We made it to another January!
Another New Year, another chance to reflect on the past, to start over, and to think fresh thoughts about the future. Of course, we have the ability to reflect, start over, and think fresh every day, but there’s something about hanging a new calendar on the wall (or turning the page on your electronic one) that invites these activities. Besides, they’re a few of our favorite New Year’s traditions.
There are traditions I’m less enthusiastic about — resolutions, for example. This year I’m going to take one step back from all the eager (and eventually discarded) attempts to control my life. I have learned that I can take one day at a time and still achieve quite a lot.
My favorite tradition is my New Year’s letter to myself. And I plan to spend some quiet time with and for myself on January 1st reviewing last year’s letter and writing a new one.
There’s another tradition I’d like to start this year: writing to a new journaling prompt each day for one week, each prompt designed to help start my year in contemplation, reflection, and gratitude. And I’d like to share my New Year’s prompts with you.
Jan 1: If you were to sum up last year in one word, what’s the first word that pops into your mind? What events, emotions, and attitudes are expressed in that word? Now, what’s the second word that sums up your year? Explore the reasons these words are significant.
Jan 2: If you could spend more time doing one activity this year, what would it be? Would you paint, write, spend time with family, more time outdoors? Do you already spend time engaged in this activity? What might you gain by doing more of it? What might you lose or have to trade in order to have that time? What are your greatest conflicts about the activity? And what motivates or drives you to engage in it?
Jan 3: Make a list of things you learned last year. Do you want to expand or learn more in any one area? Circle that item and write about why you want to learn more about it.
Jan 4: What relationships have meant the most to you during the previous year? Who was your most positive influence? What about that person brought out the best in you? Who do you influence? What kinds of relationships do you want to change or create this year, and with whom?
Jan 5: Take some time today (30-60 minutes) to sit quietly, without writing or talking or interacting electronically, and observe the world around you. Then write about the experience. What did you notice?
Jan 6: It’s Monday, the first day of the work week on the first day of the new year. What kinds of fresh starts can you make today?
Jan 7: Think back to a week ago, to January 1st, and review your journal pages. What’s changed in the last seven days? What’s the same? If you were to sum your week up in one word, what would it be and why? Finally, how have these reflections informed your sense of who are you are in the world and who you want to be as you move forward?
I hope you enjoy these journal writing prompts, and I hope you find them useful. As always, I welcome your thoughts and suggestions–please leave a comment below.
And may the coming year be the happiest, healthiest, and most joyful year of all!