year will remind you how resilient you are. Strength doesn’t come from what you can do; it comes from overcoming the things you thought you couldn’t. 

Perhaps you didn’t reach your goal of buying a vacation home, but you did organize a cash flow plan that sets you up to achieve that goal next year, or maybe someone in your family fell ill and you managed to keep the business running while still attending to your commitments at home. Whatever your challenges were, write them down and reflect on how you showed up. This will help build confidence to face the year ahead.

3. Realign with your long-term goals

How clear are you on your life goals? The end of the year is a great time to realign with your goals and commit to any new goals. 

The first step to achieving your goals is getting clear on what they look like. We have a visualization tool to help you envision your dream life and set goals you’re excited about. The visualization walks you through 9 different areas of your dream life: physical, financial, spiritual, mental, skills, relationships, reputation, health, and philanthropy.

Goals will shift over time as lifestyles and priorities change. You may notice each time you realign, there are always 3-4 goals that stay the same. That’s how you know those are your top priority. 

Heading Into Next Year

After reflecting on the past, it’s time to commit to your goals for the new year.

The best way to commit to a goal is to physically write it down. Studies have shown that people who write their goals down are more likely to achieve them. It helps you stay motivated and creates a clear vision of what your dream life will look like. 

If you write down your goals daily in a journal, you’ll be constantly reminded and focused on the necessary steps to reaching your goals. Your entire universe begins shifting towards making that dream into reality. 

A year can be both short and long, depending on your perspective. How much you accomplish is up to you. If you do this reflection each year, your growth will accelerate and compound. It’s progress and not perfection.

At Ocean 6, we love working with growth-minded business owners who understand the growth journey.
If you’re ready to grow financially and organize your financial future to bring you closer to your goals, book a call today.

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