guidance for reflecting at year end

Guidance for Reflecting at Year End

December already?!

It’s December and we can all collectively exclaim How in the world is it December already? because time confuses us all.

Forget New Years resolutions…

We’re coming up on New Year’s resolution season, which is a little annoying if you ask me. I never feel ready for it, the whole new year. It mostly feels like the days are short and barely getting longer by January 1, I’m somehow worn out from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season even though we generally abstain from getting too involved, and now I’m supposed to be making grand plans for the next twelve months of my life. Plans that I will inevitably forget about by Spring.  

Let’s reflect!

Here’s what I propose instead, to ready us for the arrival of 2023. Let’s intentionally bring 2022 to a close. Not by slamming the door in its face. No, by inviting in the misty dream sequence of our own lives over the past year. By reflecting on it. By going there.  

How to, using your phone

Here’s how. Go back in your phone’s photos to January 1, 2022 and speed swipe through all the pictures. You can linger wherever you want but the goal is the dream sequence so you can also just get through the year as fast as possible.  

Not to look for meaning or lessons, though! Not right now anyway. Just spend some time remembering, from your own perspective, what 2022 was like for you. BUT FIRST THERE IS A RULE.  


Be as nonjudgmental as possible.

I know the cringe feeling, I know it so well. Do your best to let it roll right off you. You’re going to judge yourself. It’s as impossible to not judge as it is to clear your mind of all thoughts, which is almost completely impossible. Don’t worry about the judgmental thought, just choose not to think on it any further and move on. Like soap bubbles blown on a windy day, let them float past, pop, and disappear with only the tiniest splash. Keep swiping yourself through the year.  

Categories, to help you

You can go into it with some categories held loosely in your mind. The Venn diagram between these categories has a big overlap. Don’t get caught up in getting it in the right category. This is just a guide to organize your reflection process. 

Consider each of these aspects of yourself as you swipe:

1. Your physical self. This includes your relationship to your body and how you make money, or feed, clothe, and shelter yourself. It’s basically how you exist on the earth.  

2. Your thinking self. This includes your intellectual side. The books or podcasts you’ve read or listened to, the stuff you’ve set out to learn. (I imagine your screenshots will play a role here.) It also includes any mindfulness or meditation work you’ve done, or CBT or other efforts you’ve made to influence the way you think and the content of your thoughts.

3. Your emotional self. This includes your psychological journey over the year. The ups and downs, and how you related to the people and pets in your life. Your feelings as they ebbed and flowed. 

4. Your spiritual self. This includes your relationship to the whole. How you perceive you fit in to the bigger picture, including the natural environment and any religious or spiritual practices you’ve explored or are dedicated to.

That is all.

Trust that by seeding your brain with a little reflective effort, the “meaning” of it all will percolate up, influencing your thoughts and conversations. Let’s let it be a slow and mellow process over the month of December (December already?!?). I’ll bring it back up again. For now, once you’re done just set the phone down and forget about it.  

Photo by Erik Mclean from Pexels