Before we look forward, it pays to look back.
December is typically a time when we look ourselves in the mirror and say, “Something has to change.” Whether it’s who we are financially, physically, creatively, relationally, or otherwise, we choose to be and become someone else by the next year’s end. My hesitancy in doing so again this year is that I don’t want to make new goals based on the old me.
“I don’t want to make new goals based on the old me.”Dr. Asha
If we rush to make resolutions for the next year without pausing to reflect on the previous year, where do we leave space to learn from, celebrate, and build on who we’ve become over the past 12 months? Would the resulting resolutions spawn from the growth of who we are right now? Or would they instead reflect regret over who we promised to become in January, but did not quite accomplish? That’s why I am starting the next decade with reflection.
Reflection offers a different point of view. We use one visual reference to focus on another. Reflection is the advantage of looking at both what is before you and what is behind you in the same moment. It is an appreciation of who you were, who you are, and who you have the potential to become. Proper reflection keeps you from going too fast or too slow. It puts you in step with the Spirit (Galatians 5:16-26) and keeps your growth on pace.
Do you remember those home-made growth charts from when you were a kid? If your parents didn’t keep one, maybe you saw them in the movies? Every year, the child would stand against the same place on the same wall, and the parent would place a mark over the child’s tallest point to keep track of his/her growth. Reflection is like that. It’s your growth chart for life.
“Reflection is your growth chart for life.”Dr. Asha
Through reflection, we notice our growth spurts. These are areas that progressed more quickly than expected. Maybe 2019 was the year you dropped jealousy off at the door. Or perhaps it’s the year you appreciated your temple and finally got some rest!
Through reflection, we appreciate steady, progressive growth. This is growth that is naturally expected through the passing of time. For me, I’d put my trust in God here. 2019 was a booming year for my businesses, but it also came with a lot of “growing pains” along the way. My trust in God was repeatedly pushed throughout the year to rise to the occasion. I came to appreciate letters from Paul (especially in Philippians). The lessons I learned evolved into a speaking series, a conference, and a book on how to beat burnout and live in overflow.
Through reflection, we can identify lack of growth, discuss potential causes, and formulate solutions to get back on track. This could be where you pull out resolutions from past years and notice that you still have that smoking, sugar, over-spending, tardiness, or other habit that you don’t prefer. What mindset is keeping you stuck in these behaviors? What would it realistically take for you to get out?
Through reflection, we notice growth regression. Geriatric physicians and chiropractors can tell us that as we age, we tend to lose the fight with gravity. Unless we are intentional about strengthening and stabilizing our postural muscles, we may take on a slouch or a hump in the mid-back. When you chart your growth over time, it will appear that your highest measures have reverted. I think many can relate to this in their spiritual self. We may have months or even years when we are all about living our values or deepening our relationship with God. Then, whether it be challenges, unforeseen circumstances, or just time itself, we begin to fall off. Maybe your regression is your mental health, intellectual development, or pursuit of your dreams? Whatever it is, when we see regression, it’s a sign that we should revisit our reversions and adjust our plan of action.
More reflection means more opportunities to honestly assess our growth. Investing time in reflection is paramount to becoming the fullest expression of your purpose. Before you print out the final draft of your resolutions, I challenge you to make a growth chart. Reflect on your growth spurts, steady growth, lack of growth, and growth regressions. Genuinely ask yourself, “Who am I?” and build resolutions to help that person live life abundantly.
“Investing time in reflection is paramount to becoming the fullest expression of your purpose.”Dr. Asha
Our teams at Temple Fit Co. and Dr. Asha did some reflecting as well. We assembled the nearly 20 end of year/new year’s newspaper articles and blogs our teams have ever written. Then we narrowed them down to the these purpose-steering five. Have a truly happy and healthy new year:
- Make your mentor wishlist with magazine editor Kimi Johnson (published 2019).
- Stop wasting time waiting for the perfect time with Dr. Asha, contributing writer to the Tallahassee Democrat newspaper (published 2019).
- Participate in your purpose with former intern and recent college graduate Taylor Melville (published 2018).
- Transition from a resolution to a way of life with the Temple Fit Co. Wellness Agency (published 2017).
- Make a resolution you can keep with Dr. Asha, contributing writer to the Tallahassee Democrat newspaper (published 2014).