End of the Year Reflection | Getting Ready for the New Year

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Another year is about to come to a close. But before we start celebrating, it’s a good idea to do a big end of the year reflection.

The end of the year can bring on different emotions and feelings. One part of our mind is taking over with memories, highlights, and experiences of the past year, while the other is gearing up for making this next year the best one yet.

Many people often focus on the second part and dive straight into making new year’s resolutions. Now I like planning new goals as much as anybody else, but we often forget about the most important step; self reflecting on the past year.

I believe that skipping this important step is the reason many forget about their new year’s resolutions by the end of January. Their new goals don’t end of being as exciting because they didn’t take the time to figure out what is the most important next step in their life.

You really can’t plan ahead without looking back. We may feel determined and optimistic when that calendar flips to January 1st, but our experiences, skills, and mindset don’t change overnight. That’s where reflection time comes in.

Before we can jump into planning mode, we must first take some time to reflect on the past year.

Grab a coffee (or tea), your journal, and a pen, and join me in reflecting on 2022!

end of the year reflection

Why You Should Do an End of the Year Reflection

Doing an end of the year reflection is a great mindfulness practice that helps you track your personal growth over the past year and get into a place of gratitude.

If we let it, time can pass us by super fast. That’s why it’s important to take time to reflect on our past accomplishments and learn from the ups and downs in life.

Self reflection can also help get you into a space of gratitude which helps provide insight as you move into the next chapter of your life.

Related: The Importance of Self-Reflection for Personal Growth

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How to do a New Years Reflection

There are many ways to do a New Year’s reflection, from in-depth free journaling to answering a variety of journal prompts. You could even talk with your family or friends and reflect together on the past year. 

There is no right or wrong way, you just need to find the best method that works for you.

With that being said, my personal favorite way to reflect is to journal with no prompts. I just grab my pen and paper and let my mind wander over what I did the past 12 months. 

I usually end up with five pages of memories, accomplishments, and lessons learned by the end of it. It’s also fun going back and rereading these pages at the end of each year. 

You can also use self reflection journal prompts.

Use some journal prompts that help you specifically focus on accomplishments and disappointments, lessons learned, and things you would like to improve on for the next year. Below are 10 of my favorite end of the year reflection journal prompts.

End of the Year Reflection Journal Prompts

1. What challenges did I overcome this year? What did I learn from them?

2. What new skills did I learn? How do I want to continue to develop them into the new year?

3. What is your favorite memories from the past year? (if you want, take some time here to go through photos you took and print them out or scrapbook them)

4. What new habits did you start? Will you continue to work on them next year?

5. What are you most proud of about the past year?

6. What did you learn about yourself this year?

7. How did your relationships (friends, family, partners) grow this year?

8. What did you fail at this year? How did you pick yourself up after?

9. What would you have done differently? What can you learn from it?

10. What advice would you give to yourself one year ago?

Want to dig a bit deeper into different areas of your life? Try these reflection questions.

Deeper Reflection Questions

Big Accomplishments: Did you graduate college last year? Get a new job? Buy your first car or house? How did you feel when that happened and what obstacles did you have to overcome to get there? 

Big Disappointments: What didn’t go your way last year? What were you hoping for that didn’t happen? What happened that you weren’t prepared for? How can you be grateful for these situations? What lessons did you learn?

Major Life Changes: Did you move to a new state or a new country last year? Did you get married? Did you start a new routine? What major life or lifestyle changes are you most proud of that you made this year?

Personal Achievements: What are you most proud of that you did for yourself last year? Are you better at managing your anger? Do you find yourself complaining less? Did you make an effort to spend more time with family and friends? Did you spend more time on a hobby you love?

Best Memories and Moments: What are the moments that were special to you that want to remember forever?

Areas You Want to Improve: What are things you know you can do better at this year? Do you need to manage your money better? Exercise more? Are you too critical of yourself?

Gratitude: What happened last year that you were thankful for? Write down 20 things you were grateful for from the past year.

End of Year Reflection Activities

Here are few more fun ways to review the past year.

1. Review photos you took this past year.

As you look at pictures you took this year, think about the moments that you captured and be grateful for them.

Think about how you felt and who you were with at the time. Maybe write a few notes in your journal. Or if you’re really ambious, make a small scrapbook of memories.

2. Review this past year’s goals.

What goals did you set out to achieve last year? Did you achieve them or completely forget about them?

Don’t beat yourself up about the goals you didn’t reach. Reasses what happened. Maybe the goals don’t align with who you are anymore.

Use what you learned from last year to set goals that align with your future dream life.

Related: How to Set SMART Goals and Actually Achieve Them

3. Reread your journal entries from this year.

If you kept a journal this year, (and if you didn’t I highly recommend you make a goal to start one this year) reread some, or all, of your journal entries. You’ll be surprised how much happened this year that’s worth remembering.

Maybe you’ll even discover something you forgot about that you want to bring back into the new year.

Related: How to Start a Journal

4. Write a gratitude list.

A great way to end any year is to remind yourself of the things you are grateful for. Even if you thought this past year kind sucked, this practice will help you be thankful for even the more difficult years.

Maybe you got to spend more time with your family, or you picked up a fun new hobby. Maybe you had more time to read again.

Take the wins from any part of your life and reflect on how grateful you are for them.

Ending the year with gratitude will help you start the new year with a better mindset.

Related: What is Mindset and Why is it Important

5. Journal

Like I mentioned before, I love journaling about the past year. It’s a great way to reflect on the good and the bad times of the past year, review life lessons you learned, and what goals you achieved. Sit down for about 15-30 minutes and just write anything that comes to mind.

Wrapping Up Your End of the Year Reflection

As we come to a close on 2021, don’t forget to cherish the memories you made this year. Some years are harder than others, but it’s important to stay positive as we head into a new year.

A new year is a new start but only if you make it be. Learn from your past, remember what you accomplished, and look forward to the future!

Happy New Year Everyone! Make 2022 the best year yet!!

Get ready to crush your New Year’s Resolutions with the biggest planning party of the year. Check out the Love Your Goals Workshop ⬇️

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1 thought on “End of the Year Reflection | Getting Ready for the New Year

  1. […] Related: How to Reflect on the Past Year to Get Ready for 2021 […]

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