Why January is a great time to reflect
If you didn’t make any new year’s resolutions this time round, or you’ve already given yours up – don’t worry. We’re here to tell you that the new year doesn’t have to be fast-paced. Many of you are based in the Northern Hemisphere – it’s cold outside, it’s pretty dark. The last thing you probably feel like doing is jumping into productivity mode.
In the past, people understood that the winter was a time for hibernation. It turns out, until around the 1500s, many European countries celebrated the new year in March. Starting a new year in Spring perhaps doesn’t seem like a terrible idea. In her book Wintering, Katherine May draws on the rhythms followed by nature to rest and restore during winter and reflects on her own experience of wintering through some challenging times in her life.
Plants and animals don’t fight the winter; they don’t pretend it’s not happening and attempt to carry on living the same lives that they lived in the summer. They prepare. They adapt. They perform extraordinary acts of metamorphosis to get them through. Winter is a time of withdrawing from the world, maximizing scant resources, carrying out acts of brutal efficiency and vanishing from sight; but that’s where the transformation occurs. Winter is not the death of the life cycle, but its crucible. Katherine May, Wintering
For those of us currently going through winter, this natural slowing down is a great opportunity to pause and look inward. Reflection helps us understand what’s happened in the past and make sense of it. Armed with a better understanding of what’s worked and what hasn’t, we can make better plans for the future. It’s a process of deep thinking – something that we don’t often set aside time to do. But, especially when it comes to understanding what you find meaningful in your work, it’s important to give yourself the gift of time to reflect.
So, brew yourself a cup of coffee or tea and settle down somewhere comfy. If the weather outside at the moment is cold/rainy/snowy/windy, you have our permission to stay indoors.
Don’t jump in yet – take some time and reflect
Sometimes it can be tempting to get stuck in right away, especially at the start of the new year. In our busy lives, it’s actually really hard to slow down. That’s why reflection is something of a practice and, dare we say, a “discipline.”
This week, press pause and spend some time reflecting on your work.
Did you realize anything interesting last week while you were “rediscovering?”
What stands out to you when you think about your work last year? What happened that was positive or negative at work last year? How did those experiences make you feel?
Try to identify why you felt positive or negative during those experiences. What were the circumstances? What would you do differently when faced with the same situation?
What change – if any – would you like to see in 2024?