December: Reflection

Hi and welcome to this very last chapter of 2018!

I can’t believe how quickly this year went and how much has happened.
During the last years, which have been very exciting and diverse for me, I have found it super useful to regularly reflect on what has changed in order to understand how much of an impact I have on what happens to me.

Foundational to this, research has shown that people who regularly reflect on their lives have a better understanding of their own visions and become more proactive in working towards their dreams. Reflection on the past helps us to adjust our behavior to become a more coherent version of ourselves. But how do we reflect “correctly”?

Gibbs’ Reflective Cycle

Based on one of the most famous models on reflection, I want to give you an inspiration on how you can use this model for an annual reflection.
Gibbs conceptualization of reflection consists of six stages: Description (what happened?), feelings (what were you thinking or feeling?), evaluation (what was good/bad about the situation?), analysis (what sense can you make of this situation?), conclusion (what else could you have done?) and action plan (if the situation arose again, what would you do?). In general, you can apply this every month, or you can pick a few main topics for the whole year.

At the end of every year, I take a moment and write down about the ideal version of the next year. I focus on my living situation, relationships, my professional life, hobbies/passions, and nutrition because I have found that these are the topics that decide about my wellbeing. Similarly, I think about how these topics have developed in the past year. I want to give you an example:

Living situation

  1. Description: The first few months of this year I lived in London to finish the last modules of my Masters, then I came back to Germany in June, lived with my parents over summer and went traveling and, finally, moved to Hamburg in August.
  2. Feelings/thoughts: I decided to leave London after the course, and I was always concerned about where to live afterward. I wanted to be really conscious about my decision, so I spent a lot of time thinking about it and was actually coached on where I want to live in one of our lectures. I was also kind of worried about how living with my parents would be after 5 years of living far away.
  3. Evaluation: In the end, I had goods and bads at every place but it always felt like the right decision in retrospective.
  4. Analysis: I think what I mainly learned from this process, that it does not really matter where you live as long as you can do all the things you love and find a place to go to that makes you happy. In London, I never felt fully settled, because I missed a few things that matter to me, such as not enough nature, no opportunity to go swimming closely. I also lived with people I did not get along with very well.
    In my hometown and Hamburg, though, I was able to build up a life that resonates with me and create an environment that makes me flourish (own furniture, important kitchen utensils, enough nature/opportunities to be outside) which mainly ensured that I feel homey.
  5. Conclusion: Instead of worrying too much if a certain place will be the right decision, I will focus on whether it offers me enough of what matters to me and what I need to do to have it in my daily life.
  6. Action Plan: So for the next time, I’ll be in such a situation, I will focus more on integrating the things that are important to me and ensure having them in my life regularly. I will ensure having enough nature around, a balcony or terrace, good places to walk close to me, a nice little kitchen, and my own bed 🙂

Normally, I go through the same process for all the topics that I’ve mentioned above. By this, I really make sense of my life and learn from the past for the future. I believe that only when we take the time to reflect on our actions, we are able to live our personal best life.

Which aspects of your daily life are important to you that make up for a good life?
I can highly recommend taking the time to reflect.

I hope you enjoyed the activities and they could help you to go through this year with a little more mindfulness, gratitude, and happiness. Be prepared for a wonderful 2019!

All the best ♥,

Kira

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