On a white desk is a pile of three journals; the bottom two are open and the grey one on top is closed; photo via Marissa Grootes/Unsplash.
Affirmations & Journaling, Transatlantic Life

The Best End of Year Guided Reflection Journal Prompts

It’s commonplace at this time of year to look back on the past twelve months and assess all the things we have overcome, achieved and learned. Depending on what life threw at us; yearly retrospectives can sometimes be relatively difficult to work through, but they’re worth the effort if we’re really intentional about wanting to move forward with purpose.

And isn’t that the point of any new beginning: including memories to look back on that fuel the possibility of a fresh start or utilizing what we experienced to nourish personal growth?

Life is not easy, it’s peppered with ups and downs that go from falling to floating to soaring and back again; hopefully not all in a concentrated amount of time — but sometimes it happens like that. No matter what the past year has delivered; we should all consider what we can learn from it and where we want this supplementary knowledge to guide us.

A title graphic for a post available on Transatlantic Notes called, ‘The Best End of Year Guided Reflection Journal Prompts’. The background image shows a white desk with three journals in a pile; the bottom two are open and the grey one on top is closed.

Whether it’s about setting goals, making resolutions or taking stock of our lives; here are nine journal prompts to aid your end-of-year reflection …

Join in; this is a tag-style post! I haven’t invited anyone specific to be part of this so feel free to answer the questions yourself. If you share them on a blog of your own; please provide a link to this article so that more people can take part and I can leave you some encouragement. Alternatively, if you want to handwrite your answers, download the free journal pages at the end of this post!

List 3 things (big or small) that brought you joy this year?

2022 has been about healing from previous stresses, anxieties and challenges. It’s had ups and downs but overall it’s been a happier more secure time than the last few years. The things that uplifted me included:

  • The continued remission of my husband’s cancer and the marked improvement of his health.
  • Taking time to create quiet moments to sit and enjoy a coffee at home while doing some reading.

What unexpected challenges did you overcome? What did they teach you?

I’ve had to completely overhaul how I approach taking care of my health because stress was delivering quite an intense impact on me. In early 2022, I developed some chronic conditions that helped me realize I needed to make some significant lifestyle changes.

The challenge of accepting I had to prioritize taking care of myself didn’t come easily; but it reminded me that I deserve to nourish my body and mind in a way that encourages health and well-being. I adapted to learn new ways of approaching my own needs — and it was liberating.

I still have much work to do, but I’m making incredible progress; I haven’t felt this healthy in a long time.

Share a selection of words that characterize your year:

The words I would most strongly associate with the past twelve months are the same as my 2021 year-in-review post; the difference is that while they resonated and seemed to hint at what the universe was trying to get me to pay attention to; this year I worked at putting them into action. They were (and still are):

Reciprocity — Intentional — Nourishment — Authenticity — Growth — Connection

What is your motto/mantra for 2023?

I assumed this would take a bit of time to formulate clearly but an affirmation and phrase I’ve recently been using to intercept negative thinking/self-talk immediately came to mind:

“I’m worth the effort.”

I use this when I’m trying to talk myself out of doing something that I mistakenly believe I can reschedule or put off. Usually, this is related to some kind of personal/self-care; however, it can be used to provide a mental boost or keep me on track with any number of everyday activities.

On a desk is a spiral bound notebook, pen, cup of coffee and computer keyboard; next to the notebook are cut out silver glitter numbers for the year 2023.
photo via Garakta Studio/Canva

How has your relationship with yourself changed?

In a word — significantly. It’s still very much a work in progress but how I relate to myself with more kindness, understanding and forgiveness has improved immensely. There’s no doubt in my mind that better living conditions and my husband’s health beginning to thrive after years of battling late-stage cancer has released a considerable amount of pressure. There are still struggles to contend with (such is life) but I’m more equipped to deal with them effectively — I finally feel like the ground beneath my feet is firm once again. 

What do you wish you had spent less time doing?

I wish I’d spent less time on social media; which is something I’m going to put into action throughout 2023. As a communication tool that builds a sense of community as well as a vital space for distributing valuable news, resources and causes; social media is unmistakably influential. However, a lot has changed since last year; these platforms are once again becoming a hotbed of misinformation, division, hatred and unremitting misery — a sad reflection of where we’re at as a society.

I’m not going to stop using social media, but I am rethinking how I manage my consumption of it; doomscrolling, for example, is far too easy to get caught up in. Moving forward, I’ll be working on maintaining my social media health in a more robust way.

Did you achieve any personal goals?

I don’t tend to set resolutions or overly specific goals for the New Year; however, one thing I really wanted to work on during 2022 was focusing on healing — in whatever context this process manifested. Seeing as this is a journey and not a destination, healing will remain a priority, but overall I’d say this was was something I achieved.

What advice would you give yourself for the year ahead?

