It has to be said: I’m pretty big on taking time to think & reflect, whatever the time of year… but the end of December (and some time around June / July) is when I really get stuck in.

Maybe you’re the same! Or maybe you’ve never voluntarily reflected on anything, a single day in your life… Whatever the case may be, the start of a new year is a great opportunity to stop a while and take stock.

So grab a notebook & pen!

This isn’t about coming up with a bunch of unrealistic resolutions that you follow for a couple of weeks and then promptly forget about - this is your life! What do you want out of the next year? Where are you heading? What new experiences are you seeking? What new knowledge or skills do you want to develop?…

Here’s some prompts to get you started, thinking over the last 12 months, and getting ready for the next.

Looking back over 2017…

What went really well for you this past year?

Before you get caught up in the nitty-gritty, take a few moments just to think over the best parts of 2017, and jot down some notes to remind yourself of all the good things that happened!

Did you achieve any or all of the goals you may have set in 2017?

Are there any you’re still working on? Any longer term goals you intend to carry into 2018?

Or maybe you set goals that completely fell through the gaps this year! Are they things you still want to achieve? How can you do things differently to make sure they happen this time around?

What were the biggest challenges you faced this year?

It might be challenges you overcame, and succeeded in, or things you’re still working on.

Don’t worry if you feel like you’re still knee deep in your biggest challenges, recognise the progress you have made this year, and remember that some of the challenges we face in life just take a little longer to work through.

What has been your biggest learning in 2017?

What one idea, or change in perspective had the biggest impact on you this year?

What have you most enjoyed doing in 2017?

What activities, tasks, responsibilities or environments have given you the most energy, excitement and sense of purpose?

What would you like to continue to do more of in the coming year?

…and forward to 2018!

What are you most excited for in the new year?

Remind yourself of the things you have to look forward to!

What new challenges are you facing in 2018?

Maybe you’re feeling stressed out about a new phase you’re facing in your life? Writing down the things you’re stressed out over can help turn unmanageable anxiety into a list of specific areas you can tackle.

What are you hoping to achieve this year?

What are you hoping to progress in? What do you want to do more of? Don’t think of this as writing resolutions. Instead, think of it as an opportunity to map out the coming months.

It’s not about trying to follow rules imposed on yourself, but about progressing in the areas that actually matter to you.

Listen to what you’re saying…

Take a moment and read back over what you’ve written in response to those questions… What strikes you? What do you notice about what you’ve written? Are there consistencies, or inconsistencies?

For example: look at what you said you most enjoyed in 2017. Now read what you wrote about what you want to achieve or do more of in 2018. Do they match up? If not, you might be missing something important…

It’s easy to get caught up in all the things you think you should be doing with your time, and miss out on the things that are actually most important (and most suited) to you.

What would you really like to do more of in 2018? What would make you feel most fulfilled?

…and don’t forget to look at your data!

Check out the list of Interests on your expresso Summary Report.

How much do your highest Interest scores align with your answers to the above questions? The likelihood is that you’ll see a lot of overlap, but if you find that they don’t match up much, think about what this might mean in terms of staying energised in the long term.

Your motivation scores indicate the areas that are likely to provide a sustainable level of energy and interest for you. That’s not to say that you can’t do other things (and do them well!) but it can be helpful to identify possible stumbling blocks, and how you can utilise your inherent motivations to keep you energised - whatever you’re doing!

All the best in the new year, and have a fantastic 2018