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by Erika Albertini, PT, DPT December 28, 2023 9 min read

Year-End Reflections and New Year Beginnings


Ready to say goodbye to the current year? Let's close it out with a bang and start the upcoming year with some serious purpose. The year-end is a golden opportunity for reflection and self-discovery, setting the stage for a brand-spankin'-new beginning. So, buckle up because we're transitioning, bringing in the new year with a pumped-up sense of purpose, a truckload of gratitude, and a whole bunch of excitement. Ready to wrap up the year like a rockstar? Let's do this!

As we bid farewell to another year, now's the ideal moment to reflect on our journey, revel in our victories, and gracefully conclude this chapter of our lives. Closing out the year isn't just a routine; it's an opportunity for self-discovery, gratitude, and paving the way for a new start.  Let's delve into why wrapping up the year with intention matters, navigate through some practical steps together, and chat about choosing a "Word of the Year" to steer us into the future.


Before we dive into the mechanics of closing out the year, let's take a moment to appreciate the power of reflection and gratitude. Look back on the past year - the ups, the downs, and everything in between. Acknowledge your growth, learnings from challenges, and the people who shaped your journey. It's a time to express gratitude for all the experiences that shaped your year.

A serene woman sits on the water's edge, her silhouette gracefully mirrored in the tranquil surface, as the soft glow of twilight casts an ethereal aura around her.

Carve out some time in your favorite quiet spot, perhaps with a cup of tea or your preferred beverage, to engage in this reflective exercise. In the stillness of this peaceful environment, allow yourself to ponder the year's events deeply. This serene setting can foster a more profound sense of introspection and appreciation.

Start by jotting down your achievements, big and small. Celebrate personal and professional accomplishments, and acknowledge the lessons learned from setbacks. Reflection sets the stage for gratitude, and taking a moment to say thanks can bring a sense of fulfillment. An article by UCLA Health states that practicing gratitude can be a powerful health habit. So, embrace the power of reflection and gratitude to close out the year and welcome the dawn of a new, exciting chapter.


Closing out the year intentionally involves more than just turning the calendar page. Let's walk through some practical steps:

  1. Reviewing Your Goals:Okay, let's rewind a bit (wink, wink Rewind Super Greens) and revisit those goals with which you kicked off the year. It's a bit like flipping through the pages of a book – the story of your goals and aspirations. Take a moment to celebrate the wins, the victories, the little triumphs you might've forgotten. Let that sense of achievement soak in. Here's the plot twist: are those goals still vibing with you? Life has this funny way of throwing curveballs, right? So, let's check in, and make sure your goals are still in sync with your journey. Maybe some need a little tweaking, and others might need a victory lap. It's all about ensuring that what you set out to conquer aligns with the intentional path you're carving. It's time to dust off those initial dreams and see if they're still your ride-or-die goals for the journey ahead.

  1. Declutter and Organize: Let's talk about decluttering because, trust me, it's a game-changer for your space and your mind. Your physical and digital spaces are like the canvas of your life. So, it's time to roll up your sleeves and clear out the unnecessary stuff – both the tangible and the digital clutter. Clean out that overflowing drawer, organize your workspace, and hit reset on your digital files. It's not just about creating order in your physical surroundings; it's also a mind cleanse. Think of it as making room for the good stuff, creating a fresh, clean slate. When you declutter, you're making space for clarity, creativity, and a sense of calm. So, let's grab some bins and digital folders and declutter our way to a clean canvas for the new chapter.
A young man meticulously arranges his belongings, a focused determination on his face as he creates order from the scattered array of items before him.
  1. Completing Unfinished Tasks: let's tackle those lingering tasks that have been playing hide and seek. You know, the half-done projects, the to-dos that keep peeking out from the back of your mind. It's time to shine a light on them. Ask yourself: are these tasks still rocking your boat? If yes, let's make a game plan. Either buckle down and finish them off, giving yourself a victory dance, or, if they've lost their shine, it might be time to reshuffle and slot them into the agenda for the upcoming year. It's about clearing the mental clutter, tying up loose ends, and stepping into the new year with a clean slate. So, grab that to-do list, let's sift through it together, and decide which tasks are getting a final chapter this year and which ones are making their debut in the next.

  1. Expressing Gratitude: Take a moment to connect with the folks who've sprinkled a bit of magic into your year – those friends, family members, or colleagues who've been the real MVPs. It's time to express some gratitude. A heartfelt thank-you note or a simple call can work wonders. Tell them how much their support, laughter, or presence meant to you. Gratitude is like a two-way street; it not only makes their day but also brings a beautiful sense of closure for you. So, grab your phone or a pen, and let's spread some gratitude. Who knows, your message might be the highlight of their day, and it's a perfect way to step into the new year with a heart full of appreciation.

