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  • Writer's pictureHouria Bellatif

Reflections & Intentions

This time of the year is incredibly unique, and not to sound cliché, it does invite us to reflect and set our intentions for the months ahead. As we move into the new year, it's a chance to take inventory of where we are in our lives and set our sights on where we want to be. What were our successes? What were our challenges? And most importantly, what did we learn from them?

An honest assessment of the past twelve months can help us move forward into the new year with clarity and purpose. So, how does one effectively reflect and chart a course for what is coming?

Define what reflection is and how it works

It is hard to know where we are going if we do not know where we have been. And that my friend makes reflection such a powerful tool. If done correctly, this thought process allows what happened in the past not to weigh us and, most importantly, propel us into what is yet to come. It's about taking the time to assess our progress and successes and identify any growth opportunities. Reflection doesn't have to be overwhelming but rather an inspiring opportunity to come away with new perspectives. It is vital to approach this process thoughtfully and dedicate time to it.

Reflection can be essential in helping us become our best selves and work towards fulfilling our goals. Many successful people incorporate reflection into their day-to-day routines. They ensure that they have dedicated time each day to pause, reflect on what happened that day, and make any necessary adjustments or note areas for improvement. If you're looking for successful reflections to emulate, consider the example set by some of the world's most renowned athletes. These athletes make time after each competitive event to review failures and successes and then use these learnings to tweak their approach for future events.

How to make a reflective session powerful?

Until reflection becomes an integrated process in your routine, here are some simple steps to help you set meaningful intentions and make 2023 your best year yet,

1. Set an appointment with yourself and honor it. Do not fall into the trap of "I do not have the time." It might take 15 min or maybe 60 min; whatever it is, allow yourself the time and space needed. Take some focused time for yourself to contemplate what matters most to you. Reflect on your accomplishments and successes from the past year and identify any areas where you want to focus more in the next 12 months

2. Outline the items you want to reflect on and if you do not know where to start, consider some of these practical reflective prompts for 2022

  • What was one thing I was the proudest of?

  • What was the biggest lesson I learned today?

  • What did I learn about myself?

  • What did I let go of?

  • What are things I did that were outside of my comfort zone?

  • How did I fail? and what have I learned from it?

  • How did I live by my core values?

Prompts like these can help you think more deeply about how different experiences affect you. Moreover, examples from others may inspire - try talking to a close friend, colleague, or family member for genuine reflective exercises for tips and advice! These prompts can facilitate personal growth and self-awareness with the proper guidance and attitude

3. Now that you have some answers to what 2022 brought along, you can turn these reflections into clear, achievable intentions for the year ahead. When establishing these goals, the idea is to consider different areas of your life, such as career aspirations, personal development and creative interests. Below are some questions to help with that intention-setting process:

  • How will I take care of myself Emotionally, physically, intellectually & spiritually?

  • What will I say Yes to?

  • What will I say No to?

  • How will I help others?

  • What new practices do I want to adopt?

  • What relationships do I want to focus on?

4. This step is equally critical, if not more essential, than the previous ones. Somehow when we reflect and think of changes, we tend to express them in "I will stop doing X" and "I want to avoid Y." Statements in the negative form do not seem to be inducive to action and sustainment. Our brain responds better when goals are expressed in a favorable structure: "I will do more of Z instead of Y" or "I want to do less of X." The essence of the statements does not change; only the impact and perception do. Remember to frame the intentions positively by affirming why each one is important and giving each goal emotional weight.

I invite you to reflect on your intentions and prepare to start 2023 off on the right foot. By taking some time for ourselves- whether that be through journaling, meditating, going for a walk outside, etc.- and being honest about what we want and need, this upcoming year can be full of possibility and hope. So, let us set aside time in the next few days to reflect on where we have been and where we want to go- both as individuals and as a collective community.

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