Last days of 2021: Journaling prompts to look back and move forward

Whenever something comes to an end, there’s a very specific kind of energy. It invites us to pause for a while, be still, reflect. It’s an opportunity to take a look around, back and forward, so that we can start the next chapter clear and fresh. While we can do this at any time, I feel like the last days of the year are always a particularly powerful time for it.

The end of the year: An invitation to take stock

This period is an opportunity to take stock: What did the passing year bring? How much of that do we want to keep and carry into the new one? Is there anything we’d like to leave behind?

Over the years, I’ve developed a little framework to guide this process, that I am sharing with you in this article. Read on to find inspiration for a yearly review and outlook.

End-of-year reflection ritual: How it works and what you need

I encourage you to use the questions below to journal (yes, with an actual pen and on real paper), to look back, process and get ready to move forward. Writing our thoughts down by hand creates a little gap between ourselves and our thoughts. This gap is where new perspectives and insights can be found. So get your pen and paper out and let if flow.

Here’s what you need for this end-of-the-year ritual:

  • Pen and paper
  • A quiet space without distractions
  • About 1-2 hours of your precious time
    (you can also split it and go through one topic at a time)

Feel free to light a candle or some incense, put on your favorite music and prepare yourself a cup of tea, coffee or my new-found favorite: Cacao. Get cozy, be present, open your mind and heart and go within. And most importantly: be honest. This practice is for you to gain insights on how this year really went and what changes you might want to make for the new one.

Create time and space for your end-of-the-year ritual.

Areas to reflect on by the end of the year

I organized this ritual in 8 general areas. They are:

  1. Achievements
  2. Lessons learned
  3. Activities
  4. People
  5. Thoughts
  6. Feelings
  7. Future me
  8. Action plan

In the following, we will look at each of these categories in detail.

1. Achievements: Celebrating your wins & creating momentum

This area is all about focusing on what you’ve accomplished this year and gaining clarity on what’s next.

Review: What did I accomplish this year?Outlook: What do I want to accomplish next year?
Which goals did I achieve in 2021?

What am I proud to have accomplished this year?

What am I now able to do that I wasn’t a year ago?

How can I acknowledge and celebrate these wins?
What do I want to achieve by the end of 2022?

What do I want to look back on a year from now?

Which skills do I want to acquire/develop this year?

2. Lessons learned: Another year older & wiser

What if you chose to believe that life doesn’t happen to you, but for you? That everything that’s been going on this year had a purpose, was supposed to teach you something? What could your personal hidden 2021-lessons be?

Review: What did I learn this year?Outlook: How can I incorporate these lessons?
Which lessons did 2021 bring for me?

In which areas did I evolve and grow?

How has my perspective changed?

What am I aware of now that I wasn’t a year ago?
How can I use the past year’s lesson to move
forward in the new one?

What changes can I make in my thoughts,
behaviors and life to honor these lessons?

3. Activities: Look at what you did!

Here, we look at how we spent our time this year and how we would like to spend it in the new one.

Tip: Don’t believe everything you think. Check your calendar, journal, pictures… Anything you have to give you some insights on what you actually did this year rather than what you’d like to believe you did.

Review: How did I spend my time this year?Outlook: My time in 2022
Where did I use my time wisely in 2021?

Where do I feel like I’ve wasted my time?

What did an average day look like for me this year?
What would I like to do less of in the coming year?

What would I like to do more of in 2022?

How can I make space for my desired activities?

4. People: Who you are is who you’re with

You know how they say that you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with? Assuming that’s at least partly true, I’d say it’s well worth looking at who that is.

Review: Who were „my people“ in 2021?Outlook: My 2022 tribe
Who did I spend most of my time with and why?

Who inspired me in this past year?

Who did I learn from?

Who encouraged and supported me?

Who was there for me in difficult times?

Who pulled me down?
Who do I want to spend less time with next year?

Who do I want to spend more time with in 2022?

What kind of people do I want to call in?

5. Thoughts: Happy mind, happy life

It all starts in your head. So let’s see what’s going on up there.

Review: What did I think this year?Outlook: Thinking 2022
Which thoughts kept circling through my head in 2021?

What did I think repeatedly about myself, my life or others?

Which thoughts did I have on an average day
(e.g. when waking up or before going to sleep)?

Which thought patterns did I develop or break?

Which belief systems did I install or let go?
Which thoughts do I want to let go in the new year?

What do I want to think more of?
(Tip: Write out a list of positive affirmations
to repeat to yourself on a regular basis.)

6. Feelings: Let’s dig deep

Remember: All feelings are welcome and valid. Let them be what they are.

Review: How did I feel this year?Outlook: Feeling pretty 2022!
What were my most present feelings in 2021?

How did I feel on an average day?

What were my 3 happiest moments this year?

What were my 3 saddest moments this year?

Which feelings did I allow and welcome?

Are there any feelings I might have suppressed?

How did I process my feelings this year?
Which feelings do I want to let go of in 2022?

What do I want to feel more of in the new year?

Are there any feelings I might still need to process
or release?

How can I do that?

7. Future me: I love who I’m becoming.

I want you to know that you are whole and complete just as you are. You are worthy of everything you desire. And you are free to become whoever you want to be.

Review: Who did I become this year?Outlook: My 2022 Self
How did I change, evolve or grow this year?

Which characteristics did I add or let go and why?

In which moments or situation did I feel most comfortable,
confident and authentic?

What do I love about myself right now?

Is there any part of me that I have a hard time accepting?

What are my unique strengths?

Who do I want to be a year from now?

How can I better embody my most authentic self?

How can I integrate and accept all parts of me?

How can I use my unique strengths?

Which parts of me do I want to develop further?

Where do I want to be a year from now?

What do I want to be doing?

How do I want my every-day life to look like?

8. Action plan: How to make 2022 YOUR year

A new year. A fresh start. 365 blank pages. What do you want to fill them with?

Intentions: What do I desire?Action steps: What can I do to move towards what I want?
What is my intention and overall theme for this new year?

What do I want to focus my time and energy on?

What do I want to call in?

What do I want to bring into the world?

What can I do to make the new year exactly
what I want it to be?

What can I do today to make sure the new year
starts in the best way possible?

What will I do every week and month of 2022 to
move towards where I want to be?
Tip: Write out an outline of a specific focus area
for each month that will help you get you where
you want to go. Review it at the beginning of
every month and write down 1 concrete action
step to take every single week or day.

Which routines can I establish that support my intentions?

I hope you found this useful. If you do, feel free to share the article with someone who could benefit from it.

This time in between years is a powerful one to embrace change and move forward. Know that I am here to support you through it. I will be offering specific integration coaching sessions to help you translate your intentions into actions from later January on. There will be limited spots available – e-mail me now to save your spot.

I wish you a calm, peaceful ending of this chapter we call 2021 and a beautiful, light start of the new year. Keep shining your light and walking your path. You got this. 🤗

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