Why do an annual reflection?

Annual reflection
Pilates Lennox Head

Written by Bridgid Pearse

November 4, 2022

An annual reflection is …

when you take some time to look back on the decisions and choices you have made over the last year and reflect on whether or not they are taking you towards what you truly want.

Does life ever feel like it’s dragging you through a bush backwards? The demands of everyday take up so much time, it’s the best you can do to get through to the end of the week to your well earned glass of chilled bubbly!

Imagine if you knew what your priorities are

Imagine, you said ‘yes’ and ‘no’ to things based on YOUR priorities. The coming of the new year is a great opportunity to take some time to get some clarity on your own priorities. One of the best ways to do this is to look back.

If you are stuck in overwhelm, it can be hard to see what your true priorities are. If you are not feeling inspired by life and like everything is a chore you may not know where to start. That is why looking back is so valuable, your past experiences are a gold mine of information for you.

That’s why you need to do an annual reflection.

What is an annual reflection

An annual reflection

An annual reflection is taking time to take stock of where you are compared to twelve months ago. Acknowledging what has gone well and what hasn’t. What you want more of and what you want less of. This process of pausing to reflect has a lot fo power in it because:

  • It takes the focus off ‘doing” so you can think
  • Remembering where you were at 12 months ago will bring back the actions you took
  • Reflecting on what went well and what didn’t helps make the path ahead clearer
  • You acknowledge the good in life so it can expand!

Looking backwards to look forwards

If you haven’t done an annual reflection before you may it may feel odd to make time to look back. If you are chasing big dreams you want to be looking forward right? But looking back can give us so much information on what we love and what we don’t. Looking back allows us to really celebrate our wins and acknowledge how far we have come. Looking back reminds us that we are in charge of the choices we make and it gives us a chance to make different choices in the future.

Consider your body an equal player in your reflection

Reflecting is a mental exercise but it can also involve you body! Considering your body an equal player in the your reflection will give you more information. Make sure you set up for your reflection in a comfortable space where you can be present with your body. It’s important to be able to move your body as you work through your reflection so you can notice different feelings in your body as you reflect on different aspects of your life.

Reflect on different areas of your life

I forget what movie it is but I remember a story about a mid-life woman moving to a falling down Italian villa and setting about restoring it on her own, with the help of some hunky neighbours of course! Her lesson through the movie is to “Live spherically”, to not focus just one part of life but to tend to all the aspects of life that make it worth living. Work but not just work, family but not just family, health but not just health.

What about goals?

It helps to have an understanding of your goals to help clarify your reflection, although sometimes your reflection can clarify your goals.

For example: I had a goal to have X face to face clients by a certain date. In my quarterly reflection I noticed that I had loved the online teaching I had done. So I shifted my goals to accomodate more of what I was enjoying!

Regular reflection helps you to shift your goals rather than feel bad about not meeting an arbitrary goal that doesn’t really fit what you want anymore.

If goals are a stretch try values

Believe it or not goal setting doesn’t work for everyone. Sometimes the pressure of a goal can feel too much and end up pushing us into overwhelm rather than empowerment. If this feels like you, try zeroing in on values instead.

Articulating what you VALUE in your life is a great ‘North Star’ so you know where you are heading. You can articulate values in lots of different ways. To simplify this process I like to focus on what I value in life and let that be my guide.

I value time with my family, financial independence, connecting with nature, my body wisdom.

These values have underpinned the life I have created with my movement business. Values can provide that high level guidance around where to put your time and energy, what choices are right for you.

It’s good to narrow your values down to 3-5 for now.

Tips for a great annual reflection

Make a special time and place:

To do an annual reflection set aside time when you won’t be disturbed for 40-60 minutes, choose a place that is free from distraction where you can get comfortable. Remember your body is an equal player in your reflection so she needs to be comfortable. Equip yourself with some pens and paper and get writing.

Look back to look forwards:

Begin by remembering your aspirations for 2022. What were your hopes? Your goals? Maybe you wrote them down. If not cast your mind back to recall what was on your mind this time last year, what were you hoping the new year would bring? Get as specific as you can.

November is a great time to reflect:

November really is a great time to reflect on the year. Before the silly season gets in full swing. Making time in November means that come January I already know what I need to be choosing in the new year to take me towards my values and my goals.

Be sure to celebrate the past:

Acknowledging your achievements is one of the most important parts of an annual reflection. Even if what you achieved wasn’t part of your plan. You may have dealt with an unforeseen adversity, you may have suffered a loss. Give yourself credit for what you have weathered as well as what has gone well.

Step through a series of questions:

Ask yourself a series of questions. For example ask; What do I want more of in my life, what do I want less of? Or ask; What makes me genuinely happy? How can I spend more time doing that?

Get some specific actions steps:

Once you worked through your questions be sure to narrow down a few practical steps or actions in a list to guide you into the new year. These actions should focus on the very next steps you need to take to move towards your goals or values.

Schedule in your next reflection:

If you enjoyed the process schedule in a monthly or quarterly reflection to check in on your progress and let that give you more information on what you want more of and what you want less of.

If you are in the Northern Rivers area I am leading an event for Sourdough Business Women on 23 November incorporating movement, guided reflection, healthy food and connection with other local women. Tickets available now.

Pilates Lennox Head

I am Brigid Pearse a Diploma certified Pilates instructor, Pregnancy and Post-natal Exercise Specialist, an ex-dancer and a mum. I run a fully equipped Pilates studio from my home in Lennox Head and I run community Pilates mat classes in Byron Bay, Ballina and online.

Pilates Goonellabah

Thanks for reading!

I am Brigid Pearse, comprehensively certified Pilates teacher, ex-dancer, and mid-life mum. In group classes, workshops and private sessions I help women learn to move well for life.

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