This End-of-Year Reflection Practice Will Help You Set New Year’s Resolutions

As we step into the new year, many people are talking about making resolutions for the upcoming year. Before you commit to your new year’s resolutions, you might find it useful to go through this end-of-year reflection practice. 

The basic idea: Go through your memories from this past year, reflecting on and making a list of moments that made you feel happy, proud, accomplished, inspired, or excited.

  • Get something to write in. A physical journal or a blank digital document. 
  • Places to jog your memory:
    • Photos – This practice works especially well for those who like to take photos. Open up your digital photo gallery, starting on January 1 of this past year. If you are diligent about “favoriting” photos, you may choose to narrow down your scan to just the favorites folder. Go through and reflect on events and moments that happened throughout the year.
    • Calendar – Going through your physical or digital calendar is another way to reflect on the year. Do it the same way: Start in January and move forward chronologically, stopping on events that you’d like to record.
    • Social posts – Another place to reflect on the previous year is on social platforms, if you are someone that posts there.
    • Your journal – If you journal, you may choose to go through your journal entries. Or you can use it to revisit a specific day or event.

  • What to focus on:
    • Write down anything that leaves you with a good feeling. If you find an event or a moment that brings with it positive feelings, write it down. It can be a sentence or two, or more if you feel inspired. For example: “January 2023: Went to the museum with Sarah and Jordan. We had an interesting discussion about several of the impressionist paintings. It was a great kickoff to the new year.”
    • Include beautiful, mundane moments. Like that morning you got up early to take your laundry to the laundromat and saw the sun hit the icy blades of grass in the empty field on the edge of town.
    • “I’m so glad I did it.” Was there an event you attended that you were reluctant to go to, but after you did, you were so glad that you made the effort? Write that down! Reminding yourself of things you did that were outside of your comfort zone is a great way to cultivate the self confidence to make inspiring resolutions for the upcoming year.

By reflecting on what brought you joy this year, you build a solid foundation for setting new year’s resolutions that truly reflect what’s important to you. A side benefit: You will probably end up being reminded of activities you wish you had done and people you wish you’d spent more time with. The beauty of this practice is that it focuses on the high points, while giving you the opportunity to make note of things you have yet to do. Hopefully, you are left feeling inspired and hopeful for the new year, with a clarity about what resolutions that will guide you down a bright and stimulating path this upcoming year.

Want more inspiration? Here’s a downloadable PDF worksheet with additional reflection prompts for you to fill out.

If one of your goals this upcoming year is to work on your relationship with food or body image, an Evolve clinician can help. Evolve Wellness Group was the first outpatient eating disorder group practice in the San Francisco Bay Area. Our therapists and registered dietitians work together to help clients heal. Schedule a complimentary 15-minute consultation today.