Mid year, end of year and new year are common times to reflect on our successes and failures.

As mentioned in my last post, 6 Challenging Questions to Ask Yourself Right Now, it’s a time of year where we look at where we are currently positioned, reflect on what is and isn’t working and get a clear understanding of what it is we want to achieve going forward.

Common times for reflection are mid-year and end of the year.

Though reflection can stir up some unpleasant memories, particularly when it comes to our failures and mistakes, it is always worth doing.

Reflecting on success and failure can help you get back on track and regain your strength and motivation.

Here are some questions to ask yourself when it comes to reflecting on success and failure.

What have been the highlights of your year so far?

What tasks, projects or actions are you particularly proud of achieving this year?

It is important to acknowledge our successes and to be incredibly proud of ourselves for all of our hard work and effort.

It also helps to understand how our successes came about as we may want to replicate or build on those triumphs in the following year.

What mistakes or fears stopped you from reaching your potential?

Most likely it’s your fears that stopped you achieving what you could have. For many people fear stops them from even trying new projects or adventures.

The way I see it, if you are making mistakes (particularly if you are trying something completely bold and out of your comfort zone), then at least you are in the game giving it your best.

Making mistakes as you learn, hands down beats not trying at all.

If you are anything like me, you are probably quite hard on yourself.

Consequently, looking at your failures for the year can be quite an unnerving task. Just to be clear, this isn’t about beating yourself up. Beating yourself up won’t help you in the long run. It may give you a short jolt of enthusiasm to do better but that sort of negative energy is not sustainable.

You need positive energy powering you forward.

Think carefully and then make a list of what bad habits, fears or mistakes you need to work on or eliminate to make a big difference going forward.

What lessons did you learn?

Each of our successes and sometimes even more so our failures, offer up excellent learning opportunities.

Granted our failures may not feel like learning experiences. At the time it simply feels disappointing, frustrating and sometimes downright painful.

The purpose of working out what we have learned is so that we can do more of what works for us and less of what doesn’t.

What do you need to do differently?

This time of year could generally find you in one of two camps (or perhaps lingering somewhere in the middle).

You either had a crystal clear picture of what you wanted your year to look like or you had no idea how you wanted things to turn out.

If you are in the second camp, this time of year can be confronting. Reflection may bring feelings of inadequacy and a sense of not achieving anything substantial. You might feel like your life is going nowhere.

In this frame of mind, it can be easy to think that nothing is going to change and that you could be stuck doing the same thing over and over again.

How are you feeling about the next six months? Are you filled with dread or filled with enthusiasm and a sense of wonder and opportunity for the time ahead?

The key is knowing what it is you want and taking steps to make it happen.

If you didn’t have a plan of action, it’s time to make sure you have one in place. You can’t make great things happen, if you don’t know what you want to achieve in the first place.

What is your definition of failure?

It’s probably important to understand how you individually define failure. Don’t be too quick to write something off as a failure.

Sometimes it can be helpful to not see failure in such a black and white way. The trick to making the most out of any perceived failure is working out how to turn it around to work to your advantage.

It is important to remember what one person may consider a failure, could have a completely different meaning for someone else.

Don’t let your definition of success or failure be driven by other people. After all, it’s your own opinion that matters.

Reflecting on success and failure is an essential part of moving forward in life. Make it a positive and productive experience that empowers you and drives you towards what you want.

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