How to Reflect on Your Year in an Actually Useful Way


Maybe this year was shiny, bright, and amazing. Maybe it was 12 months you’d rather forget. But as the New Year hovers just around the corner, regardless of how this one went, reflecting can be helpful—and not in a ‘learn from your mistakes’ way.

“Looking back on the year is not about beating yourself up and seeing what you need to do better,” says Lodro Rinzler, meditation expert and teacher at MNDFL in New York City. “It’s about rejoicing.” Even if you have plenty to rejoice about—a job, good friends, daily meals—it can be tough to know where to start. Or it can feel all too easy to dwell on disappointments.

“We tend to spend a lot of time and attention watering the weeds,” says Emily Fletcher, founder of Ziva Meditation. “And then we’re growing the weeds. So this is a moment to water the flowers and pay attention to those.”

In other words, as you think about the past year, if negative thoughts start to creep in, it’s OK to sit with them for a moment, but then bring your attention back to the positive. “Remember to be gentle with yourself,” says Ellie Burrows, a personal development coach and one of the founders of MNDFL. For these exercises, it’s important to let your thoughts flow freely rather than scrutinizing them, Burrows says.

With that in mind, we’ve outlined two apporaches for reflecting on your year: One involves a month-by-month breakdown, and the other looks at the different areas of your life….

What do you think?