Think of 2015 as a 365-day journey - one that's already over somehow (they all go by so quickly, don't they?). It had high points, low points, surprises, and tragedies. How prepared were you to handle them all?
Reflection is only useful when it's purposeful. Looking back only to wish we'd done things differently does little good. What helps is asking ourselves how we could have packed better for the occasion.
Like a suitcase, your life has limited space. You can only cram so much in it before it grows unwieldy. Fortunately, you and you alone get to decide what you want to bring for 2016.
Need help getting started? Here are a few packing list suggestions for the New Year.
Open-mindedness: Too often are our minds made up about how certain experiences will play out. When we assume we know what to expect, we lose our appreciation of the randomness and freshness that makes life so great. Dare to let people and places prove you wrong.
Respect: As world travelers, our happiness depends on how we treat others. Every positive impression we leave, wherever we go, is a piece of a bridge. These bridges get stronger, and sharing across them gets easier, when we build them with our best materials.
Compassion: The more we strive to understand people's unique perspectives and challenges, the more tolerant we become. Make more of an effort to think outside of yourself and you will see the world with wiser, more compassionate eyes.
Spontaneity: The kid in us cries for attention every now and then. When's the last time you listened and played? Sometimes we do such a good job of planning our careers and our lives that we miss out on the joy of going off course once in a while. Remember to have fun.
Sense of humor: This is no joke. Your sense of humor is one of your most valuable belongings. Protect it passionately. Laughter has a transformative power. It brings people closer together and can be a shining light during dark times. All you have to do is look for the punch line.
Professionalism: Be sure to leave enough room for a suit-and-tie attitude. Don't lose focus of what you want to accomplish. Pursue your goals methodically and with discipline. Take time to evaluate your progress regularly, noting where you've fallen short and how you can improve. It will make packing for 2017 much easier.