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Ideas to help you reflect on your year

Updated: Dec 12, 2023

Reflection gives you the opportunity to see things you may otherwise have missed. We tend to value 'doing' and being productive much more than we do, pausing and thinking.

But in those moments of quiet reflection we can seek to understand, we can observe behaviours, we can consider what we have learnt and how we would like to move forward.

And the end of the year provides a great time to look back. When you think back over your 2023, what do you notice? How would you summarise the year that you’ve had? Taking into account your work life, your relationships, your well-being, your times with friends and family, the celebrations and the harder times.

What can you take from the moments of joy? How can you see experiences through fresh eyes? What have you learnt from the more difficult challenges you’ve faced? How will you use this to shape your 2024?

Whatever your year has brought you, I invite you to pause and reflect. We learn so much from our experiences when we give ourselves space to look back with curiosity. You can then move forward with intention towards the bright year in front of you.

Here are some different ways you can reflect on your year gone by and prepare for the new year ahead.

1. 3 things

Take time to think about 3 things that have gone well, 3 things that have challenged you, 3 things you are grateful for and 3 things you'd like to differently next year.

2. Write a letter to yourself

Take time to write yourself a generous letter highlighting the key things that stand out for you (big and small, light and dark moments). In this letter you can share the main things you've learnt and share some advice with yourself for the year ahead.

3. Journaling prompts - looking back

Here are some journaling prompts to get you thinking about the last 12 months:

  • Summarise your year in a word, phrase or short sentence

  • What have you learnt about yourself?

  • How have you adapted to changes around you?

  • What changes have you made this year?

  • How do these changes align with your needs and values?

  • What have you done that has surprised you?

  • What lessons can you take from this?

  • What do you recall from this year that sparks joy in your heart?

  • How do you want to retain this (or do/get more of this) next year?

  • What has drained you?

  • How can you remove this or limit it in the year to come?

  • Describe anything you feel is 'unfinished or incomplete' - what would you like to do with these things next year? Let them go? Re-evaluate? Re-prioritise? Continue to move forward with them?

4. Journaling prompts - looking ahead

Use these prompts to help you look ahead:

  • How would words and phrases would you like to use to summarise your 2024?

  • How can you incorporate more of this [insert word or phrase] in your work, life, relationships, well-being?

  • What have you noticed is missing from the last 12 months that you would like to incorporate into the new year?

  • What do you need to do for yourself to ensure you get this?

  • Think of your four bodies - mental, physical, emotional, spiritual. How will you nurture each of these in 2024?

  • What is your most heartfelt desire for yourself next year?

  • If money was no object, what would you do?

  • If time was endless, what would you do?

  • If you could grant yourself one wish, what would it be?

  • What is the greatest gift you could give yourself?

  • Think of one area of your life (work, hobbies, relationships, well-being...). In 12 months time, what would you like to be different in this area? What are three things you can do to get started? Who can you share this with to make you more accountable?

5. Stop doing

Reflect on the last year - using photos, messages or conversations with people you're close to. Then create a list of everything you wish to stop doing or give up in 2024. We're very familiar with writing to-do lists, but what about 'Not to-do'? These could be career, personal, health and well-being items. Or they could simply be an account of all the things you're going to say no to in 2024.

6. Buddy up

Sometimes it's useful to reflect with a friend or someone close to you. It's important to do this with someone you trust and would want to share this moment with you. You could take it in turns to actively listen while the other person shares:

  • their greatest moment of 2023

  • their biggest challenge

  • one thing they've learnt about themselves

  • what they would like to change in 2024

Sharing with other people can make us more motivated to go through with the things we've said we'll do but also means we can check in with each other later on, for support or encouragement.

If you enjoy these ideas and prompts, join me for journaling in 2024 - it's free and it's monthly. Watch this space.

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