Yay for May! Learning The Art of Reflecting by Lieutenant Colonel Theresa Bodnar

May is a time for celebration and appreciation.  For many of you, school is coming to an end.  Summer and freedom are on the horizon.  It’s an exciting time.  But also a time for reflection.

When you take a look back on the year, you will see how much you’ve changed and grown.  You will remember times of joy and struggle, and hopefully will remember more good than bad.  When you walk out the school doors the last day of the school year, you are not the same person who walked in at the beginning.  You are smarter, you are stronger, you are better.

I’m a huge advocate of self-reflection. I think it’s the perfect time to intentionally review your year, to celebrate you, and to appreciate others and life! But, how can you do that?

I recommend you ask yourself four pivotal questions, write down the answers, and perform an act of celebration, gratitude, or appreciation for each.

Here are four questions to ask yourself when reflecting on your past year.

Question 1:  What was your biggest accomplishment? 

Did you get good grades?  Were you MVP on your basketball team?  Did you volunteer at school or in your community?  Did you simply just survive?  Regardless of your answer,  you did it!  And that accomplishment deserves to be celebrated.  Give yourself a pat on the back.   Savor the good feelings.  Share it with a good friend who can help magnify your joy.  Go get some ice cream!

Question 2:  How do you think you’ve changed the most?  

Change is growth, growth indicates learning and learning is worthy of celebration.  Did you pick up a new skill?  Did you discover something new about yourself?  Did you become kinder or learn how to deal with stress better?  Whatever it is, kudos for your accomplishment!  One of the ways to celebrate this is to share what you’ve learned with someone else.    Sharing is caring and it also gives you a sense of mastery.

Question 3: Who was your biggest teacher or coach mentor this year?

Your teachers and coaches put a lot of time into teaching you new things, and supporting you academically,  emotionally, and physically.  A lot of times, they don’t realize their tremendous impact.  They like to hear “good job” and “thank you” too.  Write a gratitude letter and give it to that adult in your life who’s inspired you the most this school year.  He/she will appreciate it so much!

Question 4:  Which friend had your back and supported you the most?

Maybe you had a tough year, and there’s one friend who you trusted most with your struggles and was your biggest cheerleader.  Maybe you had an amazing year, and you had one friend who was always there to celebrate with you and deepen those joyful experiences.  Whoever it is, now is the time to do something nice for them.  Buy a small gift, write a letter, give a warm hug, buy them ice cream!

Before summer break fun clouds your memories, take the time out to reflect,  celebrate, and appreciate all that you’ve accomplished this school year and all of those who have supported you on the way.

And wear sunscreen.

BodnerAbout the Author: Lieutenant Colonel Theresa BODNAR, Monthly Mentor, is a full time Soldier in the Army, a certified Army Master Resilience Trainer (MRT), a Positive Psychology Practitioner, Eating Psychology Educator, Author of Get UPP!: Understanding Positive Psychology, and an aspiring Motivational Speaker. She is excited to get to know you and share all sorts of positive psychology tools, inspirational blogs, and poetry with you. Read More…

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