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30 Minutes of Reflection  

If you can find half an hour just for yourself have a go at this exercise. I wrote it for my last newsletter and it had had such a positive response that I thought I’d share it with you.

The purpose of this is to review (not judge) the past year, to reflect on what you have learned this year and help you plan for the next.

Paper and Pen
Take a piece of A4 paper and turn it so that longest edge is at top (landscape style).If you have some, use coloured crayons or felt tips and doodle the year at the top of the page (doodling is very creative!) Mark your page into four equal boxes marked Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn. For the purposes of this exercise Winter begins in January, Spring in April and so on in three month periods.  

Take a Moment to Relax
Before you begin, just close your eyes for a few moments (maybe do the thinking bit while grabbing a few relaxing moments to yourself in the bath) and reflect back over the year.
What has been happening? Whether it's been good, bad or indifferent just allow yourself to recollect the actual events and later write them down in the appropriate box. Don't judge them or give yourself a hard time for not having done enough or the 'right' thing; this is simple recall at this stage. If it helps you, you can colour code the events for positive, planned, unplanned,welcome, etc.

Review
When you have filled in your year take a long hard look at what you have written. How much control did you have over events? Sometimes it seems we don't have any.

Once you have the main elements of your last twelve months
written down, don't do anything else. Leave it for 24 hours to just mull around in your brain. Go and relax.

Lessons Learned
The following day pick up your 2008 year list again, and jot down under each season at least three things you learned, that were positive. They may be earth shatteringly big things or, more likely, smaller nuggets of knowledge about you, or about the world in general. But I guarantee it will have proved almost impossible to go through the year without gaining something of value! Try not to dwell on what went wrong, but focus on the positives, the good things from the year. And then, plan in the New Year to do more of what worked, make your resolutions positive and ones that will work for you.
I wish you all joy in 2009!
Jane

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