As we make our voyage into 2016, it is a great time to consider not only where we hope to go, but importantly, where we have come from over the last 12 months.
Reflection and introspection is welcome at any time, but for those of us whose days are filled with the law, it can be quite difficult to look back when we are so focused on looking forward and finishing school. But looking back is an essential component if being able to measure our self-growth and appreciate all we have accomplished.
This can be somewhat challenging as we are trained to be focused on the future, on results, on outcomes. The law school journey can sometimes feel as if it is designed to be a race to the finish line. What is law school if not a complete and total preparation for what comes next? To pass the bar and get sworn in. To be able to counsel and represent clients.
The study of law prepares us to engage meaningfully in the practice of law, taking the tools and knowledge we have cultivated over the course of our law school careers. It can become so easy to always keep focused on some distant point in the future given what is at stake.
When we are in the midst of the thick of law school, given the sheer number of responsibility and obligations, it is hard to etch out time to look back on all we have accomplished and the highs and lows of our life over the last year. But it is an incredibly crucial part of mindfully connecting with who we are as human beings; it is a way to measure where we have come from, where we are, and where we would like to go. It is a good time to think about where we have found success in our life, and where we can improve. If we don’t slow down to review, it sometimes can feel as if we are coasting through life, never delving into our true goals, purpose, or even calling.
This self-reflection is not an act of negativity or an exercise in conceit – rather it is meant to clear out areas in our lives that don’t serve us, to make room for the things that we do enjoy, that we are good at, and where we make a difference.
It really is no different that setting out resolutions or goals, but this comes at it from a different angle. So as the year begins, we try and make it an integral part of our lives. To reflect constantly and consistently; to mindfully move through our lives with a sense of orientation and self.
By writing down our past year’s accomplishments and really taking a deep look on where we were happy, satisfied, unhappy or even at our worst, we can learn to spot patterns in our lives. We all have them, create them, and continue to express ourselves through these patters. Once made, they can be positive or negative. The key is to cultivating more positive patters and releasing the negative ones that really don’t do us any good.
So to sum up, don’t be afraid to take some time on yourself, to look back, to write it out with the same focus as a final, and give ourselves the gift of setting ourselves up for a successful new year?