Between the Lines

There is no better time to reflect on your life and re-set your focus than the start of a new year. Something about it feels like a fresh start — the slate is clean, yet there are lessons to bring forward. Reviewing your life can be quite illuminating and looking to the future will inspire you. Do a little reflection and planning and 2019 can be your best year yet.
List last year’s highlights. The best things that happened. Set a timer for 10 minutes and record everything that comes to mind. What events did you enjoy most? List them. What are you most thankful for in the last year? Did you have any breakthrough moments? List some favorite time with friends. What happened that changed your thinking for the better? That enlightened you? What jazzed you? What did you do that made you proud? What did you create? When were your happiest days? What decisions did you make that made your life better? More fun? What, in the last year, brought you joy? What had a big impact on you and your life? And the little things — what from your daily life brought you joy? Expand. Next to each one write a little more about why you consider it a highlight. How it made you happy. Why it was important.
What was difficult? In regard to family? Friends? Work? Yourself? What happened in the last year that makes you cringe when you think of it? Did you have any worries? Expand. For each ask yourself: Is it resolved? Were your worries founded or unnecessary? Look forward. What action can you take to find resolution or, at least, an easier way to live with it? To make it less painful to you (or someone else)? Can you turn what happened into a positive? Can you heal a rift? In yourself? With someone else?
List last year’s achievements. What did you accomplish? With your family? Friends? In your life? At work? In your community? For yourself? What made you proud? What are you glad you did? What new skills did you learn? What did you discover about yourself? Look forward. What would you like to achieve this year? Why? (Naming your motivation will set your goal in your heart.) What can you build on from last year? What would it mean to you? To others?
Who do you want to be? What goals would you like to accomplish? What priorities do you want to set for yourself? Where do you want to go/what do you want to see? What do you want to explore (external or internal)? What parts of yourself do you want to bring out into the light? What limitations can you let go of this year? What good habits would you like to build? What habits would you like to replace? What relationships do you want to strengthen? Who do you want to connect with this year?
What is the best vision of yourself for 2019? Look at what you have written. You have goals, motivations, dreams, a plan to build, and a chance to do things differently. All you need to do now is go for it!

Kathy Steffen is an award-winning novelist and author of the “Spirit of the River Series:” “First, There is a River,” “Jasper Mountain,” and “Theater of Illusion.” She writes from her home in Spring Green she shares with her husband and cats. Find out more at www.kathysteffen.com.