A Guide to New Year’s Reflections
The new year can feel like a brand-new adventure! Are your eyes sparkling with the idea of shaking off last year and starting fresh? Mine certainly are! 🤩 After January 1st, the local gym will be buzzing with new activity, and grocery shoppers will be dodging the candy aisles. Before diving headfirst into a new year (or even a new season), I like to take a moment to look back and reflect. I’ve found that the best way to discern the next right thing is to reflect on the LAST right thing. Regardless of where you find yourself at the end of this year – as you reflect and move forward, the key is to be thoughtful, honest, and kind. Only then can you move into whatever is next with intentionality and awareness of where you’ve been.
Whether it’s the end of a month, the end of a year, or the end of a season or project, you can use these questions as a way to name where you’ve been and where you are now and to discern where you want to go next. The questions are simple, but you can use them to reflect on all areas of your life (family, personal, work, spiritual, etc.) or you may want to choose just one.
10 Questions for Reflection & Discernment
01. What worked?
02. What didn’t work?
03. What do I need more of next time?
04. What was the loneliest part?
05. When did I feel most like myself?
06. In what areas did my confidence grow?
07. Who (or what) have I learned from the most?
08. What were my favorite yeses?
09. What were my surest nos?
10. What’s one thing I know for sure?
Before moving forward name:
01. A progress I’m celebrating
02. An important decision I’ve made
03. A question I’m still carrying
04. What I want most
Choosing Your Word of the Year
After you’ve spent some time in reflection, it’s time for the next step. With all that looking back, you’re probably ready to move forward! You may or may not be familiar with the concept of choosing a “Word of The Year.” A few years ago I began doing this instead of creating a New Years Resolution. Maybe you are an extremely dedicated individual that can stick with their resolutions… I am not that person.
Choosing a word runs deep through Christian history. In early Christianity, many people followed the desert mothers and fathers seeking their wisdom and guidance for a meaningful life. One tradition was to ask for a word – this word or phrase would be something on which to ponder for many days, weeks, months, and sometimes a whole lifetime. The word offered was something that would nourish, challenge, and be a word that the individual could wrestle with and grow into.
Step 1: First, spend a moment quietly breathing, listening, and allowing yourself to rest in God’s presence.
Step 2: Let the Word choose you.
You may be tempted to think your way into a word – to analyze what would be the best, most efficient, and practical word possible. But that’s not how this works. I invite you to let the word choose you. For some, the word may come to you immediately; for others, it may be a longer process. But trust the process. If you find yourself stressed over finding the “right” word, it’s time to breathe and let go.
What does this mean exactly? How are you chosen by a word? It means that you’re releasing your expectations and thinking mind. 🤔 We’re not talking about a word that’s going to motivate you to hit the gym (although it could). Just open your mind.
Listen for images that make your heart shimmer with excitement. Notice the ideas that are making you a bit uncomfortable or calling you to grow. The word is something that will work in you (versus you working on it). A word that creates a little sense of inner resistance is probably a sign you’re headed in the right direction.
Here is a list of words we’ve created, in case you need to flip through for a bit of inspiration!
Step 3: Begin your Word of the Year collage 🖼️
- Poster board or mixed media paper
- Old magazines 📰
- Mod Podge
- Whatever other art supplies your heart desires 🎨 🖌️
Cut the word out or stamp the word on your paper. Now look for magazine pictures that feel right as a way to “image” the word. Or you can use a mixture of papers to color in and decorate your paper before you glue the word down.
I hope these activities are refreshing and enlightening as you move into this 2024 season! Happy New Year! 2️⃣0️⃣2️⃣4️⃣ 🎆
Written by: Emily Alters, Content Marketing Coordinator