5 Tips to Help You Productively Reflect on This Year

I didn't "nail'" 2020 — and that's OK.

Unless you are a Superman or Superwoman, my guess is that you may not feel you “nailed it” in 2020. Neither did I. Well, we just entered end of year and it’s in our nature to look back, review and evaluate. I have noticed that my clients experience a mix of emotions which appear when we look back and talk about work and life this year. Reflecting on this year can help us stay constructive and move forward. Nothing about our life in 2020 was normal. Covid has made us live and work in a very different way and the standard benchmark doesn’t apply here.

Whether it is homeschooling, quarantine, working from your kitchen table, juggling two kids and deadlines, relationship issues while being together 24/7, uncertainty about health, money, relatives — you name it. You can look at your life 2020 only taking into account the magnitude of that challenge. Here are five questions to reflect on as we head into 2021 and look back on 2020:

1. Look back and ask yourself ‘Did I do my best?’ 

Rather than trying to compare yourself to typical standards or others, think about your best, given your individual circumstances. Remember that today best will look different than yesterday best. This will help you gain perspective and reframe how you look at your ‘performance’. You were faced with pandemic. You did your best. Period.

2. Look back and ask yourself ‘How much did I contribute?’

Rather than focusing on achievements, try looking at your contribution. This should be applicable in a ‘normal’ year as well, but in 2020 it has become even more useful. A lot of our work and life is about serving others and solving problems, completing projects etc. So this year we contributed, helped each other, lifted each other, survived and learnt a lot of things. Your contribution matters, to you and others. Own it.

3. Look back and ask yourself ‘What did I do well?’

Tough one, as we like to focus on the negatives. Find things you did well. Some of them simple, some of them more complex. All of them matter. Just be honest and don’t be shy. Write them down, see them, remember them, acknowledge them.

4. Look back and ask yourself ‘What would I do differently?’

Just don’t go into overdrive finding mistakes here. Easier said than done, right? Here, you are looking for the learning, for things you would do differently, if that’s applicable. There might be none, and that’s great. But if you see some things, drag them out into the light, as they will help you navigate difficulties in the future.

5. Look back and ask yourself ‘What are my takeawayslearningsA-Ha moments?’

I am sure there will be plenty. Again, small and not so small. It makes the 2020 experience meaningful in a personal way. Even faced with terrible life experiences, we grow, learn and become different. Look, even the fact that you learnt so much about pandemic, vaccines and the mysterious R number is something.

How do you want to approach your 2020 lookback, if at all?

This post appeared first on my LinkedIn profile on 3 December.

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