Your life is broken into phases and measured in time increments of days, weeks, months, and years. How do you keep track of your progress on life goals? Do you even have a few life goals set up to work towards? How do you look back and reflect on your goals, not just day-to-day tasks in life?

"Successful people maintain a positive focus in life no matter what is going on around them. They stay focused on their past successes rather than their past failures, and on the next action steps they need to take to get them closer to the fulfillment of their goals rather than all the other distractions that life presents to them." - Jack Canfield

As we approach the end of 2016, we must look back and reflect on the good and bad moments throughout the months. Some may remember the most recent election (no comment), that amazing vacation you took with your significant other, or an unfortunate time you had faced with a family death. No matter what event took place, all of them are part of your life and should be learning experience - positively or negatively.

During the last week of December, every year for the past few years, I’ve sat down at my computer with a cup of coffee to reflect on the closing year. I used to go outside, gaze into the trees, and think of all the moments that happened, positive or negative. Recently, I've created a simple spreadsheet with 3 columns - the 12 months, positive events, and negative events. I would think back to the month or review my calendar from that month, write down the positive moments, but also reflect on the negative moments. What did I learn from it and how could I improve upon it?

Yearly reflection helps set the tone for the upcoming year, but also gives positive reinforcement to all that was accomplished.

To me, yearly reflection helps set the tone for the upcoming year, but also gives positive reinforcement to all that was accomplished. A lot of us tend to focus on the negative scenarios - the what if’s, the judgements, and the minor setbacks, instead of looking at the larger picture scenario. Don’t focus on the negatives, instead put your attention towards the progress and small digestible milestones you’ve hit. You may not have made it 100% to the goal, but accomplishing 65% is still an effort that will lead you to the end goal. That shouldn’t go unnoticed. What did you learn so far what can you take with you into the new year? Please comment below as we could learn from each other.

If you’re having trouble getting started with daily or weekly reflection, here are three things you can do to get started.

  • Write In A Journal. I’ve wrote about this before, but the Five Minute Journal has helped me reflect on my daily intentions. Every day, week or month (you choose your time period), write down 3 awesome and positive things that happened, as well as 3 negative or unfortunate things. The objective is to start and get in the habit of finding time to reflect everyday and documenting it.
  • Experience Nature. Go for a hike, bike ride, or just a simple short walk without technology. Put down your phone, take a deep breath and appreciate the beauty that is right in front of you.
  • Before Bed. Lay in bed before you sleep and stare at the ceiling to think about your day. The short moment of reflection will help you clear your mind and center yourself with your breath. Try not to plan your following day, but instead, reflect backwards to all that got done that day. This positivity will translate into the morning.


Marcus Ohanesian works on the internet, is a music entrepreneur, and a sandwich enthusiast. Find more info here.

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This article is part of our series on the theme of Reflection.

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Our Themes

Distilled from our Manifesto, positive psychology, the science of mindfulness, and ancient philosophic studies we have identified twelve themes core to living both fully and mindfully. We mapped these twelve themes to each of the twelve months in a year. Together with our community we explore one each month.