I love everything about Christmas.

Planning feasts and festivities with family and friends, end-of-year Christmas concerts, and magical lights everywhere. And the anticipation twinkling in my son’s little eyes as he waits for the big night!

But it’s easy to spend all our time thinking about others’ Christmas wishes, and forget our own.

What do we really want from life? As we approach the end of the year, it’s a good time to reflect on the goals we set ourselves at the start, and celebrate our achievements.

Here’s some questions you can ask yourself to reflect on the year that’s just passed:

  • What three moments are the highlights for the year?

What are the moments that will create memories? Take a snapshot in your mind, and treasure the little things in life.

  • What new skill did you learn this year?

It could be anything from bread-making to business skills. Being a lifelong learner alters your brain chemistry making it easier for you to continue learning at a faster pace, and helping you to adapt to change. Plus it makes life a little more interesting! So give yourself a pat on the back if you challenged yourself with something new.

  • Three things that happened that made you feel great about yourself.

Who doesn’t want to feel valued and successful? Think back on when you deserved a gold star…

  • Who is the best new friend or contact you made this year?

We are all social animals (especially at Christmas time)! Connecting with others is vital to re-invigorating our career, and friends and family are often the source of unexpected opportunities. Networking is a skill you can hone even if you are out of the paid workforce. Have a think about 2017 – who did you connect with this year?

  • What were three setbacks this year?

What didn’t work out, or what opportunities did you miss? What could you change about your mind-set or actions to create a better outcome? Failure is never a bad thing if you learn from it. How have you grown from these experiences?

  • When did you show courage or tenacity this year?

As the old saying goes, ‘when the going gets tough, the tough get going’. Think back on times when you’ve shown grit this year, and what it enabled you to accomplish. It’s this quality within you that will help you to achieve your long-term goals. Go get ‘em, girl!

  • What did you do this year that you are most proud of?

We all spend time reading our kids’ report cards and reflecting with them on the progress they’ve made during the year. What great achievements would you write on your own report card?

In the flurry of festive preparations, make sure you take some time to think about how far you’ve come this year, and acknowledge the effort you have put in to your own personal growth. Just this small step can help you to really focus on what is important to you, and where you might be headed next year.

Christmas really is a time to celebrate. I hope your’s is a cracker!

Donna Thistlethwaite is the professional careers coach behind CareerSmart Mums, a workshop that offers return-to-work mums the practical and motivational help they need to pursue a career that they love. For more information, and to join the CareerSmart Mums network, visit www.careersmartmums.com.au.