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The Benefits of Reflection

by Jocelyn Plakas-Lock ASEBP | January 5 2017

In this quiet time post-Christmas and New Years’, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on the year ahead. While many are lamenting the extra Christmas cookie and resolving to work out every day from the moment January 1 hit, you will find me celebrating the successes of 2016. I should note that my personal definition of success allows room for learning and growth from failure. Because it is in failing and trying again that we learn how to move forward, how to do better, how to address our fears—and ultimately—succeed (not to mention becoming the best version of ourselves in the process).

Let’s Get a Little Nostalgic

I’ve taken different approaches over the years. Some years, I’ve reflected on each month, looking at my biggest success, growth or learning from that month (or sometimes all three!). Other years I’ve looked at different aspects of my life: work, family, friends, self-care, etc. Sometimes I ask general questions and see what comes to mind. It’s really about finding what works for you!

Consider it All

While the questions below stem from my personal reflection, the same questions can be applied in the context of our workplace wellness contributions. Whether applying a personal or wellness champion lens, here are some of the key questions to consider in celebrating your successes for the year:

  1. Where did I make my biggest contributions? Don’t be shy. List them all!

  2. What was I most proud of? Hint: the answers to one and two might be—but are often not—the same.

  3. What were the little things that made a big difference? We’ve all heard the old 80/20 rule, where 20 per cent of what you do contributes to 80 per cent of the success. Did you make any small changes this year that significantly improved your experience or perhaps do something small that had a profound effect on someone else?

  4. What did I learn and how did I grow from the tough times or the things that did not go well? You might question what the failures and hard times have to do with success. In my point of view, sometimes our biggest growth comes from the tough times. Sometimes our success is in how we hold ourselves accountable when things go wrong or how we maintain our integrity through a situation outside of our control. It might be discovering how resilient we are. In a wellness committee context, you might also ask this in terms of how your team grows, strengthens and communicates through the good and the bad?

  5. Do you have specific goals to reflect on? If you set particular goals in 2016, you might also want to reflect on these goals. Regardless of whether you achieved what you set out to accomplish or not, mine them further for what you learned. It may help you set more meaningful goals for 2017!

Soak it Up

Before you jump into setting 2017 goals for yourself or your wellness program, take a moment to reflect on your success. In addition to showing you just how far you’ve come, this celebration may boost your enthusiasm and better define your endeavours in the New Year. For me, I feel like I achieved better work-life balance over the course of 2016. Celebrating is more fun when done together! Take a moment to share one of your 2016 successes in the comments below.

Jocelyn Plakas-Lock

As ASEBP’s Director, Health and Benefit Services, “JPL” (as she is affectionately known) has a vast wealth of knowledge and experience in health promotion with a focus on mental health issues. While she is a great support in this area, JPL is, sadly, utterly unable to execute a cartwheel—a flaw she more than offsets by being a baker of the finest chocolate cupcakes on the planet.