Around this time every year I post a series of questions I’ve used to process and look forward. I love this time because it helps me make sense of the year and enter into the next with renewed perspective and hope for what’s ahead. I didn’t do much reflection this year; to be honest, I’m really ready to move on. So I’m doing something a bit different for my year end post. I hope you’ll join me!
Rather than reflecting on lessons learned, I decided to reflect on my relationships. Who did I learn from? Who did I feel supported and loved by? Who made a lasting impact on my life? As I started listing people, I realized I did learn a lot this year, and I’m more thankful than ever for the people in my life. My biggest takeaway from 2018 is that I am rich in relationship; I’ve got some really great people in my life. And I want to be that kind of friend to others, too! Keep reading for some questions to help you reflect on your relationships with a few challenges to begin your new year.
For each of the questions below, write the first name that comes to mind and then identify why you thought of them.
Who supported my dreams this year? How?
Who challenged me this year? How?
Who comforted me in hard times this year? How?
Who did I feel most encouraged by this year? How?
Who’s words stuck with me most this year? What were they?
Next, I want you to list each of your family members, mentors, and few friends. Keep your list under 10, unless you’re motivated to keep going! Now put a word or phrase next to each name. What did your Mom teach you this year? Your brother? Your best friend from home? See below for an example.
From my Mom, I learned about letting go.
From my Dad, I learned about embracing internal work.
From my brother, I learned about moving forward with life, no matter how many challenges life throws your way.
From my sister, I learned about the power of ownership and both repentance and forgiveness. And I learned about the mercy of God.
From my Grandmother, I learned about giving thanks.
From my friend Claire, I learned about comforting and mourning with others.
From my friend Tiera, I learned about embracing the gift of suffering.
From my friend Kristi, I learned about the transformation that takes place in risking to love.
There are so many others I have learned from, but this list should get you started.
Let’s flip this a bit. Think about the people in your life that YOU can support this next year. Look back to the questions in step one.
Who’s dreams can you support this year?
Who can you challenge this year?
Who can you comfort in hard times this year?
Who can you consistently encourage this year?
What words can you share with someone who is experiencing something you’ve dealt with this year?
Make a commitment to keep this list in front of you throughout the year. And make plans to follow through on your intentions! HOW and WHEN will you support each of these people this year?
Let’s take a brief moment to pause to see if anyone else comes to mind. Is there someone who has been on your heart recently? Maybe someone you’ve been meaning to connect with?
My challenge to you would be to identify relationships in different spheres of your life. Choose someone from your workplace, your community group, church, yoga studio, and neighborhood. Try to think about people who are different than you in some way. Can you initiate with someone of a different race, background, interest, or socio-economic status?
Who do you feel called to invest in relationally?
At your work?
In your neighborhood?
In your community group or church?
At your health club or fitness studio?
Plan to initiate a coffee date or dinner with the person(s) you identified in this step. Or maybe start small with a phone call, a quick hello at the gym, or a direct message through Instagram. Identify your plan of action next to each name on your list.
Finally, I want to invite you thank your people! Can you send a letter or an email to the friends and family you learned this year? Can you thank them in person the next time you see them?
The older I get the more I realize how important relationships really are. Join me in thanking the people who make our lives better and looking forward to investing in others. Here’s to a new year full of rich relationship and community!