By Cathryn O’Donnelly, Career, Business & Life Coach at
These past three years have been like no other. Our lives and relationships have been impacted in so many ways, from personal to professional. Plans and goals have been put on hold or abandoned, and there’s been the pressure of staying safe and protecting family members and businesses as well.
Although there is still uncertainty, we can and should be thinking about what the future might hold, where we want to be and how we’ll get there. After all, as the philosopher Seneca wrote 2,000 years ago, if you don’t know which port you are sailing to, then no wind is favourable.
The beginning of a new year is a great time to reflect on the previous, both in our personal and our professional lives. What we’ve achieved, what we’ve put on hold, realisations we’ve had – and helpful and unhelpful habits we may have picked up or developed along the way.
Every year I advise my clients to stop and take stock, focussing on reviewing the past twelve months in twelve key areas which I’ll share with you now. And if you’d like to go one step further, you can also download my free life review guide .
Firstly, start by going through your 2022 diary and emails to remember everything you’ve done this year. Then reflect on what’s gone well and what hasn’t under each of the following headings (along with some specific considerations I’ve provided for each):
- Personal effectiveness: Think about how you’ve got the best out of yourself and the skills you possess that help you achieve your goals in the shortest time. This includes your organisational and time management skills, as well as how ‘in control’ you feel of your life.
- Career: Our career can be such a huge part of what defines us and gives us our sense of purpose and direction. But it’s not always plain sailing. Consider how you feel about your job, your colleagues, and your work/life balance.
- Health and wellbeing: Our physical and mental health plays into every aspect of our lives. How is your health, nutrition, sleep and energy levels?
- Relationships: Humans are social creatures and we thrive on human interaction. But bad relationships can have an equally damaging effect too. What are the most important relationships to you, are you spending enough time on them and how do they make you feel?
- Hobbies and interests: What have you pursued in 2022 and what would you like to continue, stop or take up in 2023? How has it made you feel? It’s through our hobbies and interests that we really learn about who we are.
- Happiness: The more you can understand what makes you happy and where your happiness has come from in 2022, the more you can do to ensure 2023 is full of happiness too. It’s also important to think about where happiness might be missing and what might need to be changed.
- Confidence and self-esteem: Confidence can ebb and flow, one minute you’ve got it, the next you can be doubting yourself. Is your confidence increasing year on year or diminishing? Try to understand what helps you to build confidence and what can impact it. This can help form strategies to cope.
- Resilience: We’ve all had our resilience tested the last few years, and it’s true that hard times builds resilience. But it’s also vital to identify if there are any specific areas of your life that require you to be more resilient, and how you can build up to this.
- Fears: It can often be hard to talk about our fears, even the ones we know are probably not as bad as we worry they might be. Start by identifying your fears, but then think about how they are impacting your life and what you’d be able to do if they were gone.
- Finances: Our finances have a major impact on all 11 of our other points of reflection. Being honest with yourself about your finances and where you’d like to be can be empowering, not scary.
- Free time: Closely linked to hobbies and interests, how do you make the most of your free time? What, if anything, do you wish you’d of spent more of it doing? There’s only so many hours in the day, it’s all too easy to waste them however.
- Goals: Lastly, did you set any goals or plans for 2022 and have you achieved them? How have you developed as a person over the year and how will that carry you forward into the next year?
Looking back helps us realise how far we have come, the good we have done, and what is important to us. It also helps us understand our challenges and how we can overcome them. Ultimately, these reflections will give you the information you need to set goals and priorities for what you want to do next.
It’s all too easy to get caught up in the fast pace of life, but by planning and reviewing our personal and professional selves we can gain a firmer grasp of the destination we’re heading and enjoy the journey too.
I hope you have a happy and prosperous 2023 and are able to make the most out of your year.