I see many guides around that help you review your year or your life.
Many of them seem self punishing. Many want to invite you to look back and beat yourself up for all the things you didn’t do.
What’s the point of that?
I’d rather use a review that celebrates progress, and connects to your hopes going forward.
So here is the review that I use. I feel uplifted and ready to take on the world when I do it. I hope it has the same impact for you.
It’s a list of 5 great questions for you to work through.
You can focus on life in general or you can hone in on some key areas of life.
Personally, I look at each of these 9 different areas.
Health and fitness (includes emotional wellbeing)
Learning and Growth
Fun & Joy
Where I Live
But you don’t have to be so hard core. You could pick out just a few for reflection.
Your focus is up to you.
Here are the 5 questions for you to reflect on. I find it makes sense for me to write down my answers. But there’s no rule to it. Go with what works for you.
Q1. What is going well?
Even when life is tough, there are things that are going well. We are so hard wired to notice the bad stuff, it is good to switch focus to what is working for us.
We are already making an impact in our own lives. It’s time to log those things so we are aware of them. It’s important to acknowledge our ability and power to make positive change.
We can do that by noticing where we have already created that.
Q2. What else?
This second question is best asked over and over again. Every time you think you’ve run out of things that are going well, take a moment. Sit back and ask “what else?”
Keep asking this until you really have run dry. There’s a lot of juice to be squozen out of the orange that we would miss without asking “what else?”
And then asking it again.
Q3. How did you make these things happen?
Now that you have a list of stuff that is going well for you, check over it.
Realise that you made that happen somehow. Even if someone else did it for you, you inspired them to.
What is your role in ensuring this good stuff happened in your life? What did you do to bring it about?
This will unearth a load of great strategies that are already proven.
These are not strategies that would only work for someone else. They are not strategies that might work.
They are strategies that do work, and that you have already used to make good things happen.
You are now aware of exactly what you did to make the good stuff appear in your life. Don’t be surprised if you think up ways of once again using those strategies to move forward even more.
Q4. What would it look like if things were a little better?
This invites you to think about progress. How would you know that things were a bit better than they are now?
What things would you notice?
Don’t worry too much about how you’d do it. Just check out what would be happening if things had improved some more.
Get a vision of it.
Q5. What do you need to do next?
You now know some valuable information: what is working already, how you made that happen, and what you want next.
You can now connect the dots and think about what your next steps are.
It is likely that some ideas bubbled up for you at each stage of the review already.
So now it’s just a case of scribbling them down.
Other ideas will come up as you reflect back on your answers so far. You’ll start to get the beginnings of an action plan.
And that’s it. Five quick but powerful questions that put you back in the driving seat of your own life.
You can use these questions whenever you like. You don’t have to wait until the end of the year or the end of the month. They are yours now, and you can ask them whenever you need to.Alun Parry is Director of The Liverpool Psychotherapy Practice