Looking Backwards to Move Forwards

by | Jan 30, 2018

By DLCC Coach Nancy Turngren

For those of you who are not fans of resolutions or even intentions, I offer you a powerful third choice: reflection. What? Yes, I’m asking you to look backward, before looking forward to the New Year.  

I first discovered the power of reflection while I was enrolled in graduate classes for my master’s degree. Often, for the final we would be asked to write a ‘Reflection Paper’. I thought, “Wow, this is the kind of final I like – no test!”. But, what I discovered was how much I learned through the process of pausing, reflecting and writing about my takeaways from the class. The process brought clarity to what I learned – what was important to me.

I ask my clients at the end of each coaching session to share their reflection of our time together. Interestingly, often what they say may be different than what one might have predicted. I’m sure the professors of the classes I mentioned before didn’t read identical papers from all of their students; everyone learns what is important to them. Learning is a personal process and vital to adult development.

As adults in America, we have choices. A key component to adult development is reflecting on these choices to inform our next choice. So, making a resolution without serious reflection can lead to broken resolutions and continued frustration. How do you know what is truly important to you or what is really a priority if you don’t take some dedicated time to honestly ask yourself some questions about how the past year or years have gone?

Here are a few questions to get you started:

  • What did I enjoy last year?
  • What is the main area in my life that brought me struggles?
  • What do I want more of in my life?
  • What is getting in the way of achieving my goals?
  • What support do I need?
  • Who can help me?
  • How committed am I to making a change?
  • What is one thing I can do every week to bring more joy in my life?

After harnessing the power of reflection, you can move forward into the New Year with more clarity, commitment and confidence. The journey of adult development is a perpetual cycle of reflection, intention, action and evaluation (through reflection!). My passion as a coach is supporting people through this process.   

2 minute quiz