At this time of year, many people reflect on the year that’s just passed. Have you ever stopped to think about how you do your reflection? Do you focus on your achievements, the things you’ve done or not done?

Did you know that your personality will have an impact on how you reflect? It filters what you see or perceive your past to be. Here are two examples.

Some people make lists of all the places they’ve been, the events or things they’ve done. These people tend to be goal orientated or ‘towards people’ and are driven by projects and goals and will more than likely have quite a few already set for next year. On the other hand, some people are perceivers and go with the flow of life and prefer to have options and can find goals uncomfortable. A goal can be too definitive, too restrictive; these are ‘away from people’. Perceivers usually have fewer achievements compared to the goal setters as they do things when necessary and prefer a more laid back approach.

What is an achievement though? What one person considers an achievement or goal might not be to another. We all have different struggles and sometimes just getting through the day can be regarded as a success. It doesn’t have to be measured by where you went on holiday, how many concerts or weddings you went to or how much money you earnt. Remember we are all different; we all have our own measures and that your reflections and achievements are true to you. So do not compare yourself to others and show some kindness and consideration when listening to each other’s thoughts. We all do the best we can with what we have available.

Another personality filter that can influence your reflections is if you are an optimist or pessimist. Do you see a glass of water as half empty or half full?

If you’re an optimist, your reflections will be about the positives, the opportunities and the happy things you’ve done. A pessimist will reflect on the unhappy, the unfair, the negatives, and how the universe or world was against them. Interestingly people believe these traits are fixed, that this is just the way they are. However, neuroscience is proving that is not the case, and our brains have a great deal of plasticity and can be trained to make new connections resulting in new behaviours.

I want to propose a different way of reflecting as it bypasses any comparisons to others and enables you to grow as an individual. When you reflect, looking back over the year at all the things you have done, what you wanted to achieve but haven’t, what have you learnt? What brought you greater happiness, what took you away from it? What would you do differently? What would you do the same and why? I’m a firm believer in no matter what the circumstance, it is the learning we need to understand and carry forward – This is where our happiness and growth lies.

I would love to hear your learnings if it’s patience, kindness, resilience or something else and if this different way of reflecting was better than how you did it before. Pop your thoughts and learnings in the comments below.