Your End-of-Year Spiritual Review

We are always in need of the discipline of pause and reflect.

Each week, best on Sunday evening, it is good to check your next action and review notes and compile a to-do list of the most important things you need to do during the week.

Each month, pause and reflect on the previous month. Did I accomplish the things I needed to get done? What were the distractions? What do I need to focus on this month to move me toward my goals?

Each year, take at least a full day and pause and reflect on the preceding year and the next year. What was the state of my spiritual health over the past year? Was I diligent in my Spiritual practices? Prayer, meditation, study, service, worship, teaching? Was I the kind of person that I want to be?

What things did I habitually do that helped me grow? What things did I habitually do that hindered my growth?

Aristotle, writing in the Nicomachean Ethics, said, “Some thinkers hold that it is by nature that people become good, others that it is by habit, and others that it is by instruction.” He thought habits were the thing. “The behaviors that occur unthinkingly are the evidence of our truest selves.”

“However, to modify a habit, you must decide to chant it. You must consciously accept the hard work of identifying the cues and rewards that drive the habits’ routines, and find alternatives,” wrote Charles Duhigg in “The Power of Habit: Why we do what we do in Life and Business.”

This is a good day to pause and reflect. I have done this “religiously” for more than 30 years. Some years it’s only smaller things that come to mind. Some, like last year, precipitated major life changes.

For today, look at yourself as an objective observer would. What did I do habitually that was detrimental to my becoming the kind of person I want to be? The first step of change is to decide to do this work of identifying them.

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