Do yourself a favour this year and don’t allow 2014 to just roll into 2015. Take a few minutes or even better, a few hours, to look back and reflect. You have one life. Make it count. You’re worth it.

Take stock of 2014 without beating yourself up about what you did or didn’t do. Simply use the reflections in 2014 as a platform to set yourself up to be your absolute best – again – in 2015.

Here are 10 questions to ask yourself at the close of 2014 to set you up for a happy, balanced and contented 2015:

1. Where in my life have I not been authentic in 2014?

The most exhausting and unsatisfying thing you will ever do is to live a life trying to be someone that you’re not. It requires constant effort, only to deliver some second or third rate version of the wonderful self that you truly are. When you begin to live an authentic life – things start to flow with ease. You’re being real and that requires little effort. There are often situations or people in which or around whom we feel particularly out of sorts and as if we really need to pretend to be someone we’re not. Can you identify these people or situations and do something about it? You most likely can’t change those people or situations – but you can change your response to them.
Being aware of ‘danger zones’ in which you lose yourself easily is the first step to changing your response and becoming more authentic.

2. If I were to be my most authentic self in 2015 – who would I be/what would I do/ how would I describe myself

It becomes much easier to be authentic when you really know who you are. I’m not referring to your name and surname – I mean who you really, truly are – when the names and labels, pretenses and masks are stripped away. Ask yourself what it is about these people and situations that take you off centre? How would you feel and how would you behave if you were being true to your real self? Are these situations or people perhaps conflicting with your value system, do they make you feel insecure and small, and if so why? Go on a journey to explore your true self that so often remains in hiding. Begin to love who you really are out of hiding. This is the best version of you that you could ever possibly offer – so embrace ‘you’. Take time to describe yourself – and love what you come up with.

3. How did or didn’t I move in the direction I intended to in 2014?

Start by focusing on just two areas in your life. One where you made significant progress and the other where perhaps things really didn’t go as planned. Were you pursuing a direction that was true to your authentic self, or were you trying to achieve something you thought you ‘should’ based on others’ opinions or expectations? What were the things that stopped you from making progress? See if you can exercise compassion and kindness to yourself when evaluating your direction in 2013. Be as understanding about perceived ‘failures’ as you would if your best friend, partner or child were talking about what they didn’t achieve – and give as much praise and encouragement as you would that same person for the progress he/she made. Remember – the reflection is only there to be a platform from where to move forward in 2014. Its not an excuse to judge yourself or be hard on yourself. Credit is due to you for even getting to a stage of reflection. Most never do – so good on YOU!

4. Where am I going in 2015?

Pick one – maybe two – areas in your life and decide what direction you want to pursue in that area in 2014. For example you might be thinking along the lines of self-development and moving towards a more consistent life living your true authentic self, prioritising that which truly matters or taking time to look after yourself the way in which you deserve to. You might be thinking of your career or family relationships. Think also about how you would measure progress in pursuing this ‘direction’. What would ‘success’ look like?

5. What was it that I really needed in 2014 and did/didn’t get?

Knowing what you need is very powerful because it allows you to go out (or inside) and get it. So many of us pursue things – sometimes things that aren’t good for us – because we try to fill ‘an unidentified gap’ with whatever we can find. Once you know however what it is that you truly honestly need – it becomes a more meaningful exercise to explore how to fill that gap and doing it in such a way that leaves you feeling content.
So in this question begin to explore the moments that left you feeling you needed absolutely nothing more? When and where and with whom did you feel most empty? No blame to people or places either – just you being honest about where there were gaps that weren’t really filled. What did that look and feel like and what did you do that worked or didn’t work? When you felt wonderful – what was that about? Spend time pulling apart those contented moments. You want MORE of that going forward. KNOW what that is about.

6. What do I need most in 2015 – to be happy, content, on track?

Where did you feel you felt least satisfied or content? From exploring the previous question what can you identify as most important for you to seek and find to have your deeper needs met in 2014? This is your exercise so if your answer here is chocolate – then good for you – I can relate. It may also be that you find energy and strength when you give to yourself more – you are better able to care for others. I.e. when you care for yourself by taking time out when you need it, putting yourself in situations where you feel cared for (nature, immersed in a hobbie etc), and pampered.

7. What do I need to leave behind in 2014?

Most of us carry a heavier load than we need to. We carry things we can’t do anything about anymore, that weigh us down but somehow we hang on for dear life. This may relate to bad experiences, or feelings of guilt, anger resentment, either towards others or towards ourselves. It just simply is not worth it. These feelings and emotions wear you down physically and emotionally. They make you sick. What are they? Let them go. However you need to do that – write it down and burn the paper, call people up and apologise. Whatever it is, just do it…let it go.

8. Letting go is hard to do – how do I build in regular check ins into 2015 to make sure I am not weighed down unnecessarily by carrying things I don’t need.

Holding on to negative emotions is such a common phenomenon and before you know it months or years have gone by and you’re still harbouring these negative feelings. Build in a regular practice of evaluating and letting go. You need to make time to become still and present and notice what is happening for you. Take time for this – meditate, do yoga – whatever it takes. Mindless activity such as cycling and/or running – not thinking about anything – won’t do the trick here. You want something that very much brings you into the present moment and has you very aware of yourself, your body, your emotions and what is going on for you. It’s worth doing this for your own well-being, peace, health and happiness.

9. Looking back – what was my purpose in 2014?

If there was one reason for you to be around in 2014 – what was it? Give yourself credit for that.

10. What is my true purpose in 2015?

You’re here for a reason. Don’t just live aimlessly. What you have to offer is unique and massively important.

Good luck and Namaste till 2015!

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