The start of the year symbolizes a new beginning - it’s the opening sentence of the next chapter, a blank page and a brand new pen. As we run around getting ready for end-of-the-year festivities, trying to cram as much as we can into the last few weeks of the year, we often forget to check in with ourselves. This blog is meant to serve as that check-in.
It’s important to reflect, acknowledge our progress, and create a space of self-compassion. Celebrate your accomplishments and honor your growth over the past year.
Start with these journal prompts to check in with how you felt about this past year:
1. What goals did you set for yourself?
2. What are some of your favorite memories?
3. What was the greatest challenge you faced?
4. What was the biggest lesson you learned?
By answering the questions above, you’ve created an awareness for how you'd like the new year to be. Awareness grants you the ability to notice your pattern and create a new one.
Since we don’t have a magic crystal ball, it can be hard to set goals that we know we’ll be able to accomplish. If last year's list of goals doesn’t have many check marks - that’s ok! Change is inevitable, and oftentimes, the goals we set for ourselves must shift with that change.
Let’s see what changed over the past year:
1. What were your major life events?
2. Did any of your intentions change?
3. What were some good changes you made?
4. Name 3 small things you are proud of accomplishing:
5. Name something you felt set you back:
Now that we’ve reflected on the past year, it’s time to reconnect and set intentions for the New Year. Just like we’ve noticed, these intentions can change, so don’t put too much pressure on yourself when setting them.
To help you get into the intention-setting mindset, let’s try a quick meditation.
Pick a quiet spot where you feel comfortable. Close your eyes and take a deep breath. As you do this, acknowledge the parts of your body that feel tense. Take long, deep breaths so that you reach those tense areas and allow yourself to relax. Drop your shoulders, unclench your jaw, resist the urge to grab your phone for a distraction - this moment is all about you!
Once you’re feeling relaxed, answer these questions out loud, in your head, or jot them down in a journal:
1. As you head into this new year, how do you feel?
2. What goals do you have for yourself?
3. What might be an obstacle that gets in the way of your goals?
4. What are your greatest strengths?
5. How can you use your strengths to overcome the obstacles?
With this new awareness, we find our WHY.
Answer the journal prompts below to clearly see the future you’re striving to create. When you can see what you want, the path to get there also becomes clearer:
1. What motivates and energizes you? If you could put them all in a day, what would that day look like?
2. Where do you want to place your focus next year?
3. Write a letter to your future self to open in a year from now. Fill this letter with anything you'd like to let your future self know.
In the book Atomic Habits, James Clear notes that the moment you visualize your future, your identity has shifted, and the systems that you create will then support this new identity. The habits and activities that we commit to are not set to change who we are, but to support the person we’re becoming. For example, if you choose to run a marathon, the moment you visualize yourself crossing the finish line, you are a runner.
You are already the person living in the world that you visualized. You got this!
So, with your vision for the future clear and ready….
WHAT'S YOUR WORD?
Finding your WORD is an integral part of aligning your priorities for the upcoming year. Throughout the year, you may find that your priorities change, and that's ok! This means that you are making progress on your goals. Continue to check in with yourself and your goals every few months to see if your WORD still resonates with you. Here are some journal prompts to help you find your new WORD:
1. What WORDs remind you of your goals for the new year?
2. From this list of WORDs, what is the one that resonates most?
3. How will this WORD serve as a daily reminder of what you're working toward?
After seeing, feeling, and knowing the future you want to create for yourself, it’s time to recommit to your actions. The key is CONSISTENCY. Maybe it’s not one big change, but one small change that you practice every day.
James Clear writes, “Can one tiny change transform your life? It’s unlikely you would say so. But what if you made another? And another? And another? At some point, you will have to admit that your life was transformed by one small change. The holy grail of habit change is not a single 1 percent improvement, but a thousand of them.”
1. How will your WORD help you to achieve your goals this year?
2. What is one small step that you can take every day to move closer to your goals?
3. What is stopping you from starting?
We’ve also created a worksheet that you can come back, reflect, remember your WHY, and track your progress!