Seven Rituals for Reflection
As we transition into a new decade, you may be asking yourself all kinds of questions – how have I grown over the last ten years? How has my workplace grown? What exciting wins have we had on our team – and how can we celebrate and continue those trends in the new decade?
Planning for a new year (let alone a new decade) becomes much easier when you start with reflection. Reflecting on your personal growth, work accomplishments, and other aspects of life can help you to know where you’ve been and where you’re going. Reflection is also a great way to practice gratitude, which, according to Harvard Medical School, has real physical and emotional health benefits.
Even when we know reflection is important, however, it can be difficult to make time for it when work, family, community, and so many other obligations take up our time. The easiest way to build-in reflection time is to tie it to a habit that can be easily and consistently performed, whether it’s a daily, monthly, or yearly practice. These rituals make it much easier to pause, reflect, and regroup so you can learn from your mistakes and celebrate your wins with others.
Several TiER1ers have shared their tips and tricks for starting and maintaining a reflection ritual. Read on for their ideas and suggestions on ways to celebrate your wins and plan for the year ahead!
Andrea Rueve, Account Manager: About nine years ago, a friend gave me a 5-year journal as a birthday gift. Each day, I write one entry (something I’m thankful for, happy about, something funny that happened that day, or anything memorable). I keep my first 5-year journal on my nightstand and continue to write in my second 5-year journal to this day. I love looking back at my entries from the first journal (some college years are included in that one) to see what I was grateful for then vs. now … some stuff is the same, and some is very different. It takes less than a minute to complete so it makes it an easy habit to keep up with.
Sharon Boller, Managing Director: As a daily practice, I reflect on what I’m grateful for from the past day. I usually have at least three items, but sometimes as many as seven.
Denianne Gardner, Marketing Manager: Reflection is one area where I find the most value in using social media. Almost every day, the first thing I do is review the “memories” section on Facebook. Looking back at my “on this day” posts has shown me some trends in my life that I wouldn’t have been aware of otherwise.
For example, the number of times a particular friend and I post “I miss you” practically jumped off the screen when looking back at previous posts. Clearly, more effort is needed for us to connect in person. My journey as a mother has also been chronicled better on Facebook than in any scrapbook. I’ve also noticed that my sense of humor seems to have taken a hit, but the things I’ve been posting in recent years seem a bit more meaningful. This habit inspires me to post more often, for the benefit of future Denianne.
Weekly or Monthly Reminders
Richard Corder, Managing Director of TiER1 Healthcare: Once a week, I commit to writing and sending at least one hand-written (old-school!) thank you note. It reminds me to pause and reflect on who I am grateful for and how they have impacted my week. The note is an intentional way to get specific about something the person did, said, or the way they made me feel that made a difference.
I love it because it’s a reminder that I have much to be grateful for and am surrounded by some remarkable, loving, giving people that make a difference in the lives of others.
Sharon Boller: Periodically, I use the GLAD format to reflect; it helps me record what I am most grateful for, what I’ve learned, what I’ve accomplished (small things count!), and what’s delighted me. I’ve invited people to do this on a company level at holiday gatherings or all-company meetings. In the past, we’ve used butcher block paper to make a timeline and post things by quarter.
Your Year in Review
Jeremy Goebel, Learning Consultant: Once a year, my wife and I have a coffee date where we write 10 things we want to be thankful for one year from today. We each write an independent list, and then discuss and gather it into one list of hopes for the year ahead.
We also review what we wrote in the previous year’s list. Sometimes we laugh at what we wrote down – life’s curveballs can totally derail what we were hoping for – but other times we’re amazed at what actually has happened that goes above and beyond our original expectations. This ritual is fun, meaningful, and helps us celebrate what’s happened. It also helps to inform and shape our goals for the upcoming year. Give it a try – I guarantee you’ll be thankful you did when you review your original list a year later.
Nick Pineda, Director of Innovation: My wife and I keep a jar in our living room. Whenever we have a special moment of joy during our week, we write the moment on a Post-It, fold it up, write the date on it, and put it in the jar. At the end of the year, we celebrate by emptying the jar and reading all of our little collected moments.
Rita Mann, Change and Communication Strategist: In December, I pull out a large sketch pad (the old-fashioned kind) and draw my goals for the coming year. It’s usually pictorial with copy. I don’t look at it very often throughout the year, but I’m usually delighted at the year’s end by how much has transpired, begun, or been accomplished. It’s a practice I’ve had for decades!
Pick the Practice That’s Right For You
As you can see, there are so many ways to build reflection into your life, from writing something small down every day to once-a-year review and planning sessions. The trick? Pick a reflection practice that fits in with your personality and authentic style. The habit shouldn’t feel laborious or hard to keep up with – instead, it should inspire excitement as it allows you to both reminisce and dream big for the future. Whatever your reflection practice, TiER1 wishes you luck as you take on the decade ahead!