An end of year reflection is a powerful tool to do each new year so that you can move forward with intention and purpose! Learn how to do a new year reflection and grab a free printable end of year reflection worksheet to use!
How many of you have gotten to December 31st of any given year, paused, and thought: Where in the world did the last year go? What am I doing with my life? What happened to all I wanted to accomplish?
And, rather than take the time to reflect on what did and didn’t work, you rushed full force into the next year with all speed and very little intention?
It’s easy to get caught up in the magic of New Year’s resolutions and “new beginnings,” only to lose that momentum a month (or a week) later. I know I’ve done it too many times to count! So instead, this year, I’ve decided to focus on New Year Reflection as opposed to resolutions.
Taking the time to do a yearly reflection can be a powerful tool to help you plan your vision for the future, and I’ve created a printable end of year reflection worksheet you can use to help with this process!
What is an End of Year Reflection?
A New Year Reflection is just as it sounds – it’s time you set aside to look back on the past year’s experiences. The highs and lows, the goals you crushed, the things you’d still like to accomplish, all of these things can be part of the reflection process.
The key to this reflection process is to try and look at the past year through an objective lens. It can be so challenging to avoid getting sucked into that “I should have done this, I wish I had been better at that” train of thought. Trust me, that train takes you straight to crazy town!
Just remember that the point of filling out an end of year reflection worksheet isn’t to make you feel guilty – it’s to help discover what served you, weed out what didn’t, and help you develop a workable plan for a successful future year (All good things!).
Benefits of Doing an End of Year Reflection
The process of self-reflection can be highly beneficial. Let’s look at a few of the positive ways it can impact your life:
It celebrates big (and small) accomplishments.
Like many people, I can think of 1 or 2 (or 100) New Year’s resolutions that have failed a few weeks out of the starting gate. One of the reasons so many of these resolutions fizzle out is because they focus on “fixing” something negative about ourselves, meaning that we’re unintentionally putting ourselves down from the get-go.
Alternatively, the New Year Reflection process helps us focus on all our wins over the past year, no matter how small they may seem to anyone else. As we focus on those positive outcomes, we’re creating a growth mindset within ourselves for the future.
A study by Harrington and Lofredo on insight, rumination, and self-reflection as predictors of well-being supports this idea, finding that college students who practiced self-reflection reported increased levels of life satisfaction and mental well-being. Cool, huh?
Reflection helps you learn from past experiences.
Another benefit of looking back on the past year is discovering what you’ve learned from all you experienced. This isn’t a time to focus on the mistakes you made! Instead, I recommend writing down some negative things that happened and then what you learned from them going forward.
For example, maybe you’ll look at how many times you ordered takeout and decide you could benefit from a meal planning process in the future. Rather than beating yourself up for the number of times you used DoorDash, you can get excited about finding a workable solution that saves you money this next year!
It helps you figure out what brings you joy.
When was the last time you sat down and really thought about what brought you joy this past year? Did you take a cooking class that reignited your love of trying new recipes? Did you start exercising again and discover how much you enjoyed taking walks with your dog?
I think so many moms out there are so focused on taking care of everyone else that we forget how much we need to find things that bring us joy on a regular basis to feel fulfilled and happy. It’s not enough that other people in our lives are happy, and we’re just existing! It’s also super important to discover what we enjoy and experience those things regularly.
An end of year reflection helps you create future goals.
Another huge benefit of an end of year reflection is that it helps identify and develop future goals that fit with who you are and where you want to be. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with New Year’s resolutions, but I do feel that people often make them based on the change others want to see in their lives.
There’s a reason why the gyms are packed in January and empty in February, and I believe it’s because people don’t take the time to understand what kind of change is realistic for their lives and how they can go about creating it. Taking the time to self-reflect can really help with this process!
Ideas for Reflecting on the Past Year
You can do an end of year reflection in many different ways. It all depends on your learning style and what works best for you! Here are a few suggestions:
Journaling Your New Year’s Reflection
If you’re the type of person who compulsively buys every eye-catching journal that comes their way, why not use one of them for New Year Reflection? Choose a prompt to write about each day or week, setting aside 20-30 minutes to write and reflect.
Creating a Video of Your Thoughts and Experiences
If you’re not a fan of writing down your thoughts, how about creating a video of them instead? Use your phone or video camera to film your reflections and experiences from the past year. Then, save them in your library or Google Drive to watch a year from now!
Making a New Year’s Reflection Jar
Bring your whole family in on the New Year Reflection fun by creating a New Year’s Reflection Jar! Repurpose an old mason jar and print out some New Year’s reflection questions. Then, cut them into strips and add them to the jar. Pull out random New Year’s Reflection questions at dinner and go through them with your spouse or family! They’re great conversation starters and give you valuable insight into your loved ones’ lives!
Completing a printable End of Year Reflection Worksheet
If you loved completing worksheets in school, I’ve created a free printable End of Year Reflection worksheet just for you! Print a copy for each of your family members and discuss at the end, or just stick the sheet in your journal to pull out at this time next year!
Free Printable End of Year Reflection Worksheet
This free printable end of year reflection worksheet is a handy tool to help you reflect on the best things that happened this past year, the biggest challenges you faced, and the lessons learned that you can carry with you in future years.
Here are the new year reflection prompts that are included on the printable worksheet template:
- 3 words that describe the year
- the single best thing that happened this year
- the biggest challenge
- the biggest goal you met
- your biggest goal for next year
- a quote that sums up the year
- favorite things this year: song, tv show, movie, food, book, activity/event
- things you are most grateful for
- 3 new skills you learned
- biggest lesson learned
If you would like to download the template with the new year reflection prompts, just click the dark teal link below. A new window will open in Dropbox (where the file is stored), and you can download and print from there.
I hope you LOVE this free printable yearly reflection worksheet, and I hope that it brings some clarity and helps you feel more positive about the year ahead!
And don’t forget to PIN this post for later: