At the end of every day I do a quick review. What did I accomplish? What were the best moments? How did I do on my daily habits? After that, I can think about what I want from tomorrow. I do the same thing every Sunday, but for the week, and I do it at the end of every month. Many of us also do this at the end of each year.

In each of these cases, I’m looking back to see where I was, what I learned, and try to gauge how I feel about that. 

In the sub-par 1980 movie The Jazz Singer (a remake of the 1927 movie), Sir Laurence Olivia says to Neil Diamond “You can’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been,” and he was right. We need to reflect on where we’ve been, what we’ve learned, what we’ve accomplished, what we’ve made it through, and who’s been with us a long the way to have a clear picture of where we are, where we want to go, and how to get there. So, I take time to regularly reflect on these things, while trying not to get sucked into regret, self-criticism, or hanging on to little missteps that others have made.

As part of this I also try to pay attention to where I am now. How am I feeling  mentally and physically? What do I need right now? What do those in my life need from me? What do I honestly feel like I could take on in the coming days, weeks, or months? What should I put on a shelf for now or discard completely?

Only after looking back and examining right now can I plan for tomorrow and beyond. What do I want to accomplish? What great moments do I want to create or be a part of? Who do I want with me along the way? What are the next steps to get there?

I think we spend too much of our lives not paying attention to where we are or how we got there, which often leads to wandering aimlessly or at least on the wrong path. Take the time to reflect on where you’ve been and how you got here. Pay attention to where you are now. Use your past experiences and the person you are now to guide, fuel, and encourage you on your journey forward.

Featured image courtesy of Joe Hunt under a CC-BY license.

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