5 Ways to Healthily Reflect On Your Year

By Mia Barnes – December 9, 2022

You need to recognize the good and the bad when looking to progress in life. A lot can happen in a year, and reflecting on it can be helpful to ensure a better year ahead. There are lots of opportunities to learn from and improve yourself from the last year — there may have even been some unexpected events — but healthily reflecting on them is the best approach.

Tips for Healthy Self-Reflection

Knowing the good and bad of the year is essential and what makes your reflection real. However, you don’t want to dwell on only the bad things. Make sure you allow yourself to be present in every moment you reflect on. Here are some questions that may get your ideas flowing:

  • Has anything been holding you back?
  • Can I improve myself to be a better friend or partner?
  • How can I let go of my biggest regret?
  • What do I want to do differently this year to change my life?

You can use self-talk to dive into some of these questions that reflect on your year. When you remember more distressing topics, using the third person to talk to yourself can help distance yourself from overwhelming feelings.

1. Recognize the Direction You’re Headed

As the year closes, you may notice a general direction in which you feel your life is going. You may feel excited and energized about opportunities or unmotivated and uninspired. This is your time to make new goals and set them in place to make changes or plans to continue your path.

The best part about self-reflection is you can devise a plan to change your direction. Think about things in your life that could be contributing to your path and see if they can be changed.

Some examples are your sleeping habits, your diet and dining patterns, the energy of your environment and how much physical activity you get in a day. Experiment with things in your daily life to find a healthy balance.

2. Notice the Good & Bad

It’s easy to remember things that have gone wrong in your life. Remember that keeping note of the positives allows you to see that not everything is going poorly. Awareness of the bad makes your reflections real, but don’t let them overshadow the good. It’s part of being honest with yourself.

For example, you may be breaking down your fitness journey this year. You can ask yourself these questions to evaluate how it’s going:

  • Did I keep myself in shape?
  • Do I stay disciplined in my workout schedule?
  • Are there areas I can improve on?
  • Where do I want to see the most growth this year?
  • Am I on track to accomplish my goals and hold myself accountable?

Person's hands.

3. Identify the Main Stressors

If you’re reflecting and notice many negative feelings repeat throughout the year, there may be things that cause this. Negative emotions can come in the form of anxiety, irritability, depression, panic attacks and others.

According to a survey, about 80% of Americans feel stressed about their jobs. Stress can impact your mental and physical health, so getting to the bottom of what causes it can help you work to make changes to reduce it in the next year. Although work is a common stressor for many people, there may be ways to make your work more manageable or even look for a new job that serves you better.

4. Identify Ways to Improve

Depending on your goals this year, you can evaluate how to improve or stay on the track you’re on. There shouldn’t be too much pressure placed on yourself when planning your goals. Change takes time, and you may need longer than a year to determine how your reflection on the year can progress.

After figuring out your stressors, planning how to tackle them can give you a sense of ease and organization. It’s easy to get stuck feeling like there’s nothing to do to change how your life is going, but by digging deep into goals and stressors, you’ll be able to take on the new year.

5. Reward Your Progress

Science observes that a reward system activates dopamine pathways and allows us to repeat what happened to feel that sense of reward. When reflecting on your year and you notice all the good things and your accomplishments, find a way to celebrate your wins. Your hard work deserves a reward, so treat yourself to something special for this year’s achievements.

The Bottom Line

Healthily reflecting on your year is essential to ensure you progress through life. It’s easy to keep moving aimlessly without noticing what you’ve done or your emotions. Discipline and consistency go a long way through the years when setting new goals, no matter what they are.

About the Author

Mia Barnes smiling.

Mia Barnes is a health and wellness writer and editor-in-chief at Body + Mind. She specifically enjoys writing about women’s fitness, as well as mental health-related topics. When she’s not writing, Barnes can usually be found reading poetry, taking a dance or cardio class, or hiking.


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