How to End 2016 On Purpose

December is well upon us. That means Christmas wonder, family, double-sided tape, too much dessert, and time to reflect. In a few short weeks, we’ll tie a pretty bow around 2016 and call it done. Years ago, I started a habit of reflecting on the current year and setting goals for the coming year. It’s been life-changing.

Time is so finite. It’s here and then it’s gone. It’s truly a gift to be stewarded, which requires intention - more intention than I naturally extend. Every December, I set aside time to journal, think, pray, reflect, and drink coffee. It's become a whole event with its own traditions, and my soul craves it. Whether I cozy up next to the Christmas tree or escape to the corner of a coffee shop, I'm always alone with my journal and favorite pen. (The pen is so important - trust me.) Every year I run down the same list of journal prompts, and every year I'm amazed as the words pour onto the pages. The year never ends where it began. No matter how many steps forward or how many steps back, progress occurs. And the scent of a new year always does something to me. It fills me with hope and excited anticipation. This is not a profound process by any stretch, but it's deeply meaningful.

It’s a refreshing exhale - the perfect way to end the year on purpose

3 Favorite Year-End Journal Prompts:

  • Current Year Reflections: What goals did I accomplish? Where did I miss the mark? What did I learn about God? What are my favorite memories? What milestones did our family experience? What were my greatest challenges?
  • The 7-F’s for 2017: Faith, Family, Fitness, Fun, Finances, Friends, Forgiveness. (I list these categories and brainstorm any desires, wishes, or goals related to each.)
  • 2017 Goals: I choose 3-4 thoughts from the list above to turn into actual goals - more than that is a recipe for failure. I add the category of "Personal Growth" to close out the list. (Watch for an upcoming post on goal setting!)

The journal pages from years past are pure gold. They recount answered prayer, grief I didn't expect to survive, new friendships, and cherished moments with my children. There are some forgotten goals, a few abandoned goals, and a lot of goals with proud check marks. On the good years, David and I enjoy a dinner date to share our reflections and goals, or we stay up late to drink hot chocolate in our pajamas to compare notes. But let’s be real, there have been a few years over the last decade that left us so exhausted we just didn’t want to talk about it. So we didn’t.

But this year warrants a conversation. I can feel it.

Join the conversation by commenting below: What's your most meaningful take-away from 2016? Which of the 7-F's will make your 2017 list?