As another year draws to a close, it's easy to pop your Out of Office on & jump straight into holiday mode, & then into a New Year. However, there's benefits to stopping & reflecting on the year that was, before we sign out completely.
We spoke to our lovely client, Amelia Kruse - Executive Leadership Coach, who shared her insights with us about the best way to round out a year.
Why is it important to stop and reflect when a year ends?
I’d say it’s important to stop & reflect as often as possible! Reflection is one of the simplest & most powerful tools for self care, management & growth. If you don’t stop & reflect on your thoughts, feelings, choices & behaviours you are losing the opportunity to learn & grow. My clients who develop a regular reflection practice (& by that I mean at least once a day) are the ones who see significant positive changes in their lives. As extreme as it sounds, I recommend people check in on themselves as often as they check their phones. This way it becomes an ingrained & automatic habit that allows you to fully live a life of authenticity & meaningful impact.
But yes, doing a more pronounced reflection at the end of every year is a great way to look back on all that you have learnt, experienced & accomplished so you can feel ready to turn your attention to the new year & consider what intentions & goals you would like to set. I find this kind of reflection both healing & motivational & that it naturally fits with the end of the year because people are usually feeling the most reflective at this time.
What do you recommend people do before the end of 2023, to start 2024 fresh?
Giving yourself permission to do a reflection exercise is the first step! I obviously think this is done best by talking it through with a trusted person who is a good listener & question asker but it can also be just as powerful to do it on your own. Dedicate at least half an hour to this experience & write it all down. You don’t necessarily need distinct goals for the next year but I do recommend creating intentions & even a keyword or keyphrase you would like to use to give the next year direction.
I also recommend people try & carve out a bit of alone time before New Years to practice gratitude. This is a busy & stressful time for most & New Years Eve interestingly can be a bit of a downer for people who haven’t yet sought closure for the year & therefore aren’t ready to start the new year afresh. Take yourself out on a date whether it’s a run or a walk, a massage or a pedicure or just consciously choosing to sit quietly in a favourite place listening to your favourite music. Think of the things you are most grateful for & let anything that is holding you back or bringing you down go as best as possible.
& finally, do one simple thing that naturally brings you joy (for me that would be having a dance party with my kids) & vow to do this as often as possible in the new year.
What are your thoughts on New Years resolutions? How do you like to approach them?
To me they are a little old fashioned (sorry Mum!) & not very productive! When we set a resolution it tends to feel like we are being chastised by a parent & that we’ll get in trouble if we don’t follow through. Setting intentions isn’t all that different technically but the act has a completely different energy & tone to it.
To ‘resolve’ means to ‘settle or find a solution to a problem or contentious matter’. To me that feels like you are trying to motivate yourself through fear, like if you don’t resolve this you are going to be in trouble. & this kind of motivation usually leads to procrastination. But to ‘intend’ means to ‘design or destine something for a particular purpose’. Doesn’t that sound a lot more uplifting? By setting intentions you are motivating yourself through your inherent aspirations & this is much more likely to yield results.