written by season journals
photo by Lauren Pennington Photography
A Season to Reflect
As we come to the end of the calendar year and welcome an introspective wintering season, it can be beneficial to use this time to reflect on the past year. Perspective is powerful. Without reflection, we might end up moving through life on auto-pilot — never uncovering a deeper understanding of who we are. Gaining perspective by looking back is a tool that helps us create the life we intentionally hope to live. This is where a Personal Year-End Review can help.
How to Start
It’s important to evaluate your year without judging yourself. You may have crushed a goal or been served a giant life curveball. Whatever you experienced this year, give yourself a dose of grace and understanding. Celebrate yourself for arriving today. Remember, you are important, independent of any highs and lows you may have encountered along this journey of life.
Use these categories and questions to take an account of your year. Write freely and take as long as you would like to complete each question. Write whatever comes naturally to you.
TIP: If you’re having a hard time remembering what happened this year because you can barely remember what you had for dinner two days ago, look through your calendar, planner, or photos on your phone. This may help jog your memory.
Personal Year-End Review
MVP of the Year
Who helped you through a challenge this year, who did you get closer to, or who did you meet that changed your life in a positive way? Write about how they made an impact.
Biggest Change or Transition
What change did you experience? Change can be physical or emotional, personal or professional. Write about how you changed as a result of this transition.
Celebrate a win. Write down one thing you are proud of. How did you feel after accomplishing this? Did you celebrate yourself in any way? If not, write how you’ll honor yourself now.
What was the hardest day or season for you this year? Write about how this affected you in the moment, and how you feel now as you reflect on it.
What day above them all stands out as a great day? This can align with your proudest moment, or be a completely separate event. What about this day made it so memorable? How did you feel?
Biggest Personal Challenge
Challenges can be painful in the moment, but it’s possible to experience growth after we move through them. And if not growth, we may have learned something new about ourselves or those around us. Write about the biggest personal challenge you went through this year.
Biggest Vocational/Professional Challenge
Whatever your day-to-day life looks like, write about a challenge that you experienced in this category. Did you overcome this challenge? If so, how did that make you feel? If you’re still working through this challenge, what is helping you process it?
Did you have any big realizations or learnings this year? Who or what helped you discover this insight into yourself?
Patterns and Habits
What new habit did you start or continue that added to a more positive life? What is a pattern you fell into that isn’t having a positive effect on your life?
Honor Your Journey
Before you begin thinking about January 1 and all the excitement (and sometimes pressure) that comes with the new year, honor yourself for the journey you took this year. You are not the same person today as you were one year ago. Sit with that sentiment for a moment and reflect on what you wrote above. Then, when the time feels right for you, take these powerful perspectives into account when you begin to visualize what 2024 might hold for you.