The end of a year evokes different feelings for different people. Some look forward to joining the festivities and merriment of the holidays, while others may dread spending them without their loved ones. Some feel nostalgic while looking back on the good times over the year, while others may be relieved to put bad experiences behind them and start afresh in the new year. Whatever your thoughts and feelings are this time of the year, it is important to take stock of your journey over the past year while preparing to usher in the new year, and all the new experiences, adventures and challenges it may bring.
- Pause and reflect – It is important to take a moment from your hectic life to pause and consciously reflect on your experiences from the past year – the highs and lows, the challenges and triumphs. Being mindful of your experiences can allow you to truly analyze and understand your thoughts and actions, help you be more authentic individual, and enable you to be more attuned to your own goals and aspirations. Self-reflection allows us to interpret past occurrences so that we can move forward with purpose and optimism.
- Celebrating accomplishments – Be proud of everything you achieved over the past year, no matter how big or small. Be it personal, educational, professional – you deserve to celebrate your wins and successes. Sometimes we only measure our success by the goals we accomplished. But remember that even seemingly unsuccessful attempts reflect progress and potential for growth. Stepping out of your comfort zone, opening yourself up to new opportunities and experiences, remaining persistent and resilient in the face of setbacks – all of these demonstrate courage and initiative, and are equally worth celebrating as those milestones that were successful achieved.
- Lessons learned – Having the advantage of hindsight allows us to focus on lessons we can take away from bad experiences, setbacks, missed opportunities, and unrealized goals. If the past year was particularly challenging, don’t feel disheartened if you weren’t able to accomplish what you set out to do – instead, reflect on the insights, knowledge, and skills that you gained over the past year. Think of what worked and didn’t work, and use those lessons as an opportunity to learn, grow and plan for future goals.
- Learn to let go – The end of the year is the perfect opportunity to let go of things that have been weighing you down – unhealthy habits, grudges, toxic relationships, self-destructive patterns of thought and behavior, and so on. Letting go of things that deplete your energy and tax your mental health can improve your mood and confidence, make room for growth, and open you up to new experiences. While it is easier said than done, letting go of bad experiences in the past will help you move forward with positivity and optimism.
- Practice gratitude – Even if the past year did not play out the way you envisioned, take a moment to appreciate everything in your life that you are thankful for. If there’s one thing we can take away from the pandemic, it is to not take anything we value for granted. Practicing gratitude allows you to reframe your perspective on life, helps you cope with challenges and setbacks, and over time can even alleviate stress, anxiety, and depression.