10 Thoughtful Ways to Reflect on Your Accomplishments in 2021

By Krista


Last Updated: December 25, 2021

As we close the door on the last year, the new year marks a time for self reflection. It can open your eyes wide to what went well and what didn’t, guiding you toward making 2022 your best year yet.

Author Vern McLellan stated this simply: “What the new year brings to you will depend a great deal on what you bring to the new year.” 

Thus, it’s time to dig into goal setting and reflections as you get ready to open a new chapter. In this article, we’ll answer various questions about your past year and goals for the future. What are you proud of in the past year? What didn’t go very well? What did you learn from it? Let’s break this all down so that you can achieve your fullest potential in this new year.


10 Ways to Reflect on Your Accomplishments & Set Smart Targets for the New Year

You are awesome, whether you believe it or not. Each person has a unique experience on this planet, and it’s important to recognize this in yourself. The truth is no one has lived your life or your experiences. You have value, and these activities will help you uncover exactly that, no matter how big or small they are! Remember, every little bit counts.


So, let’s dive in. How can you reflect on this past year and enter the new year with positivity and motivation?

1. Use the Right Questions as Journal Prompts

Writing is therapeutic on many levels. It helps you let go. It helps you understand yourself. It helps you organize your thoughts, and so much more. 


As you set on into the new year, spend some time answering the following questions:

  • What are you proud of in the past year?
  • What went well?
  • What didn’t?
  • What lessons can you learn from what didn’t go as planned?
  • What was the overarching lesson (This can be a statement or phrase) in the last year?
  • Where do you want to go from here? (Set S.M.A.R.T. goals using this question, being as specific as possible.)


We recommend setting aside at least an hour or two to thoroughly answer the above. And here’s a hint: Using your photos from the past year can help you determine these answers, reminding you of the wonderful times that perhaps your recent memory may have forgotten.


Related Article: 40 Inspiring Journal Prompts to Guide Your Deep & Personal Journey

2. Create a Gratitude List

Yes, this is another writing exercise, but hear us out! The attitude of gratitude is one of the best things you can do for your mental health.  


And it doesn’t take a whole lot to get there. In fact, the more you practice gratitude, the easier it gets to appreciate the things in your life. 


For the sake of this exercise, spend some time listing out everything you are grateful for that happened or existed in the past year and why. Really dig deep here. What is your reasoning behind it? This is important so that you truly feel the appreciation deep within you.

3. Create an Accomplishments Examples List

We’re serious. 


Consider this a list your future self can refer back to when feeling sad. And this list doesn’t just encompass this past year but all time. What are you proud of in your life? What can you say you’ve done that no one else has? 


This list will provide you with motivation when you’re feeling down and allow you to access a different perspective that your past self has seen when your present self can’t.

4. Burn or Throw Away the Bad

This is where you reflect on the not-so-great-stuff. While we want to emphasize your accomplishments, we can’t entirely ignore the other stuff. Unfortunately, you can’t have the good without the bad.


Yet, this exercise also offers you a time for self-reflection and then a time to let go. So, make a list of everything bad that happened in the past year. Then, either throw it away or set it on fire (in a safe and responsible way, of course!).

5. Meditate

Once (and if) you’ve finished all of the above, it’s time to make way for the new. Clear your mind through meditation. You can even make this a daily practice if you so choose. 


Start with just a couple minutes. Find a peaceful spot to sit and close your eyes. Bring your focus toward your breath. Practice inhaling for the count of four and exhaling for the count of four. Do this for the entire duration. If your thoughts wander, simply bring them back to your breath each time without judgement. 

6. Give Yourself Something

This is all about celebrating. You’ve outlined your accomplishments, and now you should celebrate them. The truth is we don’t celebrate enough. So, take those small opportunities.


This might mean booking that massage for yourself or drawing up that bubble bath. Maybe you want to take yourself out for dinner. Or perhaps you can treat yourself to a night alone. Do what you need here! It’s important.

7. Set Goals

Now, it’s time to look forward. What do you want to get out of the next year?


With goals, you need to make them S.M.A.R.T. This means specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-oriented. Each goal you write down, make sure it has these specific factors.


Related Article: Are You Working on Your Personal Development? 10 Achievable Goals for 2022

8. Make a Plan

Schedule your goals in your calendar. What are you going to do to take steps toward them? What habits will you perform regularly? These matter since these are the small incremental changes that will get you to where you want to be.

9. Write Three Key Words to Carry With You Into Your New Year

These words should resonate with you. They should mean something to you. Choose these three words and carry them with you going forward.

Some examples include:

  • Optimistic
  • Joyful
  • Ambitious
  • Open-minded
  • Self-worth
  • Confidence
  • Healthy
  • Happy
  • Adventures
  • Travel
  • Career

10. Write Three Key Traits You Want to Embody in the New Year

Now, who do you want to become?

Write down the three key traits you need to become that person so that you can step into them as you go into this new year. You can even go a step further, and write down what these traits specifically mean to you.


Make This Year Your Best Year Yet

Self reflection goes a long way when it comes to finding fulfillment and success in your life. You need to know where you’re going wrong and what you’re doing right to go forward in the direction you want. 

Use the above activities to help you get there. Take some time this holiday season to help your future self get a leg-up. Who knows, maybe in 365 days, you won’t even recognize yourself (in a good way!).

Read Next: New Year: New, Wonderful You

Photo by Jared Erondu on Unsplash


5 comments on “10 Thoughtful Ways to Reflect on Your Accomplishments in 2021”

  1. 🙏🏻
    Love, Happiness, Bliss
    Repeat after me…
    Love, Happiness, Bliss
    Love, Happiness, Bliss
    Make 2022 the best EVER!

  2. Thank you indeed.
    I’ll try to always confident and joyful in the coming year 2022.

    And I hope , I can throw away my bad habit .
    Once again , thank you .

  3. Very nice & useful article. Made me reflect. I generally have a tendency to discount my accomplishments & things I need to be grateful for. Helped me set the compass for 2022.

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