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January is the month for reflection. Here’s a great tool.

Table of Contents

Reflection is important

Reflection is important if we are going to move forward. But many people don’t know where to begin. I have a great tool you can download for free. Share it with whomever you think will find it helpful. But the first question is why? Why look back over the year?

Because this is the last day of January, I wanted to post this. For me, January is a pivotal month. I am one of those who likes to have my plans and goals organized for the next year by the end of January as much as it is possible, knowing that life can change in a heartbeat.

  1. We can’t make changes for the new year if we don’t know what needs to change. And the only way we can do that is by looking back over our past year. I wanted to give you a free printout to help. Just click on the picture.

That sounds really hard, and many of you will quit reading right now. But please let me make my points before you bow out.

You don’t know what the definition of insanity is, right? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. And yet we do it all the time. I do, too. Now, if I’m needing to learn a new habit or a new way of doing things, then repetition is exactly what I need to do. But that’s not what I’m talking about it here. I’m talking about areas where we need to grow.

Reflection can lead to change.

Did you notice I said can lead to change? Some people simply don’t want to change. If that’s you, then now’s the time to quit reading. But I know very few people who don’t have at least one area in their life that needs changing.

Rumination is not reflection

Examining the past year does not mean we sink into rumination, the process of going over something repeatedly until it brings us down. If that’s what you end up doing, you’re not reflecting; you are beating yourself up.

At the same time, we have to be honest enough with ourselves, so we can clearly see and examine our past, its failures, and its successes. For me, I am careful to talk to God about these areas rather than just decide for myself.

God uses our reflections for his purpose.

I have a tendency to think I know what areas God would have me change when he has another idea. The other day I was praying for someone, and I realized that what I was praying about for them might be very different than what God wanted to see changed. It’s the same with us. We think we know, but we don’t. So we look back over our year, but we seek God’s direction through it all.

I believe if we seek God’s assistance, we will know what needs changing, and I base that on Psalm 139:23 & 24. where the Psalmist prays, “Search, me, O, God, and know my heart. Try me and know my thoughts. See if there is any grievous way in me and lead me in the everlasting way.”

Journaling aids reflection

For tracking moods

I use a Bullet Journal, but I don’t journal like many people. I track many things on a chart and then try and recap weekly or, at the very least, monthly. My moods are one such example. If you read my post last week, you know I had to put an A for anxiety for one day. But when I looked back over the last few months, I didn’t see any “A’s.” So reviewing that, I know that that day last week was an outlier. Because of that, I didn’t obsess over that one day.

For tracking difficult circumstances

January 2022, I was able to make a difficult decision because I saw how often I had posted about something that had really caused me a lot of hurt. Reading my despairing words made me realize I didn’t have to keep going there.

And I haven’t.

I think if I hadn’t tracked how often I’d been upset and confounded by the situation, I would still be there. It helped me say, “Enough is enough.” But if I hadn’t done some reflecting, I might still be allowing myself to be needlessly hurt.

Tracking our spiritual life.

I track my Bible study and prayer. I really don’t need to because I’m very consistent, but it makes me feel really good to see it in print and encourages me to continue. However, it shows me how, when I visit someone for a weekend, I don’t take time for them because it’s a lot harder. There’s room for improvement there, so for 2023, I’m looking for ways to accomplish this.

It might be the last day of the month, but it’s never too late to start. Grab some paper and pencil and start to think and reflect using the tool I provided. There’s no need to make any decision.

Prayer for reflection

close up of pink flowers

“Lord, help me to see myself from your eyes. I know you love me as I am, and I’m so grateful for that. But I also know I want to know you better.

Open my heart to your leading. Let your Holy Spirit search my thoughts and ways and show me those areas that need improving. I know that with your help, I can become more mature in my faith.

I think I know the areas I need to grow, but I trust you to lead me away from those if that’s not your plan, just as you have redirected your children through the ages.

Thank you for this opportunity to grow in ‘wisdom and stature” as did your son.

God bless, and have a great day.