What a year! 2017 was an exciting one for us, it’s the year we finally got MARRIED, traveled to some fun places together, Chas started his first job, and I’m one semester away from being done with school forever!
Reflecting is something I have never been very good at. However, Chas is! So that means I am now too since we’re one, right? He’s been so great at helping me learn how to reflect and leading me in areas that I can bloom and grow in (wink) as well as set goals for a new year.
We decided to take a week getaway to the mountains and reflect on the last twelve months and rest up before we say goodbye to 2017 and welcome 2018 with a fresh perspective and a renewed mind.
I wanted to share some tips for reflecting on the year that Chas shared with me so that we can all go into 2018 ready to live life purposefully and to the fullest!
Before you start to reflect consider the areas in your life that you want to improve. In my own life, the main categories I wanted to focus on this year were my walk with the Lord, my marriage, my physical well-being (including exercise, eating, and resting), nurturing my relationships and friendships, my last semester of school, and my blog.
Chas suggested 4 simple steps to help start the reflection process. First, think of categories or areas in your life that are most important to you and where you want to strive to do better in. Next, ask yourself what went well in that area this past year and what didn’t go so well, which will then help you to create a few goals per category. Once you set all of your goals, create a proposed plan of initiatives to accomplish those goals. For each goal ask yourself what is the overarching goal you would like to achieve in 2018? What can you do each month / week / day to help reach that goal?
Here are a few examples from the areas I want to focus on in 2018 and how I’ve been reflecting on them this past week.
Reflecting on my walk with the Lord is the most important because without Him leading me, I lack direction.
- Was I in the Word daily?
- How was my prayer life?
- Could I be journaling more?
- How did I do sharing my faith with others?
- Spending more time in my quiet times
- Being more specific in my prayer life
- Reading through my journal more to see how the Lord answered those specific prayers
- Waking up 15 minutes earlier
- Spending my morning drives to school in prayer or listening to a podcast
- Putting away my phone at night and journaling instead of mindlessly scrolling (i’m guilty of this!)
Next to my relationship with the Lord, my relationship with my husband is most important and one I want to constantly be improving in. We both learned a lot during our season of engagement and are thankful for our pre-marital class, Merge (if you live in the Dallas area and are seriously dating or engaged I could not recommend this class enough!) that helped us talk through every topic in depth and set a strong foundation for our marriage.
- What are some ways my spouse felt loved by me?
- How can I best help and support my spouse?
- How did I intentionally pray for him?
- What areas do I need to give up control and let him lead?
- Ask more intentional questions during date nights
- Designated quality time (without phones!)
- Pray together more
- Talk through expectations (because most of our disagreements stem from unmet expectations)
- Clean up after myself
- Write down questions on my phone when I think of them that I want to ask Chas on date nights
- Journal my prayers for our marriage and watch the Lord answer them
Taking care of my body and promoting wellness is another area I want to improve in including sleeping habits, fitness, and my diet.
- What were the positives and negatives of my sleep, exercise, and eating habits?
- What do I want to do in 2018 to be healthier and have more energy?
- Get 8 hours of sleep
- Drink more water
- Exercise more with Chas
- Eat cleaner
- Plan times when I’m going to exercise – more likely to do it if it’s written down
- Diffuse oils before bed – I’m a big fan of essential oils and my mom got me my own starter kit and a diffuser for Christmas so I’m excited to start using them instead of stealing all of hers!
- Use a fun water bottle (I always drink more when I like the water bottle I’m using)
Investing more in my relationships whether it’s with my family members or friends is something I want to strengthen in 2018.
- How often did I communicate with my long distance friends this past year?
- What are ways I can foster those friendships while being far away?
- Be better at keeping up with long distance friendships – most of my bridesmaids now all live scattered throughout Texas and other states so I want to continue to still pursue those friendships.
- Call a friend on the way home from school
- Send encouraging snail mail notes to friends throughout the month (who doesn’t love to get a hand-written letter every once in a while?!)
- Ask how you can be praying for family member/friend.
2018 will be the year I finish school FOR.EV.ER. (at least I hope). I start my last semester of dental hygiene school in January and I want to finish strong!
- What study habits helped me succeed? What didn’t?
- What time waster often got in the way of my study time?
- PASS! (you think I’m joking, but really)
- Don’t wait until the day before a test to start studying (only leads to anxiety and lack of sleep)
- Be productive and efficient with my time
- More study dates with the SMU library
This category could be a hobby you enjoy, small business you’e started, sport you play, or organization you’re involved in and how you want to foster it to be something you enjoy more and improve in.
- What content performed well? What didn’t?
- What strategies will I try to implement in the new year?
- New diverse content
- New growth
- Nurture relationships with current readers
- Engage with readers
- Facilitate more giveaways of things I’m loving
- Make an editorial calendar and stick to it
I hope this helps give you some ideas and encourages you to reflect and shine light on areas you’re blooming in and areas you can start growing in as you enter 2018! Happy New Year! Xx