Here we are at the end of another beautiful, impactful & FULL year.
If you’re reading this, you’re probably ready for the reset of a fresh year. Not that we need to overhaul and “resolve” to change our lives in the New Year. But something about a fresh start is so life giving, whether it’s a new year, month, week or even day.
So right now, I want you to put your hand on your chest… and I want you to take a few deep, full breaths and allow yourself to feel proud of you right now. Not only for making it through a year of growth and change, but doing so with your heart and joy still in tact. And as intentionally as you could.
Every year for as long as I can remember, I’ve taken the time to reflect on the year that has passed. It’s a ritual that helps me process all that’s happened, and really take in the lessons and amazing things that have happened, before moving on to what’s new.
As a culture we are always ready to move onto the next thing or new thing, sweeping things under the rug, without stopping to gather up the wisdom or acknowledge the lessons and gold that came with a year of life.
So, my hope that you can take this as a little pause for yourself this week. To carve out some time for yourself, and reflect. Make it a ritual, and don’t be afraid to learn and lean in to whatever comes up for you.
My Go-To Ritual for Ending the Year and Starting a New One
The bulk of this exercise will take you sitting down and spending some intentional time doing it to see its power. Just like anything else that can be transforming, it takes some of your energy and attention to feel the full effects.
If you have an hour or even just 30 minutes over the next week or so to sit down, this is such an important exercise not only to reflect on the last year, but to see how it points to what’s next. There’s so much that happens in a year that if we don’t pause and take note of everything that happened, we’ll never know how to change. To make a difference in our habits. To pinpoint holes and goals and so much more.
Ready, mama? Let’s jump in:
1. Let’s start by first looking at your calendar (whether that’s a digital calendar or written weekly planner— wherever you keep your commitments) from just the past year to take an inventory of trips you took or accomplishments you’re proud of, just big massive things you’ve done this year. Twelve months is a LONG time, and it’s easy to forget big moments, whether it’s travel, with family or marriage or work, goals, friendships. Even your relationship with food which can ebb and flow just like any other area of your life. Take a look at this high-level picture of what went on this past year.
If your calendar was really full, was it full of the types of things when you look back on the year that you notice and appreciate for how they filled your time? Taking a look in this way at where you spend your time, especially if you use a calendar that does have your daily appointments and the things you’re working on and through, it can be so helpful.
I look at everything– my iCal for events and dates and appointments and also my day designer for the smaller pieces that fill my weeks. It’s just a fascinating process to kick this whole thing off, seeing what you spent the bulk of your time on or made a lot of progress on. Remind yourself of everything that’s happened– the good, the bad, the ugly, the up and down, the in between.
Then I like to answer this: What things were definite YESSES?! Like so life-giving and such a great use of your time and energy? Make a list of them. These are great to keep fresh in your mind for the next year.
And then, what things weren’t worth the time, energy, stress, or mental space that they took up in your life? Write them down, too. This is key to stop yourself from making the same mistakes next year and get more ruthless about where and what you’re spending your precious energy on.
2. Write down 25 things you are proud of this past year. It can be anything. Don’t be modest for one hour of the year while you do this– too often we brush things aside that do mean a lot to us- even if they are smaller seeming things. If you get any spark of joy or a smile from it, write it down.
3. Pick a word or phrase that summarized the year, overall, and write it down.
4. Pick a word or phrase (or 2 or 3) about the undeniable biggest lessons/obstacles that got presented to you that year. Do they have a theme? Another way to think about this: what called attention to some places you may have not been paying attention to?
5. Share it with someone you love and trust. There’s a certain beauty in saying these things out loud– not to brag, but to truly let them all sink in. To be encouraged, celebrated and to motivate you to do more of the things that matter to you in life.
I’ll give you an example — I’m still working on mine this week to share, and yours can and will be totally different depending on what’s important and life-giving to you.
But, in normal years, here are some of my fav categories to recap and revel in:
- Number of trips taken & the places we traveled
- Number of date nights
- Parties thrown/hosted/attended
- Big highlights of the year
- Best meals
- Cocktail order of the year
- Warm bevvie order of the year
- Motto/phrase/word of the year
- Biggest lesson/game-changer of the year
- Song of the year that sums it all up
- Best investment you made this year for yourself (a time, experience, program, book, etc)
Let’s talk about a 2022 version. Things like:
- best meals you cooked at home
- best hobby or way you spent time at home you never would have had time for before
- best playlist or favorite songs of the year
- best ways you got creative this year for a date night
- word of the year
- biggest highlights
Kind of fun, right?
I like to make it pretty, this one. This is probably what you’ve seen me post on IG each year. 🙂 I love keeping this list to look back on. This will be my 8th year doing this and it’s such a great reminder of all the good stuff you’re doing and experiencing and enjoying each year.
Year in review, done.
Next up: Planning the next year.
Ok, once your year in review is done, I have a few questions for you to be able to put yourself in the driver’s seat a little more and imagine the year ahead.
6. I want you to imagine that it’s December 31, 2023, one year from right now, and thinking through and imagining it was just the perfect year. What made it that way? Write it down.
7. What did you do differently in 2023 to make it so? What did you have to let go of, shift, and change in order to actually show up in the ways you’re wanting to in every area of your life? Write it down.
8. Pick a word for 2023. Write that down, too– how you want to feel, a mindset you want to take on, or a way you want to show up. What is this year about for you?
Ok, you’re done!
Are there any themes you found?
Bits of gold?
You guys, keep these notes. These are treasures for yourself, that help you remember the big things in life, and how you want to live it. Whenever you feel like you need a boost, pull it out again and remind yourself where you want to go, and what needs to happen for you to do so. I personally keep these out and review them weekly, but it’s totally up to you.
And I hope it helps you take a little more control of your future, whether it’s the next month, year, or 10 from now. Living your best life requires some planning and mindfulness and intention, but it’s always worth it. You are worth it. And you got this, sister. 2023, here we come!
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family photos by Kate Price