Year-end reflections that everyone can get into this season
As the clock ticks towards the end of 2017, many people can’t help but reminisce about what a year it was. And some may ponder what they’ve missed out on or wished they made more time for in these past 12 months. Whether the year has been smooth as silk or full of hiccups like a new driver behind the wheel of a manual car, it's a good time of year to set aside some time for a year-end reflection.
The benefits of self-reflection go beyond an evaluation of the year; it forces you to acknowledge and recognize any shortcomings from the past year and make new attainable goals for the coming year. But most importantly, end-of-year reflections offer a chance to appreciate life as it happened, for better or for worse, and look ahead to a new year.
Here at the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), we encourage the public to seek out opportunities to enjoy nature on a regular basis. Did you wish you traded more screen time for walks in the outdoors? Have you had the chance to visit one of NCC's Nature Destinations this year? If not, will you make it a goal to see at least one in the near future? If you answered yes to any of these, we’ve prepared a set of exercises to help you reflect, with an activity sheet to allow for a year-over-year comparison.
To take part, I encourage you to set aside some time in your calendar and find a quiet, comfortable space where you’ll be free of interruptions. Once you’re done with the exercises, post your responses somewhere prominent in your home, so you can revisit them in a year! You may even want to share your reflections and commitments with family and friends and make this a group activity.
Here are some ideas that may help you with your year-end reflection:
What’s showing on social?
Go through your photos on your phone or social media accounts; what are they predominantly showing? Are your snapshots mostly of people, landscapes, or both? Is there more concrete than green in the background? Scrolling through your photo album is an easy way to jog memories of past events that may have been a missed opportunity for reflection.
Pick up a pen and write
Writing down your experiences is shown to help with memory retention. And it’s more than just a record of information. Describe that feeling when you’re unplugged and deep into wooded trails, or recall the novelty of seeing an animal flit about in the bushes. When you practice journaling, you can look back at your lettering and strokes to get a snapshot of your mood and tone that were captured in that moment. For those who keep an online journal, you may even opt to attach pictures or voice recordings to the entry, and have the option to share it with the online world.
Meet up with people
Do you have an old friend who you just can’t find the time meet up with anymore? Make an effort to put yourself in the same room with them this season. Instead of meeting at a coffee shop, why not head out to a park, or enjoy an afternoon of outdoor ice skating? Talking face-to-face helps revive old experiences; you may even discover a forgotten pastime or memory that your friend firmly remembers.
With that all said and done, we hope this year has been a year of learning and growth for you.