2018 Reflections

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!

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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.

Step One:

For each of the questions below, write the first name that comes to mind and then identify why you thought of them.

  1. Who supported my dreams this year? How?

  2. Who challenged me this year? How?

  3. Who comforted me in hard times this year? How?

  4. Who did I feel most encouraged by this year? How?

  5. Who’s words stuck with me most this year? What were they?

Step Two:

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.

Step Three:

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.

  1. Who’s dreams can you support this year?

  2. Who can you challenge this year?

  3. Who can you comfort in hard times this year?

  4. Who can you consistently encourage this year?

  5. 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?

Step Four:

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?

  1. Who do you feel called to invest in relationally?

    1. At your work?

    2. In your neighborhood?

    3. In your community group or church?

    4. 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.

Step Five:

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!

Living Integrated: Questions for the New Year

2017 was a big year for me. I turned 26, completed my first certification at the Cultural Intelligence Center, went to Peru (twice) then returned for the summer, moved to LA, started a new job, became a student again, passed my first quarter at Fuller Seminary, and am an official California resident (as of last week). 

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I went into the new year thinking it was to be my year. And it was in some ways. But in other ways, it wasn't. There were plenty of beautiful moments and dark ones too. I think life is about string all those moments together, integrating all the pieces - both the internal and external. 

This theme of integration is on my mind exiting 2017 and entering 2018. My hope is that these questions help you reflect on all the pieces of the last year - the good, bad, internal, and external. I invite you to look at the full picture of 2017 instead of focusing on one loss, disappointment, or missed goal. That's the temptation, right? To bring whatever pain, failure or disappointment into the new year. But that wouldn't be the whole story, would it? Join me as I look back and then ahead, acknowledging each piece of myself with kindness and grace. 

LOOKING BACK

1. Best moments of 2017 - list your top three to five in no particular order.

2. Can you identify the parts of yourself you gave the most attention? Maybe it was your body, your emotions, your career, ect. 

3. What about the parts of yourself you gave the least attention?

4. What about 2017 was worth waiting for?

5. What do you need to grief about 2017? Perhaps there is a disappointment, loss, or painful event you experienced that you need to recognize. Grieving is powerful, and without this step, it's often impossible to move on. 

6. What do you need to celebrate about 2017? Think about something you accomplished, learned or fought for. Maybe it's one thing you did really well this year - something you really knocked out of the park or invested your all in. Be kind to yourself and pause for a moment to soak it in. You did that. And that's worth celebrating. 

7. How did you honor your body in 2017?

8`. How did you honor your soul?

9. What about your mind?

10. Your heart?

11. Who stood by you in 2017? In other words, who did you feel supported or loved by this year?

12. Have you thanked them? If not, send them a quick text, or better yet, write them a note. I bet it will do you both some good. 

Looking back, 2017 was made up of both loss and great joy. That's usually how it goes, right? Though there may be pain or disappointment, there is always light and life and hope for what's ahead. Now start looking ahead to the new year, anticipating all it could be and more. 

LOOKING AHEAD

1. What are you bringing to the table in 2018? How are you different than the year before?

2. What fears are you bringing into 2018? Are you afraid of failing, not meeting your goals again? Maybe you're afraid of getting close to someone in fear of disappointment. Take a moment to identify any fears you're carrying. The more you shed light on fear, the more you have the power to overcome it. 

3. What do you want to be more of in 2018? Try to summarize your answer into a short sentence or phrase, something you can remember easily. Consider making this one of your mantras entering the new year.

4. Can you identify what you’re most hopeful for in 2018? An event, milestone, moment, ect…

5. What’s it going to take to reach that?

6. Out of the list you just made, what’s in your control and what’s not? Choose to let go of the things that aren’t and identify practical steps to move toward the things that are.

7. How are you going to honor your body in 2018?

8. Your soul?

9. Mind?

10. Heart?

11. Who are you going to invite to stand next to you in 2018? Maybe it’s your BFF or a friend you just met - whatever the case, write down that person’s name and make a conscious plan for how you plan to involve that person in your life. If there’s more than one, list them all.

12. How are you going to be kind to yourself this year? Can you identify some rhythms you want to put in place to help you stay engaged, present, and healthy? Maybe it’s going on a walk for 20 minutes each morning or setting aside time twice a year to get away. Identify at least one thing and list it below.


My hope for you this year is that you live full, integrated, healthy and aware. The more you recognize where you've come from and how you're entering this new season, the more prepared you will be to become your truest self. And I hope above all, that we all learn to be kinder to ourselves this year. 2018 is going to be good, friends. 

20 Questions To Ask Yourself Before the New Year

Anyone started on their New Year's resolutions, yet? 

After Christmas I typically put aside some time to process the past year, look for themes, and identify and articulate what I learned along the way. Reflection is powerful - if neglected, we forfeit the opportunity to build on what we learned and experienced throughout the year and often become ignorant to our own lives and what's happening under the surface.

Once I spend time reflecting, I look forward. It's popular this time of year to set goals, but I also think through how I want to achieve those goals and what sort of rhythms or boundaries I'm going to put in place so that I know what to anticipate and what to say yes (or no) to. Even if you're more spontaneous than structured, preparing and looking ahead creates an opportunity to take advantage of, anticipate, and be expectant for the new year. And I for one could use a little hope moving forward. 2017 is going to our year, friends. 

Below are some reflection and anticipation questions to help you get started and feel prepared heading into the New Year. 

  1. What are some highlights of 2016? Make a list of 5-10. 

  2. What kinds of disappointments happened in 2016? Make a list of 5-10. 

  3. What are some game changers of 2016? Maybe a specific friendship or a goal you set or some kind of rhythm you put in place. 

  4. Can you list any specific "grace moments" you experienced this past year? Where did you experience grace and from whom? 

  5. Who did you most learn from this year? And what did you learn? 

  6. What worked for you this year? 

  7. What didn't? 

  8. Can you identify any themes? What's something you kept coming back to? Maybe some word, phrase, category, or passage comes to mind. 

  9. Now can you begin to list your top 3-5 takeaways? 

  10. Out of your list of takeaways and themes, which do you wish to focus on or develop this year? 

  11. What are you hopeful for in 2017?

  12. What sort of promises or dreams are you believing for? 

  13. This is the year that __________.

  14. Who do you want to learn from this year? Why? How? 

  15. What do you want to grow, advance, or move forward? This can be in your own life or in some place you're investing in. 

  16. What's your edge? In other words, where are you going to dig a little deeper, move a little closer, risk a little bigger?

  17. What do you feel most passionate about or invested in going into the new year? How can you make these things a priority? 

  18. What sort of rhythms will you put in place this year? (Daily, weekly, and monthly)

  19. What will you say yes to this year? List your top 3-5 priorities to help guide you. 

  20. If you were to sum up what you're most excited for, what you want to focus on and develop and move forward with, what sort of theme or word would you choose? I like going into the new year with a word or phrase that's easy to remember. I'll often keep it in front of me in creative ways throughout the year. 

After answering some of all of these questions, think through the best ways to check in with yourself throughout the year. I like to take a weekend (or at least a day) 2-4 times throughout the year to revisit my goals and plans. It helps keep me focused and hopeful. 

Lastly, once you reflect and think ahead, do yourself a favor and thank the people you learned from this year and notify those you want to learn from next. You may even decide to send your questions to a close friend for accountability or a second pair of eyes. I think we're our best selves in the context of community - don't be afraid to reach out and recruit others to help you meet your goals!