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Reflecting on the Past Year and Looking Ahead

By December 16, 2021November 28th, 2022No Comments

If 2020 is considered the lost year of our lives, 2021 may be considered the forgotten year for many of us. While we all will remember what we were doing those first few weeks of lockdown, it can be harder to recall what happened for us in month 13 or 14 of pandemic life, where all days have bled together into one listless experience.

When we don’t have mile markers throughout our year to remind us of the path we were on – for better or worse – it can become impossible to course correct and return to where we desire to be. Or worse, we may arrive in December feeling like we’ve become lost somehow along the way.

The reality is that there were mile markers for everyone in 2021, even if our memory feels a bit blurred or if our metaphorical GPS signal has become a bit disconnected. We can strengthen these GPS signals to figure out if we are indeed where we wanted to be by introspectively checking in with ourselves. These check-ins not only help us to determine where we are at right now, but they also help us to acknowledge and honor what we’ve been through as well as set us up for taking those lessons into the new year.

In the spirit of realigning our purpose and sense of direction, let us pause for reflection and consider the year we have been through, as well as curiously considering the year that is about to come.  If you are fortunate enough to find just a little time on your hands during the holidays, think about how you might be able to use this time for some meaningful personal and professional reflection. 

Take some time to reflect on the mile markers below, and notice what questions resonate and which do not. Incorporate note-taking to ensure you are getting the most from this exercise.

The past year – 2021 

Personal development:  

  • What have you learned about yourself? 
  • How have you been feeling about yourself lately? 
  • What is one of the year’s triumphs, big or small?  
  • What is one of the year’s challenges? 
  • One thing you learned from your triumph or challenge?  


  • Have you identified any main cause of stress in your current relationships? 
  • Was there someone who added light to your life the past year? 
  • Which new people have entered your journey?  
  • What are 3 moments with loved ones that you would like to remember?  

Mental, emotional, and physical health: 

  • What settles you? 
  • What unsettles you?  
  • What’s been occupying your mind for a big part of the year? 
  • Is there a feeling you miss or didn’t get to experience much this year? If so, what is it? 
  • Do you feel satisfied with your sleep, exercise, nutrition, or water intake? 

Career, culture, and purpose: 

  • What word resonates more with you right now: motivation or burnout? 
  • Two events in the world that caught your attention?  
  • Two events in your personal life that were meaningful?  
  • One idea from your past year that you’d like to explore further? 
  • Has anything been inspiring you lately? 

Now – give yourself a bit of time to process and digest the take-aways from 2021, and then consider how they might springboard you into the next year.  

The next year – 2022 

Personal development:  

  • How can you apply what you have learned about yourself? 
  • What values do you wish to embody next year? 
  • What goals are you ready to let go of or change? 
  • Two things that you’d like to spend more time appreciating about yourself next year? 


  • What is something that you are ready or need to share with others? 
  • Is there someone that you haven’t checked in with for a while that you’d like to?  
  • Who is someone that will mean a lot to next year’s journey for you? 

 Mental, emotional, and physical health: 

  • Which parts of your health do you wish to prioritize this coming year? 
  • Is there a feeling that you would like to cultivate more next year? 
  • Two ways that you can tackle the stress that arises for you in the new year? 
  • What are some fun ways – new or rediscovered – that you can start moving your body?  
  • How will you allow rest and play to be an everyday experience for you next year?  

 Career, culture, and purpose:  

  • What incubated ideas are you ready to make into a reality? 
  • What ideas or plans will be in their ending phases this coming year? 
  • What would make your career more fulfilling this year? 
  • What motivates me to get to where I want to go next year? 

 How did you find that reflection exercise? Did your eyes open to anything new, or were you able to find words to ideas that have been hard to articulate before? 

Reflection helps us get closer to personal truth. We typically operate in the outer world of family systems, relationships, working organizations, and the community. Each of these systems encourages us to play specific roles that are largely attached to external expectations. Consequently, we may find it hard to check in with our inner selves when our priority is to keep our outer systems running and in motion. This can often lead us to feeling like we’ve reached the end of the year only by going through the motions of life – which then culminates into pangs of frustration, disappointment, and regret for not showing up as fully as we could have in the time we were given. 

 We still have time left in 2021 – how can we make these final moments more memorable? What meaning have we been able to extract from this current revolution around the sun?   We all have access to deeper systems of truth when we give ourselves pause to consider the inner workings of our needs, motivations, and actions. This will help us start the new year with more intention, more participation, and ultimately more fruition.  

Many of our wellbeing trainings equip attendees with the tools to introduce mindfulness, reflection, and meditating into their lives, which all contributed to minimising stress and burnout in work.