Life can seem particularly hectic in December.
Just rolling of off Thanksgiving with various religious & spiritual holidays, time off of school, parties with loved ones and friends, and the grand finale that is New Year’s, time can rush by faster than we’re prepared for. And everyone seems to be making plans–for hosting parties, attending parties, giving gifts, how they’ll change in the new year, and more.
But before jumping into setting goals or making resolutions for the new year, can you take time to sit with the year you’ve just experienced?
While your life may not change dramatically from day to day, I bet if you remembered where you were in your life last December, you would find that you’re a whole different person now. That growth deserves to be noticed and celebrated.
Below are 10 journal prompts to use to reflect on the last year before making plans for the new ones.
Use them to journal, or just as a guide to some quiet self reflection; take one or take them all it’s up to you!
Describe a moment or experience you remember learning something new about yourself:
You may know yourself best, but there’s always something new to learn. As we grow and change, we give ourselves endless opportunities to meet new and unexplored parts of ourselves. What moments like that stuck out for you over the last year?
What was something you were surprised to learn about yourself this year?
Perhaps you thought you were naturally more introverted than extroverted, but have learned it was actually unmanaged anxiety obstructing your feelings of joy, contentment, and rejuvenation when spending your time with others. Or perhaps it was the other way around and you always thought you were mainly an extravert, but discovered it was actually people pleasing tendencies making you feel as though you needed to be more social than was truly natural for you.
What happy moments stick out to you when you think back on the last year?
No one is happy all year long, and hoping you will be is a way toxic positivity can get in the way of your emotional contentment. But, it also means that when those very happy moments do come around, they feel extra wonderful. Take time to reflect on moments that brought you joy over the last year. What was it about them that made you happy? Who were you with? What were you doing?
What sad moments stick out to you when you think back on the last year?
Every year is a mix of good and bad. But we can learn a lot about ourselves from our moments of sorrow, just like we can from our moments of joy. What were some emotionally difficult, or just plain sad times from the last year? What made them so? How did you get through them?
When was a time in the last year when you felt you were actively living your values?
Whether you value community, honesty, loyalty, communication–whatever it is. Our values define how we would like to move through our world, our lives, our relationships. When did you feel most aligned with your values? What were you doing? Was it easy or difficult? Did it feel rewarding? What was the alternative?
Was keeping track of your needs hard for you this year? (Did you burn out a lot?)
How were you at taking care of yourself over the last year? If you burned out a lot, it could be a sign that you need to pay better attention to your needs.
When did you feel challenged this year?
We grow when we’re challenged. When was a time you were challenged this last year, either in your world view, your understanding of something, etc.? How did you respond to being challenged?
Describe a time in the last year that would have been easier to manage if you had asked for help:
Asking for help is hard–so hard sometimes that we can’t even bring ourselves to do it. And sometimes it’s only with the benefit of hindsight that we can see how much better off we would have been if we did not try to manage something alone. Use this as a reminder that you have people you can turn to in order to ask for help, and that deep down you know you deserve to do so!
Describe a time you felt you were vulnerable in the last year:
Being vulnerable can be very scary; but it’s also one of the only ways we grow, and it’s the only way we can let people truly know us. But it is still worth celebrating when we’re able to do it! Take time to remember those moments of vulnerability, if you had the urge to fight them, how it felt being vulnerable, and how you were rewarded for it.
How do you want to honor your growth in the coming year:
Looking back on how much you’ve grown, how well you’ve begun to come into yourself, to tune into and tend to your needs, you should be proud of yourself! Devoting time to learning about yourself, about how you move through life & relationships, and how you manage obstacles is no easy task. Not only should you take a moment to celebrate whatever growth you’ve accomplished this year, remember to keep honoring as you move forward to. What moments of growth have been most impactful for you? How do you want to nurture that growth as you move on into a new year?