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3 simple lists for a short and sweet end of year reflection

How to hold a short and sweet end of year reflection with 3 simple lists - so you can head into the new year with bold moves forward and upward!

Every month I pull out a notebook and look back at the last 31 (or so) days and reflect. For me, the first step in moving forward - with intention anyway - is looking back at where I’ve been and the path I’ve taken to get from there to here. Nothing too intimidating or deep. More like a healthy and constructive quick glance back. And since I believe nothing is more powerful than pairing reflection with putting pen to paper, I write down my thoughts. In bullet points, usually. And when I'm through and set my pen down, the month behind me usually looks a lot more worthwhile than it did before. And the month ahead, more promising.

With the close of another year, I’m keeping with this “reflect and record” ritual for 2018. For simplicity’s sake. Just a quick glance back to hopefully head into the new year with bold moves forward and upward. If you’re feeling the same pull to cherish your course, learn from the past, and move forward with confidence, here are a few short and sweet suggestions for a short and sweet end of year review (in 3 simple lists).

End of year reflection in 3 simple lists

How to hold a short and sweet end of year review with 3 simple lists - so you can head into the new year with bold moves forward and upward!

List #1: Celebrate

This year may not have been the happiest or easiest (or maybe it was… and in that case, I couldn’t be happier for you!) but there’s always more goodness to celebrate than you think there is. Always. Now’s your chance to cheer for the victories, notice the miracles, and smile at all the good that made its way through your life this year. Include in your list everything you’re most proud of, the biggest accomplishments, happiest times, and most meaningful moments. Because your year was full of them. And the saddest thing you can do is let them pass by uncelebrated.

A few from my list:

- A meaningful bedtime routine with my little ones full of what matters most to us. I’ll forever cherish these evenings of reading, praying, singing, and (in their case) dancing together.

- A 30-day scripture reading challenge that proved to be one of the most insightful, worthwhile heart and soul projects I took on this year. A simple challenge, yet profound experience.

- 52 Meaningful Moments, my guided journal. Finished, published and out in the world spreading light to anyone who opens its pages (I hope!).

- Our family train (Matt pushing my wheelchair, me pushing the stroller and Shadyn leading the way on his bike) during summer walks to the neighborhood splash pad. More hope and happiness came from those family walks together than almost anything else this year.

List #2: Learn

No matter how many life lessons I accumulate, there’s always more where that came from. I make different mistakes. And frustratingly the same mistakes. I do things I regret. And there are things I don’t do - then regret just the same. This list is where even those things I’d rather forget get transformed into something I can appreciate and utilize for the journey ahead. It’s for things that worked (or didn’t) and the lessons that came along with them. A place to collect my mistakes or regrets, not for guilt but for clarity and improvement. Here on this list, I collect lessons learned from the successes too. So that my list of celebrations become fuel for more celebrations in the year ahead.

A few from my list:

- Independence and mobility are worth investing in. A new wheelchair this past year made a family camping trip not only possible but fun and (almost) empowering! - Focused energy and effort can make big things happen.

- Real connection is what my little ones want from their mama and comes with being present. Being present - when it comes down to it - means being phone-free.

- Spontaneous (and usually free) activities were just as fun and memorable as any of the things we planned and paid for. Except for maybe the triple date night out at Tepanyaki with my siblings, which was even more fun and yummy than I’d hoped. And definitely worthy of repeating in 2019.

List #3: Let go

We often hold onto things so hard and so long we forget why and what we’re holding onto in the first place. And what better way to step into a new season than light and free - ready to grab hold of what really matters. So take a deep breath and dump it all onto the page. List your unfinished projects or unmet goals that no longer are right for you or this season of your life. Your negative beliefs about yourself and potential. Your commitments, traditions, and habits that no longer add light and happiness to your life. Any guilt or resentment that’s heavy and useless. Allow yourself to feel the weight of it. Then let it all go. It’s hard. And liberating. And leaves you wide open for progress and growth.

A few from my list:

- Holding out for “normal.” I will always hold onto hope that my body will function “normally” again but the act of waiting is holding me back from making our home and life what it needs to be - for now at least. Home renovations, here we come!

- Screens. Our home and schedules can be filled with beautiful books, games and Legos just as easy as it can be with the TV. And I’m betting we find more times to laugh and talk together without so much TV.

- Less hesitation, more faith. Less hesitation, more courage. Less hesitation, more confidence. In friendships, in my writing, in loving, in living.


Your lists may come easy, filling the page in one sitting. Or, like me, you might make your lists in bursts as the realizations come throughout early days of our new year. Either way, as your words fill the page gather your bearings and step into the new year pointed in the right direction. Just a quick glance back and nothing but progress ahead. For all of us!

How to hold a short and sweet end of year review with 3 simple lists - so you can head into the new year with bold moves forward and upward!

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