As we approach the end of the year, it’s valuable to take a moment to reflect on our achievements and the things that brought us joy.
Many people don’t take the time to appreciate their successes or savor their joyful moments because they’re too focused on their next task or goal, or because they’re caught up in their worries. But regularly feeling gratitude for the various aspects of our lives is crucial to enjoying the journey of life and not getting bogged down by expectations and tasks.
To cultivate this, I recommend taking some time to engage in a year-end reflection exercise. For many years, I’ve ended each year with a writing exercise on my successes and highlights from the past year. This year, I’m expanding the list to include four categories:
What successes did you experience? These can be small or large, and can include more obvious career successes as well as personal growth achievements.
What made you feel proud? This could be pride in yourself for a job well done or handling a situation well, or pride for the accomplishments of loved ones.
What do you most appreciate from the past year? What experiences do you feel grateful for?
When did you feel the most joy? Think of examples of laughter, play, and a depth of connection with those closest to you.
Try it out! Use the above four questions to prompt your memories as you write down at least 20 happenings from the past year. This is a great exercise to also do with a partner, sibling, or close friend, so that you can bask in the glow of each other’s successes and joys and cultivate even greater intimacy between you.
As we look back on the past year, let’s take a moment to celebrate our achievements and the things that bring us joy. This will not only help us feel more fulfilled and grateful, but it will also set the stage for an even more successful and fulfilling new year.
~Dr. Jenn Gunsaullus — Sociologist, Intimacy Coach, & Relationship Speaker