New Year, New You! New Year's Reflection Journaling Exercise

Published by Annie Barrett: 
January 1, 2024

Ever since I was young, I have always loved ringing in the new year. The new year is a potent time for reflecting on the past and envisioning the future. As a kid, I always enjoyed the ritual of writing New Year’s resolutions.

Over the years, I have developed a New Year's Reflection Journaling Exercise with questions to think about at the New Year. This exercise serves as both a reflection and a planning tool. While you may sit down and work on this exercise in one sitting, you may also set aside a little time each day and work on this exercise over a week.

Download the New Year's Reflection Journaling Exercise here.

New Year’s Reflection Exercise

In this exercise, you reflect on what happened this past year and plan for the new year.


Here are the questions:

What was hard about last year?

What were you most afraid of?

What did you grieve?

What did you enjoy doing and learning?

What did you embrace?

What were the high points of the year?  

What did you let go of?

What did you grab on to?

What changed for you?

What did you discover?

What were you most grateful for?

What did you do that was courageous?

What surprised you?

What will you remember most about this year?

What did you make happen in 2023?  Name at least 3 ACCOMPLISHMENTS.




How did you celebrate or acknowledge your accomplishments?  If you weren't able to do this, jot down a time and way you can honor these accomplishments in the near future.

What was hard for you in 2023?  Name 3 CHALLENGES you experienced.




How did you handle these challenges?

What did you learn this year? Name 3 LESSONS.




What were the GIFTS of 2023? Name 3 GIFTS.




In what ways have you grown, become stronger, and evolved this year?

Is there anything else you want to remember or remark upon about 2023?

CLARIFY FOR 2024.  Get clear on where you are and where you want to be.

Your purpose and passion in life, called dharma or ikigai, is what gets you up in the morning.

There was something that was stirring in you on the first of January last year, and now, a year later, there is probably something different that is stirring in you. You still feel like yourself, but you are evolving and this year is going to be different. So, take a moment and feel what is stirring in you now. Close your eyes. Pause, soften and breathe. Notice what is coming forth. Then, answer these questions:

What is making you come alive at this time?

What are you curious about?

What do you desire?

Who are you becoming in this next phase of your life? Who do you want to become?

What does this becoming feel like? 

Is there a word that fits how you want to feel on the inside and outside this year? Drop this word into your mind-body awareness and embody this quality or value. Make it operative in your mind and physiology. Write this word down.

What are your unique gifts, talents and strengths?

How do your gifts and talents intersect with the times we are living in? Where are your gifts and talents needed, valued, or appreciated right now?

What are your challenges?

What are you afraid of?

What skills and abilities will you need to work with your challenges and to activate your purpose and passion?

What are some of the big or little things you wish for in the New Year?

What will it take to achieve this or to make this happen?

What should you give up in the New Year to make your life more harmonious and vital?

Where are you in balance? (Or, what is going well that you wish to keep?)

Where are you out of balance?  (Or, what do you need to look at, examine and change?)

What do you want to say “No” to this year?

What do you want to say “Yes” to this year?


BE A LIFELONG LEARNER. Name something you want to study, investigate or learn this year.

AWAKEN YOUR CREATIVITY + IMAGINATION. Name one or two ways you want to be more creative this year.

GET HEALTHIER. Name a few ways you want to up-level your physical health this year.

BE YOUR OWN BEST CARE-GIVER.  List some ways you can nurture yourself better this year.

HONOR YOUR CORE RELATIONSHIPS. Name a few ways you can upgrade your relationships with those who are most important to you.

ENGAGE IN YOUR COMMUNITY. Is there a way in which you want to engage more deeply with your community?

NURTURE YOUR HOME ENVIRONMENT.  List some ways in which you can nurture or up-level your home environment so that it is a place that supports your well-being and evolution.

BE A TIME WARRIOR. List 3 ways you can use your time more wisely to achieve your goals this year.




TAKE RISKS.  You’ll only evolve if you take risks.  List 3 things you can do this year that may be uncomfortable but will be beneficial catalysts for your growth and development.




BE IN NATURE. List 3 ways in which you can more deeply enjoy and align with the natural world.




BE SOULFUL. List 3 ways you can enjoy connecting to Spirit/Source, that part of you that contains the whole universe and influences and informs every arena of your life.




NAME YOUR CHEER LEADERS. Name 3 people who you can count on to support your growth and evolution.  Share these responses with them and actively ask for their support!




BE ACCOUNTABLE.  How will you be accountable for making these changes happen this year?  What habits will you cultivate to make your dreams come true?




Envision this!  Close your eyes and consciously drop these intentions into your body-mind.  In one year’s time, where do you want to see yourself? What do you want to be operative?

This time next year, I will feel…

This time next year, I will know …

This time next year, I will have done ..

This time next year, I will be…