Looking Back to Look Ahead :: Journal Prompts to Reflect on the Prior Year and Anticipate the Year to Come

Thoughtful reflection and journaling are my jam because #thatintrovertlife. Toward the end of each year, I block off an hour to sit at a park or coffee shop to reflect on the year drawing to an end and to put some thought and intention into the year to come. Year after year I find myself coming back to the same few basic questions to guide my process, so I thought I’d share them for anyone else looking to incorporate a little more reflection into their life. Grab your favorite beverage, a journal and a pen and curl up in a cozy spot for a vision session with yourself.

Year End Reflection Questions

1. Highs from the year. This is where I write down meaningful memories, fun moments, vacations, kind words others said, good food I ate, basically all the things that made the year good.

2. Lows from the year. This is where I write down all the hard things: a fight with a friend, a diagnosis, a financial struggle, anything worth noting. By naming and acknowledging the struggles I find it helps me to put a period at the end of that season and leave the struggle in the prior year.

3. What did I learn this year? This tends to be a subject I studied like the enneagram, a deeper truth about who I am, or a significant quote or fact that stuck with me and made me think.

4. What worked this year?  A list of all my activities, relationships, approaches and commitments that went well.

5. What didn’t work this year? Is there anything that needs to change? Here I outline the things that caused me stress or frustration and possible changes I should make.

6. What areas would I like to grow in this year? My answers for this usually end up with character traits such as gentleness and kindness.

7. What would I like to grow out of this year? My answers here are usually along the lines of hurry and bitterness.

8. What am I looking forward to this year? Anything from a project, a planned trip or a fresh start.

9. What are my goals for this year? I’m not so much a resolution person, but am very much into goals. My goals from the last few years have included things such as read a book a month, run a 10k, read through the Bible, journal daily and finish a book proposal. I have had a love affair with SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-based) since my days in the corporate world and tend to stick to that format.

In addition to personal reflection, I also like to dig into these questions by gathering a small group of close friends at the beginning of the year and talking through our responses together. Whether you do this alone or with friends, write your answers down and revisit them regularly to maintain focus in your vision for the year.

Shannon Mangerchine
Shannon lives in Central City, New Orleans with her husband, Jeremy, and three sons, Noah, Eli and Zeke. She left a career in Human Resources to take on her dream of being a stay-at-home mom. During this time, she and her husband founded a non-profit called Bastion Resources with the purpose of inspiring others to live a life of intimacy with God. Shannon is passionate about creating community and engaging in meaningful conversation around the dinner table. Recently, she created The Intentional Daily Journal to help people live with more purpose and clarity, which is available for purchase on Amazon. In her free time, Shannon enjoys all types of fitness, trying new restaurants, reading and discussing books with her book club, coffee dates with friends and hanging at the park with her family. Shannon is constantly creating new healthy recipes and sharing them on her blog Dinner Done by 9am.


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