New Year’s Day is an obvious time for reflection, to review the results of our practice, to celebrate our accomplishments, and to consider ways to improve.
What do we reflect on; the collected memories of the past year with their accumulated emotion? Remembered victories and failures? How we look in the mirror? How high we’ve climbed the ladder?
This has been the hardest part of my practice: to look myself in the mirror in such a way that brings growth and a sense of accomplishment; to bring my life under a process of review, without blame or shame, accepting who I am yet determined to get better.
I’ve learned to create a vision for my life, to set goals that will accomplish that vision, to make a plan to accomplish those goals, to create a history of those goals, of how I spend my time, and whether a goal was accomplished with the time spent.
But even so, I’ve yet to take all that data and let it tell me who I am, and who I am becoming. Sure, numbers don’t tell the whole story, but they do tell a story. Our friends can’t tell the whole story of who we are either, but we want to listen to what they have to say. And I want to learn to listen to what those numbers have to say.
Deliberate practice requires feedback; without it our practice isn’t deliberate. Feedback involves measuring in some way how near or far we are from the mark, from executing what we’ve set out to accomplish.
In this coming year I want to take the data I’ve collected, and turn it into summary statistics that can reveal to me the accumulated results, the “wealth” if you will, of my practice.
How do you reflect on your life? What rituals do you celebrate on New Year’s Day?