Time flies doesn’t it? Hard to believe it’s December already. It’s a nostalgic mixed bag for many—a roller coaster of highs and lows. Some succeeded in work, others struck-out, some hearts fluttered, others broke. Families joyfully said hello to little additions, and tearfully bid farewell to loved ones passing.
It’s a time when reflection and contemplation is unavoidable. Coming to the end of anything causes us to look back on the journey. But it can be a powerfully therapeutic practice if we’re intentional. We’re the sum total of our experiences—reflection allows us to sift the good from the bad, to be thankful, and to grow and transform.
As you grab a glass of wine and some chocolate, here are 5 lists to make and reflect upon:
1. A “People” List.
New friends and old; networking connections that turned out to be so much more. Think through the people who really impacted your life this year, those who encouraged you, those who believed in you, those who gave you a massive break—acknowledge them. Once you have your list, let them know how thankful you are, take them out for lunch, send a card, an email, write a letter or make a phone call.
As we reflect on how others have poured into our lives, we’ll think of ways we can pay it forward.
2. A “Personal Achievement” List.
Whether it’s professionally, spiritually, physically, intellectually, or relationally, write down the ways you’ve succeeded in these areas. Perhaps a promotion at work, or finally breaking free from your job; becoming more committed to your beliefs; increasing your fitness levels; spending more time with your partner.
You’ll be surprised at how much you were able to accomplish in one year. It’s healthy to give yourself a pat on the back, and reflecting on your success will fuel you onto your future goals.
3. A “Mistakes & Lessons Learned” List.
The only failure is in failing to learn from the experience. Everyone’s a little bruised and battered from falling flat on our faces throughout the year. Make a list of mistakes for the sole purpose of drawing a valuable lesson from each one. Our trials can be our greatest teachers, if we take the time to sit and listen.
4. A “Laughter” List.
Humor is incredibly healthy; laughter is not only a unique human experience, but something we can never have too much of. No doubt there were plenty of incidences that would’ve gone viral had you caught them on camera. At least you can put them on paper. This will be a difficult list to put together as you’ll keep interrupting yourself with a good ol’ belly laugh.
More than just releasing happy chemicals, it’ll remind you not to take life, or yourself too seriously.
5. A “Generosity” List.
John Bunyan said, “You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.”
This list is typically the most difficult to put together, because it often uncovers the extent of our selfishness. But, no pain no gain right? Make a list of ways that you’ve given without any expectation of return; a random act of kindness, a charitable donation, or helping someone out at work.
The good news is, the year isn’t over yet, and this is one list we all want to grow.