Day of Reflection – B04

In this video I talk about using the last Sunday of the month as a day of reflection. This is a day I choose to look back through the past year, at all the events of the year, and reflect upon the lessons they taught me. I also prepare to move forward into the future.

Original Script of the Video (not a direct transcript)

Hey, everyone! Welcome to this week’s episode of Watch Me Shine. My name is Brian and I want to thank you again for joining me. This week is not an official season episode because it doesn’t fall into the series at the same point for everyone that’s going through this process or going to go through this process in the future. This one is based on the calendar, so I’m making it a bonus episode you can watch at the end of the year, every year. It regards the last Sunday of the year, a day I use for reflection. With the new year just a few days away, I wanted to go over what I do on the last Sunday of the year. I take this day to remember the past year, as well as get ready for the new year.

I know a lot of people, especially adults, believe that the new year is just an arbitrary point in time and that it’s nothing special. It’s just another day in life and nothing changes at an arbitrary point in time on the calendar. Although I do agree with that, in a sense, to me the new year is symbolic. When we were children, there really wasn’t anything special about the last day of school for the year, going into the summer vacation, yet we all celebrated, right? There really isn’t anything inherently special about most holidays, either. They’re just days we’ve chosen to celebrate something. The last Sunday of the year is just that, to me: a symbolic day, a personal holiday, a day of reflection and celebration, preparing for the new year.

Avoiding Work

As this is a holiday to me, I’m not dressed for work, whether professional or for this channel. This is how I dress when it’s laundry day. I’m wearing my favorite old hoodie, threadbare and worn and comfortable. I’m wearing my favorite, comfortable jeans, threadbare and full of holes. It’s mid-afternoon, approaching evening. I slept in half the day and I haven’t even showered. I’m taking the day off from studying the One-Year Success Plan. I’m taking the day off from reading new material, writing notes, or writing my book. In fact, the only reason I’m writing this episode and recording this video is so you can see what I do on this day and it’s importance to me. This is a holiday to me, meant to be symbolic of closing out the old year and preparing for the new.

Clear Your Mind

First off, clear your mind. The process that I go through at the end of the year is going to bring back memories. It’s digging up the past, and that can be a scary prospect. However, it doesn’t have to be.

The point is not to unearth skeletons or open scars. It’s to remember where those skeletons are buried and why they’re buried. It’s to remember how scars were created and learn from the way in which they were formed. This allows us to learn from our past, which is the only thing the past is good for: education. As you go through this process, focus on the lessons, not the events themselves. Remember that you are not what happened to you, you are how you reacted to it and what you learned from it. Focus on what you can learn from it and then let it go. Move forward into the new year with knowledge, not baggage.

But it’s also meant to remind us of the good times, our accomplishments, our hopes and dreams, and everything we do have. It’s meant to show us how far we’ve come, which is more important than how far we have yet to go. Open your mind and heart to the good in your life. It’s there we will find happiness.

Read Old Journal Entries

This is the day I go through my journal of the previous year. I read the whole thing. I read all my entries, every single one, from start to finish. It reminds me of what I’ve been through, all my accomplishments and failures, all the hopes and dreams I had, all the good times and the bad, and reminds me of the things I’ve forgotten over the past year. I reflect on all of that, focusing on the things I’ve forgotten, so that I can remember. You might remember events, emotions, feelings, or goals. You might be surprised at all the things you once thought were important and no longer do or may find things you still find important that you forgot. You might even be surprised to find that you told yourself that you’d pick something back up once you were ready and forgot to do so. As I go through my journal, I take notes on these important things.

Go Over Goals

Another thing I go over and take notes on in my old journal is my goal list. I look at all the goals I had in my journal and decide if they’re still relevant. I also decide if they should be added back into my list of goals or left to be forgotten. I have a long, physical list of goals from last year, but this year I’m going to do something different. I’m going to start a new collection in my journal, something I picked up from the Bullet Journal Method, for goals.

Instead of one huge goal list, I’m going to put an entry into my journal called Goals, or maybe Future Goals, and write down that goal when I decide that I want to add it to my life as a goal. I believe that this will add something important to my goals: a point in time at which I decided that that goal was important enough to consider. Whether I start working on it at that point is immaterial. This means I will probably start another new collection in my journal for each of those goals, maybe called Active Goals or probably named after the goal itself, which will help me track my progress on each of those goals.

My first main goal for this year, 2020, is to find my WHY. I’ve been reading all the books by Simon Sinek. In his first book, Start With WHY, he explains that most of us spend our lives doing what we’re supposed to be doing without considering the most important question: WHY? He proposes that, without knowing our WHY, we toil endlessly, unhappy, because we fail to realize what we consider to be important and work for the wrong reasons. In his fourth book, Find Your WHY, he shows how to go through a process to figure out what we consider to be important and refocus our lives on doing those things. I started this process in late 2019 and created a collection in my journal to track it. I want to make it an important focus in the coming year.

My second main goal for this year is to start Gratitude Journaling at least three times per week. I have already created a collection in my new journal to track this as well. I also plan on making a video on the importance of Gratitude Journaling as a bonus video sometime in the near future. As I’ve said in earlier videos, learning about something is important, but teaching it to someone else helps you use the information in a different way and deepen your understanding of the topic. This decision also helps me continue my main goal from 2019, teaching others what I’ve learned using this channel, into the new year.

Migrate To New Journal

To prepare for the new year, I migrate some of that information, gleaned from recollection, from my old journal to a new journal. My old journals are still there, but the feeling of having different “books” makes it feel clean and fresh for the new year. Starting a new journal is symbolic of a new, fresh start. You could do this with a new paper journal, if that’s how you journal. Mark the spine of your journal with the year, 2019, or maybe even 2019-1, 2019-2, and 2019-3. Keep those old journals and shelve them. You could pass them down one day. Someone may find them interesting in the future.

Or, if you’re like me, you could create a new “book” in your electronic journal. The journal app I use, CustomJournal, has a neat new feature that creates new “books”. If you’ve watched my videos on setting up and using CustomJournal, you will know that I already created this new “book” a few weeks ago and I’ve shown you how to do it. Just know that I will, from this point on, wait until this day of reflection every year to go through this process. I said in those videos that I believe that journals should not be used until the necessary point in time to use those journals. For you, today is that day. So start a new journal, whether the one you have now is full or not. Buy a new paper journal, if that’s how you journal, or create a new “book” in your electronic journal.

The information that I migrate includes things I forgot, as I stated in the first section, and goals, as I stated in the second section. By going over my old journal entries, I can see what I once found important and decide if I should pick them up in the new year. I can also look at my old goal list from 2019 and see what goals should be restarted and brought forward into the new year, or discarded, left to be forgotten. This is a practice based on mindfulness. It’s looking intentionally at those entries and analyzing them, with intention, before deciding on what’s important. This will allow you to be honest with yourself about what’s truly important in your life. Doing so allows you to decide and prioritize so that you don’t get overwhelmed by everything going on in your life.

Start Fresh

Make the decision to start fresh. Whether you believe that the new year is an arbitrary point in time or a personal, symbolic holiday, I encourage you to take some time to reflect, to let go of the past and move forward into the future. Realize that your past does not define you, that you have the opportunity to reinvent yourself, and you have the chance to become whatever you want to become. There is no such thing as fate. There is no such thing as destiny. We have the power to be whatever we want to be in life. We simply need to decide what we want to become, formulate a plan, and work towards becoming that which we’ve decided to become. If I can help you in any way, feel free to contact me. And, moving forward into 2020, I wish you all the best. Please continue to watch me shine.

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