The year is coming to a close…which means it’s time to brace ourselves for all the New Years Resolutions talk right around the corner.
If the start of a new year helps motivate you to transform your life in some way, that’s great! But too often, resolutions are framed as problems that need dramatic, unrealistic, and unsustainable solutions.
So it’s no wonder that 80% of people have already failed at their resolutions BY FEBRUARY, according to U.S. News & World Report.
As health coaches, we are firm believers that long-term behavior change is possible for everyone (it’s literally our job to help people make it happen). But today, we’re stepping back from resolutions and leaning into another R-word: reflection.
Taking the time to reflect is actually really useful! It can help us gain all-important perspective and understanding, appreciate what we accomplished, and identify what we want to work on.
Why bother with self-reflection? It creates self-awareness, self-efficacy, and resilience, which in turn help us set more meaningful (and realistic) goals. Self-reflection also offers a chance to love yourself, be gentle with yourself, and show yourself some empathy.
We’re not here to tell you to skip the resolutions altogether—if they work for you, then go for it. But maybe there’s some space in your New Years’ routine for self-reflection, too.
Need some inspiration to get you started? Try journaling some of these questions:
What worked well for me?
Start with your high points – the things that went right this year.
- What goals did you achieve?
- Did you land a new job? Take a special vacation? Enroll in that Health Coaching program you’ve been wanting to start? 😏
- When did you feel your best? What circumstances or events made you happy?
Fair warning: it might be harder than it sounds to sit and try to remember all the good that happened throughout the year. But whether your wins are big or small—a major career success or a walk with your dog on a beautiful day—it just might surprise you how great of a year you actually had.
What didn’t go so well?
We ask this question not to dwell on the low points but rather to acknowledge and learn from them. The good, the bad, and the ugly—it’s all part of our story. Try to reflect with curiosity and empathy, rather than judgment or shame.
- What did you settle for?
- When did you compromise on your values?
- What hurt?
- What did you put up with that brought you down?
- And which of these things can you actually control?
It may be uncomfortable, but these reflections can lead you to more meaningful goal setting in the new year.
What have I learned, and how have I grown?
When we learn, we change. We evolve.
- What lessons did you learn this year? What new ideas, habits, and experiences have come into your life?
- What challenged you, what did you struggle with? Maybe you learned a new skill set, or read a book that changed your mindset (or maybe you became a Health Coach!)?
Reflect on the ways these things have shaped you. Our endless ability to learn, respond, and adapt is one of the most beautiful parts of being alive!
Who can I recognize for helping me along the way?
Think of the people who played a part in your year.
- When they were around, how did you feel?
- What do they contribute to your life?
- What are you grateful to them for?
- How does it feel to know you have people you can count on?
If you like, you can even reach out and let them know what they mean to you.
What do I want more of?
Look at the reflections you’ve just gone through—there’s a lot of good in there already! You aren’t starting from scratch.
- What do you want more of?
- What are you bringing into 2020 that you want to keep in your life?
- How can you build on the good in the coming year?
We all had our highs and lows, and we’ll have more of both in the coming year. How you approach 2020 is your call: will you take care of yourself with more gentleness? Will you be there for others? Will you stand up for what you believe in, take a risk, make a change? Think about the kind of person you want to be, the thresholds you want to cross, the people you want to connect with. By reflecting on what we truly want, we are better equipped to put our plans into action.
We at The Functional Medicine Coaching Academy wish you a New Year filled with love, happiness, and success—however those things look like for you!
Do you want to learn more about various Functional Medicine topics? Check out our Short Courses.