Listen, whether or not 2018 worked in your favor, now’s the time to take a beat, look back at all the ups, downs, and weird in-betweens that made up the last 12 months of your life—and figure out what you want out of 2019.
Yep, it’s goal setting time. And don’t phone it in this year. You know what we’re talking about. If you want to make real goals with real potential, you need to think long and hard about where you came from and where you’re going.
“There’s a lot of clarity that comes in self reflection,” Rachel Gersten, a therapist and wellness coach with Viva Wellness says. “You aren’t the same person you are now than you were in early 2018. So it’s key to spend some time with yourself before just making plans to achieve things that you may not feel strongly about.”
Here are 10 big questions everyone should reflect on before mapping out their goals for 2019.
First and foremost, give yourself some credit. No, really. You definitely did some great things this year. Think back to all your accomplishments and wins this year and focus in on the one you’re most proud of.
What is it about that moment that’s making you light up? Maybe it’s how you nailed that presentation or how you finally decided to start a side hustle? Or, perhaps, you finally made a dent in those student loans. Whatever it is—no matter how big or small the accomplishment—try to figure out ~why that moment in particular felt so rewarding.
Now, try to recall a project that got your creative juices flowing. Knowing what makes you creative is pretty much a superpower. Creativity can help you come up with fresh ideas, open up your mind, and inspire you to learn.
Figuring out what sparks your imagination and creativity can help you determine what you’re passionate and excited about, so you can add more of that good stuff to your plate in 2019.
“Reflecting on what brought about that feeling can give you ideas for how to create an environment that fosters your best self,” Gersten says.
Most mistakes aren’t something to beat yourself up over. Mistakes are actually a good thing; otherwise, how would we grow? “It’s okay to make mistakes, but if it’s something you’d rather not repeat again, looking back to reflect on the circumstances that landed you in the unpleasant situation can help you avoid making that mistake again,” Gersten says.
Push your shame to the side and think about your biggest fuck up this year. Why do you think things went sour? And, more importantly, what did you learn from it? Mistakes = lessons and lessons = growth and growth = doing better! Get it?
Feeling stuck can be a very scary and terrifying experience. The truth of the matter, though, is that we all feel a bit stuck every once in a while—with our job, relationships, or with life in general.
Being stuck is a pretty good sign it’s time to change something in your life. So key in on what made you feel glued in place and come up with a plan to shake it off and move forward.
No matter how full-on life gets, it’s important to always, always give yourself the time and space to relax and recoup. Self-care is just as important to your goals as hustling is.
If you totally failed at caring for yourself this year, promise yourself right now that you’ll do a better job in 2019. Try to set aside a few minutes everyday that are entirely, purely, and perfectly for yourself.
Go to yoga, take a solo vacation, binge watch The Good Place, space out at the wall for 10 minutes. Do something, anything, to give your mind a break and recharge.
Ever hear the saying, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”? It turns out that who choose you hang out with is a pretty big deal.
Surrounding yourself with inspiring people is going to push you to take things up a notch. So, think of one person you met this year that got you glowing and give them a call. Because when it comes to success and happiness, experts say that your friends are just as important as your skills and experiences.
This question is, arguably, the toughest one. Chances are you’re a different version of yourself today than you were at this point last year. But, how can you even measure that? “There’s not one specific measurement or scale to measure [change], but looking at how you spend your time, energy, and money now compared to the beginning of the year is a good way to tell,” Gersten says.
And according to Gersten, taking some time to think about those differences can help you understand where your passions and priorities might lie now compared to the past.
Piano. Did we all say piano? Why is piano so hard! But, seriously, there’s a reason they say that knowledge is power. According to NPR, learning a new skill can help keep your mind and brain sharp. In fact, practicing a new skill can literally change your brain chemistry for the better. The more you learn, the denser the white matter (aka myelin) in your brain becomes, which can help improve your performance on a variety of tasks.
Learn to code, pick up photography, take a screenwriting class. Hell, learn how to make meatloaf. Whatever! Pick one skill you want to hone this year and go for it.
It’s impossible to be completely present if you’re constantly doubting and questioning yourself. Unfortunately, so many of us get wrapped up in a flurry of self doubt from time to time. And that’s OK.
But if this sounds like you, it’s time to do away with all the negative self talk and learn to love yourself, flaws and all. When you value yourself and your ideas, the more confident, resilient, secure, and open-minded you’ll be, according to the Mayo Clinic.
The biggest of the big questions. If you could see a quick clip of what your life may be like at the end of 2019, what would absolutely thrill you?
Got it? Great. Now start working toward that. Your dreams are more in reach than you may think. Changing habits or routines can feel a lot more manageable if you take it one step at a time, day by day, Gersten believes. Smaller steps can make a long-term goal that much more doable over time.
“It’s so rare that people ever pause and reflect, and a lot of insight does come from that,” says Gersten. “You can understand how you feel about something that’s happened in the past in a way that you might not be able to when it’s happening, as well as an understanding of how you’ve been altered and impacted by your experiences.”
Lastly, whatever you do, make goals that are important to you, not to somebody else. You’re in charge of your own future.