There’s no better way to get clear on your thoughts, desires and beliefs than to write them down on real, solid paper. And no, the Notes app on your phone doesn’t count. Taking the time to journal with an actual pen and paper will lend you the clarity to understand yourself so much better, without constant digital distractions pestering you.
If you only journal once a year, then the New Year is the best time to sit down with your pen and let it flow. Journaling will give you a chance to review your year, while you set intentions and goals for the next one.
So light a candle, make yourself a cup of tea, and grab the prettiest leather-bound notebook you can find — because we have some of the most enlightening journal prompts for the end of one year (and the beginning of the new one!)
What am I most grateful for from the past year?
Take a moment to jot down a list of the people, places, events and achievements you feel great about from throughout the year. Gratitude is one of the most important and transformative practices, and often using a journal to write down the things we’re thankful for amplifies all those warm and fuzzy feelings. Whenever you feel sad, come back to this list and remind yourself of all the wonderful things that have come into your life recently. There’s much more to come!
Which of my thoughts, behaviours or actions didn’t work out for me this year?
In the same vein, it’s just as important to recognize what isn’t working for us, as it is to acknowledge the good stuff. Over the past year, did you encounter a situation you handled poorly? How did it end? What will you do differently next time? Maybe you overreacted and got in a blowout fight with your best friend, or maybe you made a big mistake at work. Whatever the case, mistakes are key to our growth and development, so try not to beat yourself up about it!
How have I changed over the past year?
Whether we notice it or not, we’re always in a state of flux. With every new person we meet or trip we go on, our outlook on life shifts and expands. Write down the qualities you’ve cultivated over the past year, how your perspective has changed and any bad habits you’ve been able to let go of. This is where it can be helpful to compare your notes from last year — you might be surprised at just how different you’ve become in one year.
What were five of your most memorable experiences from the past year?
Whether it was a trip to Europe, a great first date with someone special, or a big win at work, celebrate the year’s highlights — big and small. Journaling is one of the best ways to ensure you remember life’s most precious moments in years to come. Write down everything you can remember about the experiences; smells, sights and sounds, and how they made you feel. Your future self will thank you for documenting the high points of your life, especially when times get tough down the road.
What are some goals and intentions I can set for the New Year?
Now that you’ve reviewed the past year, it’s important to release all the experiences and look ahead to the future. Write down any projects you’re hoping to complete, but most importantly, journal about the qualities you’d like to call in for the next 365 days. Whether you’re hoping to cultivate a deeper sense of gratitude, joy, presence or compassion, put it down on paper. This way, you’ll start fresh for the New Year with a renewed sense of purpose, clarity and meaning.