Looking back, Looking forward… A New Year Reflection


New Year: a good time for reflection.

A good time for looking back, to see where you’ve come from, what you are grateful for and what you have learnt.

looking back 2

And a good time for looking forward, to be intentional about where you are going.


For the past few years I’ve taken a day or half day out, on my own, sometime in January to reflect and have found it incredibly helpful. You don’t have to go away to reflect, an hour or two in a park or coffee shop may be sufficient for you. You can write in proper grown up sentences, or scribble and spider diagram in colourful scrawl, whatever you like (I personally prefer the latter). I have shared below a few questions for reflection that might be helpful.

I’ve written before about the value of stopping to reflect. If you are looking for a place to go on a retreat in the UK this is a useful site. In South Africa there are also many retreat places but one I particularly love is Volmoed, near Hermanus. Two books I have found really helpful for retreats have been ‘May I have this Dance’ by Joyce Rupp and ‘Landmarks’ by Margaret Silf.


1.       Gratitude

What are you grateful for?… all the little and big things that have been special to you in the past year, the people who have been kind, the unexpected treasures, the beautiful things you have seen in nature and in people, the ways you have grown and changed…

2.      Challenges

What were the challenges and difficult things? – List them and think about how you feel about them now. For each of them spend time reflecting on whether you have learnt anything through it, or grown through it… is there anything good that has come from it? For some of the challenges you’ve listed you may not be able to see any good from it yet, that’s fine, you may see it with hindsight later.

3.      Learnings

What were the themes of what you have learnt about yourself, others, life and God?

Are there particular words or a phrase that sums up the year?

If you want to, talk to God about the things you’ve written down

–          thank him for what you are grateful for and what he’s teaching you

–          talk to him about the challenges… ask for his help and healing and thank him for where there is good that’s come even from difficult things.


 1.      Fears

What are you fearful/nervous about?

2.       Hopes and Dreams

What are your hopes and dreams for the coming year?… in different areas of your life… home, friends, family, work, community, spiritual journey. Are there any changes you need to make or actions you need to take this year to move towards these hopes and dreams?

3.      Invitation

What positive growth do you feel you are being invited into in the coming year?

If you want to, talk to God about the things you’ve written down

–          Tell him about your fears, tell him how you feel. Release each thing, situation or person to God, placing it in his hands and choosing to trust him in each area.

–          Share your hopes and dreams with him, invite him into each of the areas of your life. Ask for his help in the areas of your life where you know you need to make a change.

–          Talk to him about his invitation and what he wants to do in and through you this coming year – choose to step into the new year with him, to see his good plans come about.

3 responses »

  1. Pingback: My own New Year reflection « Mother City Murmurs

  2. Pingback: Journaling: A Place for my Stuttering Heart to Find Voice

  3. Pingback: Happy New Year | Mother City Murmurs

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