I’m a bit weird, I know. Every year in January I spend a fair bit of time dissecting the past year and looking ahead into the new year. I have a series of questions I ask myself; I do a lot of thinking. This form of thinking is called Reflective Thinking.

Reflection is only one kind of thinking. Robert C. Maxwell is an incredible leadership guru. I’m a big fan. Robert wrote a tiny little book called How Successful People Think – Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life. What a treasure of a book. He writes about methods of thinking like Big Picture Thinking, Focused Thinking, Realistic Thinking, Strategic Thinking, etc.

I think thinking is becoming a lost art. What do you think? Do you take dedicated time to think?

I am very grateful that sometime early in my life I came to realize the value of thinking. I don’t know how, but it has served me very well. I’m an active thinker which means when I take some time for thinking, I like to have my phone or a pen and paper to record my thoughts and ideas.

Over the years I’ve used different venues for my thinking. When I was a distance runner, I would pose a problem at the start of a run and by the end, most times I’d have a workable action plan. At one time I had a hot tub and I loved relaxing and puzzling over business challenges in the tub. Now I love walking and thinking.

Take time to think

I believe we would all agree that when facing a problem or challenge, thinking it through will likely produce better results. Since we’re always facing problems and challenges of one form or another, it seems to make sense to become good at thinking. It’s pretty easy really. Sit quietly and focus your mind on an issue and see what comes up. Like everything, it takes practice to get better. Journaling can be a great way to think.

So why don’t we take time for thinking? You’ve probably heard we live in the information age. I say baloney – we live in the distraction age. And distraction is kryptonite for productive thinking. So is a short attention span. For successful thinking, one needs to be able to focus. Thinking improves our ability to focus.

Below are a few of my year-end reflective questions. Why not give reflective thinking a try? Great thinkers live more successfully.

Year End Reflective Questions

  • What went well for you and changed for the better this year?
  • What were your challenges and what were your gifts of the past year?
  • What and who are you most grateful for right now?
  • What do you need to let go of, or complete, to start next year anew?
  • What would you do if you weren’t afraid?
  • What truth(s) are you not telling yourself?
  • Who, or what, drains energy from you?
  • Who, or what, gives you energy? How can I include more of them/it in my life?
  • What do you need to do to be a more positive and inspiring person next year?
  • What is my community asking of me? How do I build time to give that?
  • If you could celebrate one or two accomplishments at the end of next year, what would they be?
  • What are your learning goals for next year?
  • How will you boost your positivity this year?
  • What and/or who will you look to for inspiration in the year ahead?
  • What is your theme for the year ahead?
  • Personal BHAG – Big, hairy, audacious goal?
  • What known plans or events of importance do you need to be aware of in the year ahead?

Wishing you good luck on your journey to enhancing your life with dedicated thinking time.

With loving kindness,

Coach Billy T.