Well, what a year it has been.
Whilst I don’t generally worry about arbitrary demarcations in the timeline – I will happily set myself new resolutions in the middle of a June and fall asleep around 11pm on New Year’s Eve – I do think there is value in reflection and a spot of planning. And the end of a calendar year feels as good a time as any.
I’ve previously written about planning for the day, week, or fortnight ahead, using a format that helps me articulate the values that feel most relevant, as well as what feelings I crave to feel and what goals I have. Laying these out in black and white help me also see the contradictions – do I want to feel peaceful but I have set myself ambitious goals that add weight to my shoulders? Do what I want to do and how I want to feel align to my values?
But in addition to the more day-to-day and week-to-week planning, I find it helpful to reflect more broadly, more vaguely, at any transition point.
In fact, I tend to take time to support my transitions from one season to the next, or when there’s a likely shift in focus, either as my kids grow and develop into new versions of themselves, or as my demands at work evolve into something new.
So in 2020, I’ve done a lot of stocktaking at a lot of transitions.
There was a change in jobs. Then a lockdown with schools and childcare closed, my husband and I working from home with kids underfoot (sometimes literally), and a global pandemic to add a dose of worry to the stress. Then shifting as my husband took furlough while I worked from home. Then a move from spring to summer, with my youngest son’s nursery reopening and lockdown measures easing, and my husband’s return to work after furlough. Then autumn and the return to school for my eldest and finding a new routine.
And alongside all of these domestic transitions, the world moved through phases of pandemic response, from collective empathy to frustration. Politically the Democratic primaries in the US was left in the dust as Black Lives Matter was reinvigorated around the world, followed by an election the world watched with bated breath.
There’s been a lot of change.
Even writing this, I almost have to catch my breath at the pace of it. I feel a different person to who I was a year ago. All the more reason to take stock, and look to the future so I can be intentional with the person I evolve into.
To help with this, and in case you want to do the same, here are some journal prompts to support us in our reflection.
What changed for me this year?
How do I feel about these changes?
What changes have helped me grow? How have I grown over the past year?
What remains the same? What is the golden thread that links me now to myself at the start of the year [or whatever time you’re reflecting on]?
What from this past year is the compost to feed my future? How can I use the experiences from the past to fuel my present and future?
What do I want to close the door on, leave in the past, get closure from?