Eight Benefits of Annual Life Reflections

This article explores the benefits of annual reflections to notice how you’ve grown and evolved. It offers eight tools to focus on life reflections.

How did last year go for you? Do you feel defeated by the battles you faced and the challenges you didn’t manage to overcome? If so, how do you re-set before you step into the new year? Because like it or not, life will keep evolving, and we’re expected to keep up, somehow.

A Peek into My Family Life

For my household, the past year was one of the more tumultuous years to date. First, my husband left the country for several months. Soon after, both my daughters tested positive for Covid at the same time. This happened just as one was getting ready to celebrate her 21st birthday that she’d meticulously planned for months.

While keeping the home fires burning and patiently nursing the girls back to health, we got the news we’d been waiting on for four years. Our visas were granted and we could pack our bags. We were about to relocate 12 000 km away from the life, and everything familiar we’ve known (yikes).

How Do You Prepare for a Major Life Shift?

With such a major life shift on the horizon for a family of sensitive introverts, it was essential that we prepare for what was ahead. I needed to gauge my capacity to cope with all the expected changes ahead. And to gear up to support my family through the transition.

But how do you prepare for the future without a crystal ball showing you what the future holds?

We didn’t know what pitfalls, challenges and opportunities would unfold in the new year. So, do we take a blind leap of faith that we’ll be okay? Or find a way to brace ourselves before stepping over the threshold? For an INFJ personality with a future-forward mindset, the choice was inevitable. The key to gearing up for the future was right behind us—in the rearview mirror. Before we could move forward, we needed to look back.

Why Is it Important to Reflect on Our Experiences?

Isn’t it better to put the past behind us because we can’t change any of it? Instead, isn’t it better to look ahead and focus on the future?

Over the course of time and through our experiences, we are constantly shifting, growing and changing in subtle, almost undetectable ways. This can impact our sense of self and our well-being. Due to this constant shifting in our growth, at the end of a 12-month cycle, chances are you’re different than you started out the year. One way to gauge those subtle shifts is with annual reflections.

Let’s look at eight ways annual reflections can help prepare you for the future.

8 Benefits of Doing Annual Reflections:

1. A Retrospective View

Reflecting back on an experience, after the dust has settled and emotions have stabilised, can help you mine for valuable insights.

2. Growth Shifts

Our subconscious beliefs, values, and worldviews influence our responses to life. For this reason, we need to be aware of how these influences impact our thinking and behaviours.  Again, such self-awareness requires stillness, to integrate the insights from our experiences.

3. Take Opportunities to Slow Down

A lot happens in a year between the big moments, the milestones, and unexpected events that often feel like a rollercoaster ride. Taking stock of the impact of life on our well-being and growth needs us to slow down and reflect quietly.  For many, that window is between the end and the start of a new year, when life slows down just a little.

4. Strengthen Resilience

Everything that happens around us, whether by choice or circumstance, tests our capacity to cope with life. Mining for insights from our experiences can help us gauge our strengths and resilience. It can also help us develop deeper wisdom and patience.

5. Deepen Self-Awareness

Reflecting on how you responded to your challenges in the past can highlight areas where you require continued shaping. That’s because we’re a constant work in progress.

6. Evaluate Your Relationships

Relationships form an essential part of our day-to-day lives. These can add value to the quality of your life, or cause distress. Regular reflection provides valuable opportunities to examine the state of your relationships. Some relationships are there to stay while others are seasonal and situational. Knowing the difference and when to let go is essential for your continued growth and evolving into your strongest, highest self.

7. Time for Personal Development

A world geared towards quick results, fast growth, and immediate gratification, leaves little room to focus on personal development. Yet, it is through personal growth that we grow resilience to handle the pace and challenges of life.

8. Notice Areas for Continued Growth

Regularly reflecting on your life can reveal areas for continued growth. Such as developing new skills or crafts, or a new hobby that makes life more enjoyable and purposeful. Or noticing where we need to strengthen our support resources.


The reflection tools shared here can be useful to gently reflect on any life experience, life season, or specific goal. It can raise your self-awareness and help you identify areas that were particularly challenging, so you can then strategize ways to better navigate this as you move into the future. It’s through unique experiences that we learn about ourselves, our strengths, abilities, and resources to live our most meaningful life.

Danna Faulds, in a beautiful poem titled, Walk Slowly offers a gentle reminder that life, and personal growth, are not a sprint to the finish line. Rather, it’s a lifelong journey of unfolding and becoming all you’re meant to be. So, pace yourself, your time, and your energy to focus on the things that foster a meaningful, enjoyable, and purposeful life.

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