The presents have been opened, the leftovers have been eaten and work looms on the horizon. Christmas is coming to an end, and the new year is soon to be upon us.

At this time of the year we tend to reflect on how we have spent the last 12 months and we naturally start talking and thinking about how we would like to be different in the coming year. 

Being able to reflect effectively is a very powerful tool that can help you to draw powerful lessons from past events. Sometimes what appears to have been the most challenging time in your life is actually the moment you have the most to learn from. It is often hard to believe this until some significant reflection has taken place.

Furthermore, looking forward into our future and imagining the paths we wish to tread and the direction we wish to travel are the beginning steps towards putting ourselves into the drivers seat of our own journey.

Reflection and goal-setting are only two parts of creating the future we desire. Fortune cookie knowledge tells us “The journey is the reward” and in some part most of us know this to be true. We all know that chasing after a new promotion or object of desire is just as productive to our well-being as chasing a rainbow. If we want to enjoy the journey then we must know how to enjoy our own company, as Confucius once wrote “Wherever you go, there you are.” 

And so how do we begin?

Everyone will have their own effective ways to reflect and set goals, here are a few other different suggestions to get you thinking.

Walk and spend some time alone and amongst nature

If you want to gain a sense of perspective and to bring your thoughts away from the trappings of your routine life then some time alone in nature is one of the more likely ways of achieving it. Movement is a great way to change how you think and feel about things, just changing the shape of our bodies and how we breathe can have a profound effect on our well-being. Stop somewhere and let your vision soften over a pretty view and take in the sights sounds, feelings and smells, this small moment is often enough to re-calibrate yourself into a resourceful state of mind. It might not lead to an instant eureka moment, but it is a good start and a good habit to introduce.

Ask yourself powerful questions

It can be useful to think of the brain as a giant computer that always does its best to answer questions. We are often aware of our answers, however we are normally unaware of the question that preceded it. The trick is to take charge and ask yourself the smartest possible questions so you can provide yourself with the most beneficial answers. For the sake of specificity take out the word ‘why’ and use: how, where, what when who and will.

Whilst training for the 2000 olympics The mens GB rowing team decided to apply the question “Will it make the boat go faster?” to all instances in their daily life. When they won the gold medal they attributed their success to this question becoming their fundamental philosophy. They have since written a book (can you guess the title?) and even a consulting company off the back of the power of this question and the changes it created for them.

What questions do you need to stop asking yourself? What new questions can you begin to ask instead?

Always start NOW, and allow for flexibility

If you put something off until next week, or beginning from a certain date it is a clear indicator that you don’t want to do it. If you don’t want to do it then you’ll likely use the time before hand ‘stocking up’ on the behaviour you say you want to eliminate. If you have set yourself a deadline, you’ve probably unconsciously set an expiry date, and will ‘rebound’ into your old ways; anyway, if it is so important to you then why wait? Start now. A lifestyle choice is something you want to live by, a resolution, promise, diet, restriction is something you’re withholding from yourself. As Carl Jung put it “What you resist persists”.

By adding flexibility into your outcome it means that if you have a setback (and most people encounter setbacks) then that is okay. If you set yourself up for nothing but perfection it means that the instant you fall short you will have a perfect excuse to delight in all the pleasure that comes when you don’t have unrealistic standards. So for instance instead of “from the first of January I won’t eat any chocolate” try this “I will always make food choices that help me to reach my goal of ………”  If your goal is positive and realistic then you have a motivating target to always keep in mind, and an occasional mouthful of chocolate won’t label you as a failure or burden you with guilt. Remember “Done is better than perfect” and no matter how far up the ranks of mastery we may be, rather than trying to achieve perfection we are striving to become “progressively less stupid”.

Come see me

Okay, this advice is biased and of course other coaches are available. The power of a good coach is never to be underestimated to help you to clarify and reach your goals. Clients come to coaches because they are currently stuck and “we can’t solve problems with the same thinking that created them” (Quote attributed to Einstein). A Good coach will help guide you to reaching that new level in a quick and supportive manner.

I would love to help you to gain the most from your reflection on 2017, and to assist in preparing you to have an incredible 2018.  With a short walk and a talk, or a visit to a coffee shop I will guide you through some powerful questions and techniques that will mean you can begin your journey on the right foot and start as you mean to go on. 

Tom Powell is an NLP Master Practitioner, an NLP coach and a Practitioner in Creating Your Own Future techniques

Cost and booking

Throughout January I will be offering reflection and goal setting sessions. An hour will often be all that is required for a positive outcome, although more time is always optional.

Special offer 1 hour £50 throughout December and January. Email to book your session. Please use the reference code “Happy New Year” to make use of the offer.

If you have any questions before you choose to book feel free to contact me and I will be happy to answer them and help you out.

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