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2018: A life In Review

Why it’s worth looking back if you want to move forward…

By Jumol Royes

I’ve heard it said that every moment wasted looking back keeps us from moving forward.

Personally, I find this saying to be a bit presumptuous. It implies that there is no actual value in applying a retrospective lens to our lives, and that taking stock of what worked or didn’t work in the past somehow keeps us stuck and prevents us from making real progress.

Whether I’m reflecting on my own personal growth or taking cues from the journeys of people who are much wiser than I am, I can’t help but think that looking back and moving forward are two sides of the same coin. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not suggesting we get mired in the past mulling over an endless list of shoulda-coulda-wouldas, but if we don’t look back over our lives every now and then, chances are we won’t learn the lessons and we’ll continue to repeat the same mistakes over and over again.

Think of it this way: Would you drive a car without a rearview mirror?

There’s no better time to do a review of your life than right now when one year is ending and a new one is set to begin. My soul sibling Jordan Bach, life coach and lover of all things spiritual, came up with this simple yet powerful three-step process for taking inventory of your life over the past year so you can set yourself up for success in the year ahead. It helps you see what’s been draining you and holding you back, which then frees you up to focus your energy on what’s working and what you need to do more of so you can shine bigger and brighter in the coming year. I hope it serves you well.

What didn’t work?
Jordan says the first step is to “list what didn’t work well in your personal and professional life. Which investments of your time, energy and money provided little to zero worthwhile return on that investment? Which things, people, place and activities drained you of energy or left you feeling stuck?” My list includes spending too much time thinking (or overthinking) and not enough time feeling, saying yes when I really wanted to say no and holding on when it would have been better to let go. What’s on your list?

What worked?
Now on to step number two. As Jordan puts it, this is where you “list what did work well in your personal and professional life. Which investments of your time, energy and money provided a worthwhile return on that investment? Which things, people, place and activities enriched your life or moved you forward?” For me, it was grounding myself through guided mindfulness meditations, doing pushups in the morning, writing more and often and giving myself permission to just be me. What worked for you this year?

How will you do more of what works and less of what doesn’t?
Armed with clues on how to move your life forward, the final step is where you get specific about creating the life you want. “The previous two lists were about the what– now write down how you’re going to put your new awareness into action,” says Jordan. Here are a few of my personal examples: Practise what you preach. Be spontaneous, take more risks and try at least one new thing each day. Establish a better bedtime routine; put away the phone 30 to 60 minutes before bed. Stay connected to family, friends and community…especially during those times when you don’t feel like it. What new actions will you take in the coming year?

With your year-end inventory complete, you’re ready to make 2019 your best year yet. Wishing you nothing but good vibes.

JUMOL ROYES is a Toronto-based writer/PR & communications strategist with a keen interest in personal development and transformation. Follow him on Twitter @Jumol.

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