I love New Year’s because I love reflecting and goal setting, so each new year, I try to sit down and take in what the past year has meant to me, and plan out what I want my new year to look like. This year, I didn’t get to this before the clock struck twelve, but I think it’s so important, I snuck it in this past week. Here is my end of year reflection routine, inspired by some of my favorite people on the internet.
I begin by opening Google photos on my phone and reviewing all the pictures I have taken, starting from January. This helps me remember everything I have done or seen over the year, which is helpful when I go about answering the following questions:
-What trips did I take? Obviously this list was shorter than in other years, but this lets me reflect on all the fun I had during the year.
-What things did I do for the very first time this year? This could be anything from filing your own taxes for the first time, to learning how to fly fish, or to seeing a moose in real life. (All true for me this year!)
–What were my favorite new books of 2020? (Untamed and Writing Down the Bones, to name a few.)
-This next one was new for me this year, but I’m going to keep it in the rotation going forward: note your “magic moments.” These are the times over the year when I felt most content or joyful, like reading in my hammock, or watching the sunsets in the park. I love this one because it helps me collect data on myself and what makes me feel happiest. This exercise helps me strive to create more of those moments in the new year and reminds me how meaningful the day-to-day things can be.
-Finally, the real meat of the reflection comes in this question: What did I learn this year? As I faced new challenges and situations, how did I grow? I find that separating into the following categories helps me collect my thoughts better: Work, Hobbies (Audiobooks and Writing for me are each their own category), Soul, Relationships/Family, Health, Finances, Fun, and Personal. This takes the most time and effort, but I work at it until I have 3-5 bullets for each category, on average.
Finally, I look back at my 2019 goals and evaluate how I did. What did I accomplish? I write down what I am most proud of for the year, and what areas I feel like I let myself down. This gives me a starting point for setting goals for the new year.
Once I have finished reflecting on the previous year, I take a moment and thank God for how the past year has challenged and shaped me, and for the joy, laughter and growth I experienced. I put my hand over my heart, take a few deep breaths, and sit with it a minute. When I am ready, I exhale to let it all go.
Now comes the time to create a vision for the year to come. What did I fail to complete last year that I want to carry forward? What new goals do I have? Using the same categories above, I write down my intentions for the year to come. Usually there are about 2-3 bullet points under each heading and sometimes I star the most important ones.
I end the whole process by settling on one word that I can easily hold on to for the year that sums up the heart of my goals, and I write it at the top of the page. I use it as a sort of mantra, if you will.
And that’s it. This is a practice I have done for a few years now, and in some measure, ever since I was little. It keeps me focused on what I want out of life, since it can be very easy for moments to slip away from me in the form of mindless scrolling, or TV watching. It helps me process all I have been through, and prepare for the year ahead. I hope it helps you too, even in the smallest way. Facing the year ahead can be intimidating, especially in a time of such uncertainty, but I find that looking at what I can control makes me excited to shape my life. Happy New Year!
Many of these prompts were inspired by Mimi and Alex Ikonn through a vlog they published a few years ago. Since the publication of the original vlog, they have created an entire journal to help with setting goals and reflecting on the year. I love their other two journals, so I may purchase this for next year. This video walks you through the journal which contains additional reflection prompts.
I also drew inspiration from Rachel Brathen’s (Yogagirl) podcast “Conversations from the Heart” that she put out in 2019. She gave me the idea for sorting into categories, as well as adding what I am most proud of, and reflecting on what mistakes I made throughout the year. It’s a long one!
If you like this kind of stuff, you can also check out my dear friend Jorinde’s blog on her take on New Year’s resolutions. She also has a great follow-up post about how to make your resolutions stick.
Did anything jump out at you to add to your routine or try on your own? What practices do you have for starting the new year? Thanks for being here!