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With the end of 2021 slowly approaching us, the time has come to reflect on another year we can put behind us and welcome the new year ahead. There’s no better way to do that than through writing, especially if you use our wonderful journal prompts for the new year.
This time of year brings out melancholic and reflective energy with it. It makes us look back on the good times and the bad ones, on what we did right and what inevitably went wrong, on our best times.
I don’t know about you but even though I know that the new year is merely a measure of time we created, this time of year still awakens a desire in me to reflect on my life, to look deeply into how I’ve been living for the past year. I would say this is what makes New Year a good celebration.
It’s important to take time in our lives to think about our lives: how we live them, what we learn from life, how we can make life better, etc. If we don’t take time to reflect then we won’t know what works, what doesn’t and we more likely won’t make positive changes.
If it takes a holiday to self-reflect then so be it.
A great way to look inside is journaling. To us, writing is the best way to get to the root of things. When you journal freely, without expectations, you’ll notice that your inner truth comes out easily.
If what you want is to reflect on the year that’s coming to a close, to realize what made this year good and what you can change to make the next year even better, you need to take the writing in that direction which is where journal prompts for the new year come into play.
Giving yourself prompts is the best way to get what you want at a certain point from journaling. We want to help you self-reflect on the past year so you can go into the new year having all the knowledge possible on how to make it the best year possible. For that reason, we’re giving you a few amazing journal prompts for the new year.
Journal Prompts for the new year: reflect on the past year
1. What was the theme of this year for you?
When you think about this past year as a whole, what sticks out?. What are the kind of lessons and messages that life kept throwing at you? Can you find a common theme to a lot of the experiences you had and lessons you learned throughout the year?
Try to find that and think about why you think you needed those themes at this point in your life. What you can learn from this year as a whole, what it means in the grand scheme of your life.
For example, maybe this was the year of closure to you. Maybe you found yourself ending different stages of your life and needing to learn to let go. Or maybe, it was the year of self-love. Maybe every situation was screaming at you that that’s what you needed this past year.
2. What was the biggest life lesson you learned this year?
We all learn lessons every year of our lives. We’re learning lessons constantly if we dig deep. The issue is that sometimes with so much going on in our lives, we forget to stop, take a breath and take those lessons in. And what’s the good of learning these lessons if we don’t digest them.
This prompt will help you think back on what those lessons were and actually assimilate them.
3. Which habits or mindset from this year would you like to continue next year?
If you take some time to reflect, I’m sure you’ll find some habits that you continued or started this past year that helped you have a better lifestyle.
Or maybe, not habits but a new outlook on life or mindset that served you well.
Think about what it is that you’d like to take with you into the year to come and why.
4. Which habits would you like to leave in the past year? And, how could you begin to change those habits?
On the other hand, I bet there are some habits or ideas from this past year that didn’t serve you in a positive way. Think about what those may be and how you can take steps to replace them with healthier habits.
5. What did you learn about yourself?
Life is all about understanding your mind, body, and soul. About knowing yourself enough to know the lessons you need to learn and things you need to do in this lifetime. For that reason, this is one of the most important journal prompts for the new year in our opinion.
It can sometimes feel like you didn’t do enough during the year. You didn’t climb any mountains, start a new business, go skydiving or fulfill any other crazy bucket list activity. But, that couldn’t be further from the truth. If you’re learning about yourself & improving, you’re doing more than enough. So think deeply on this prompt.
6. What were your biggest challenges? What did you learn from them? How did you overcome them, or which steps can you take to overcome them if you haven’t?
It’s important to be aware of all the challenges we’ve overcome. It’s a way to empower ourselves, to remember everything we’ve been through and how we’ve gotten through it.
A reminder of how strong we are.
And if there’s something we were dealing with this past year that we’re still dealing with now, it’s good to think about which steps we can take to overcome that challenge.
7. What were the most influential pieces of art you consumed this year and what did you get/ learn from them? Favorite movies, songs, or books?
We believe things that we connect with come into our lives when we need them most. Art has the power to influence us deeply if we open ourselves up to it.
Think of which books, movies, or songs felt most special to you. Which pieces of art you identified with, saw something of yourself in, which ones inspired you and taught you the most. We believe they came to you for a reason because you needed them at the time. Reflect on how & why you think they impacted you.
8. When were you the happiest this year? When did you feel the most in touch with yourself?
This prompt is a good way to be more aware of the things and the people that bring you true joy. If you’re aware of them then you can more easily strive to have more of that in your life.
9. When did you feel the most anxious, stressed, and out of touch with yourself?
Similar to the last prompt, if you know what things make you anxious, stressed & disconnected, you’ll know which things or people don’t serve you. That way you can work towards distancing yourself from the things that no longer give you joy.
10. What are you proud of yourself for?
There’s no better way to end the year than with self-love and respect for everything you are.
Reflect on everything you learned, overcame, and did this year. Think of all the things that made you proud of yourself this past year. It can be the new habits you incorporated, working on yourself, building self-love, facing a fear, or literally any other thing that makes you proud of yourself.
No matter how small you may think it is, if it gives you pride, write about it.
This will help you end the year with a sense of accomplishment and respect for yourself. As well as with a feeling of gratitude for having experienced this past year.
11. Who have been the most important people in my life this past year? Who taught you the most? Supported you most? Who did you feel safest with?
I think I speak for most of us when I say that one of the most important things about life, if not THE most important, is the people we love. Without our loved ones, without a sense of community, getting through the craziness of life would be pretty much impossible.
We owe our loved ones so much of who we are and our good moments in life. It’s always a good time to think of the ways in which our people impact us, how they make us feel appreciated and alive. Think of the people that did that for you this year.
Write about which loved ones taught you the most and what those lessons were. Whether those lessons were through the advice they gave you or simply by watching them live their own lives.
Take that time to sit with the amazing people I’m sure you have in your life, and express that gratitude to them directly if you can.
Ending the year feeling loved and grateful for the people you have will be like the cherry on top.
12. What do you wish you had made more time for this year?
Is there something you wanted to do but never did? Who do you wish you had spent more time with?
Do you wish you had read more? Laughed more? Explored more?
What do you wish you had worked on that you didn’t?
These are all questions to ask yourself to figure out what you could have had more of, what would have helped you feel happier.
13. What changes could have made this year better?
It’s important to be grateful for all the good things in our lives, but if we truly want to make changes, it’s also important to be aware of the things that maybe didn’t make us feel good.
Think of which things you think you could’ve changed about this year to make it better for yourself. Remember to include things that are actually in your reach, there is so much that is out of our control and it doesn’t help to dwell on that.
Think of changes that you could have actually made. It could be habits you could’ve incorporated or stopped doing, or maybe a different way of seeing a situation, etc.
The journal prompts for the new year that we shared with you are the BEST way to end the year the right way.
They’ll bring you awareness and a deeper understanding of what this year meant for you, the impact it had on you as a person, and on your life journey as a whole
Find a moment before the year ends when you’re feeling calm, and answer all of these prompts or the ones that speak the most to you.
If you open up and answer honestly, you’ll see that you’ll get insight that will help you end the year well. These journal prompts for the new year, focused on reflecting on the past year, will help you end the year with all the lessons you learned assimilated.
BEFORE YOU GO
Check out our other articles about journaling. We have journal prompt recommendations to help you with other specific areas in your life.
Also, remember to check out our INTROSPECTIVE TRAVEL JOURNAL & sign up for our FREE SELF-AWARENESS WORKSHEET. There’s no better way to end this year than working on yourself.
We want to hear from you, what journal prompts for the new year do YOU recommend? Leave us a comment.