I think it would have to be:

  • Take the time to be more intentional about the things that enrich your mind, body and soul.
  • Get out and do the things that make you happy more often.
  • Don’t give energy to things that eat away at your joy, health and well-being.

What are you going to focus on in the New Year?

I think my theme for 2023 will be ‘nourishing growth and purpose’; a focus on exploring things that encourage finding value in all aspects of my life and welcoming new experiences (while also maintaining boundaries).

This is going to be my last post of 2022; I want to be fully present during the holidays and enjoy the rest of December as a time to relax, celebrate my birthday and see the new year in with renewed excitement and hope.

Don’t forget, if you’re going to answer these questions on your blog; please link back to this post so I can read your answers and leave you some love!

I wish you all a very Happy New Year!

What are your reflections about 2022? What are you looking forward to in 2023? Do you have any goals or resolutions?


Further Info:

Free Journal Pages Download! For a beautifully designed printer version of the prompts and questions in this post, click here!

56 thoughts on “The Best End of Year Guided Reflection Journal Prompts”

  1. This year, I achieved so much than I even thought. By this time last year, I never knew I’d be a blogger. But here I am, a book blogger, ready to take over the world. I’m so grateful for that switch.

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  2. This year I reached 15k views all year on my blog, which is amazing for me. I’m gonna do the same thing as you and stop spending as much time on social media; I usually get depressed and delete my stuff when I find out my stuff gets no likes and I think spending time off social media will allow me to reflect.

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  3. This is such wonderful news about your husband, I’m so happy for you. I think my word of the year for 2023, like you is going to be “purpose”, trying to find my why and carrying on with my full time job and blogging! Happy 2023 to you! x

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  4. I admire everyone who journals and reflects on their life and goals. I find it a challenge. Currently, I’m trying to write one positive affirmation each day. Thanks for the nudge. I will take some time to reflect on my 2023 goals!

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  5. Thank you so much for sharing these! I’m doing a lot of reflecting on this year and what I want to change or accomplish in 2023. So glad to hear about your husbands remission! And the new apartment, that’s wonderful.

    For me 2023 is all about taking back my power, finding me again and spending time doing things I enjoy. The past few years I’ve lost myself and I don’t want life to pass me by as I become even more of a shell of myself.

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    1. I think your goals/focus for the year ahead are brilliant; it can be so difficult to find our way back if we’ve lost our sense of self but the biggest step is realizing this has happened. I wish you all the best with this; I hope 2023 is your year!

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  6. This was a nice post and reflective. That’s great about your moving in to a better place and the family. 3 characteristics was a great point I also pondered on that and the new year goals. Happy Holidays! Xx
    Isa A. Blogger

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  7. You can’t go wrong with a good set of journal prompts. You blog also contain questions, so I think I’ll have a crack at answering them in my comment, I hope you don’t mind.

    What is your motto/mantra for 2023?
    I hadn’t thought about doing something like this, but I may steal your mantra.

    How has your relationship with yourself changed?
    Yeah, but probably not for the best, at least not for most of the year.

    What are you going to focus on in the New Year?
    I have no idea. I’d like to be able to focus on putting my own mark on where I live.

    What advice would you give yourself for the year ahead?
    Same advice I give everyone, don’t be a dick! But also, get out of your own way.

    Happy holidays!

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    1. I love your advice; definitely good to remind people not to be a dick (some people really need to hear this) but I also love the point of getting out of our own way (something I need to work on). I hope answering these questions was useful; I find they really help me sort of draw a line under the outgoing year and I start working on what I’m trying to do for the next. Thanks for sharing your answers here!

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  8. This is such a great post, I’ve not seen this tag before, but I loved reading your answers. I am so glad to hear that your husbands health is improving, that is such good news. Also: ‘I’m worth the effort’. Is such a great mantra to be taking into 2023, I may have to use that one myself xx

    Hannah |

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  9. These are all wonderful journal prompts for the end of the year! It’s always nice to reflect and celebrate your successes and pinpoint what areas need more attention. I’ll be using these! Thanks for sharing Molly!

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  10. I think i’ll definitely be sitting down to do these before the new year. That and I’ll be making a conscious effort to get ahead of the blogging game for next year.

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  11. This is such a great post! I’m glad that your husband is doing well in recovery. As someone that loves to journal, I will try out your journal prompts and post them as a blog post. I will link back to your post.

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  12. this was a lovely post! loved reading it.
    sometimes its nice to reflect on one’s year because if you’ve had a hard year, you end up getting reminded of what brought you joy and moments to smile. i too found myself doing the same on my blog 🙂

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  13. So pleased to hear your husband’s health is improving.
    I really enjoy these reflection posts, I think my big take from 2022 is that I’m braver than I give myself credit for.

    Hope 2023 is kind to you x

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  14. I agree with the less time on social media. This past year I had to take multiple breaks due the negativity of online. It was affecting my mental health. It felt so good to just take a break from online.

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