  1. Reflect on Lessons Learned: As we wrap up this year, give yourself the gift of reflection. Take a little breather and consider the lessons this journey has thrown your way. What did those challenges teach you? How did you grow through successes? Grab a journal and jot down these insights. Journaling about the lessons learned is a powerful way to absorb and internalize those experiences. It's like distilling wisdom from the highs and lows, creating a narrative that guides you into the next chapter. So, let's acknowledge the journey you've been on, appreciate the lessons learned, and set the stage for a future enriched with newfound wisdom and resilience.


Do you know what's been catching on lately? This interesting thing where you pick a "Word of the Year." It's choosing one word that sums up your goals and becomes a theme for the upcoming year. This word becomes your guide, helping you stay focused and motivated. It's like a beacon for making decisions and growing personally. It's a neat trend that's all about keeping things simple but super meaningful.

A 2024 Word of the Year banner set against a backdrop of fireworks.

How to Choose Your Word:

  1. Reflect on Your Goals: Pause and reflect on your goals. Think about what you are looking to achieve. What's at the heart of those aspirations? Is it about leveling up your career, fostering deeper connections, or finding that sweet spot between work and life? Start peeling back the layers to discover the fundamental themes and values driving your ambitions. This deeper understanding of what drives you can serve as a personal guide that keeps you in sync with what truly matters to you.

  1. Identify Key Areas: Now, let's zoom in briefly. Take a closer look at the different parts of your life, the nooks and crannies where you invest your time and energy. What areas are calling for a bit more TLC? Is it your work, relationships, personal growth, or health? Once you've pinpointed those key zones, think about the qualities you want to infuse into them. Do you want more positivity at work, deeper connections in your relationships, or a healthier lifestyle? This is about putting on your detective hat and uncovering what improvements you're craving in these specific life arenas. It's like shining a spotlight on the areas that matter most to you, figuring out what needs a little extra love, and then setting the stage to bring those qualities into play.

  1. Connect Emotionally: Alright, let's get honest about this. When picking your word for the year, it's about choosing something that hits you in the feels. Your word should be like a personal anthem that stirs up emotions, fires up your motivation, and resonates deep within you. It's got to be more than just a word; it's got to be a vibe, an emotional connection. Think about it like finding the theme song to your life for the next 365 days. When you land on that word, you want it to give you that 'aha' moment, where you go, "Yeah, this is it!" So, take a beat, feel it out, and find the word that will be your rockstar anthem for the year ahead. It must be something that truly inspires you and connects with the core of who you are.

  1. Review Previous Choices:Take a moment to reflect on those words that once served as guiding stars for your past years. Reflect on their impact on your journey – did they spark growth, inspire change, or bring unexpected blessings? Consider the themes they embodied and how they resonated with the experiences of those years. With this wisdom in hand, ask yourself: does a similar theme still align with where you are and where you want to go? Or, perhaps it's time for a fresh start with a completely new word that speaks to the aspirations of this upcoming chapter. What tone do you want for the next exciting chapter?

  1. Ask for Input: Don't hesitate to lean on your friends and family who know you best. Ask for their input when choosing your Word of the Year. They often possess a unique perspective and can offer valuable insights into the qualities that make you shine or areas where they've seen you thrive. Those closest to you have a front-row seat to your journey, and their observations can be a treasure trove of inspiration. So, pick up the phone, shoot a text, or gather your loved ones around for a chat. Let their reflections become a compass for the perfect word that aligns with your aspirations.

Remember, choosing your Word of the Year is a personal journey. It's about finding a word that inspires and is a compass for the experiences you want to attract. So, let's embark on this word-finding adventure together! What resonates with you the most?

Examples of Words of the Year:

“Wellness” Keeping it simple, a constant reminder to make your health a priority in every way.

“Resilience” Embracing challenges and bouncing back from adversity.

“Balance” Striving for equilibrium in various aspects of life.

“Self-Care” Taking intentional steps to pamper yourself physically and mentally.

“Mindfulness” Keeping it real in the present moment, reducing stress, and giving your mind a breather.



As we approach the year-end, let's see it as a transition rather than just an end. Closing the year with reflection, intention, and a guiding word can turn this moment into a powerful springboard for the future. Embrace the opportunity to bid farewell to the old and welcome the new with a renewed sense of purpose, gratitude, and excitement for what lies ahead. Cheers to wrapping up the year on a high note!


Q1: Why is closing out the year important?

Closing out the year goes beyond a mere ritual; it's a chance for self-discovery, gratitude, and creating a fresh start. Reflecting on the journey and celebrating wins sets the stage for a meaningful transition to the new year.

Q2: How can I set intentions for closure?

Closing the year intentionally involves reviewing goals, decluttering physical and digital spaces, completing unfinished tasks, expressing gratitude, and reflecting on lessons learned. These steps ensure a clean slate and a focused start to the upcoming year.

Q3: What is the "Word of the Year" trend, and why should I consider it?

Choosing a "Word of the Year" involves selecting one word that encapsulates your goals and is a guiding theme for the upcoming year. It's a trend focused on simplicity and meaning, providing a beacon for decision-making and personal growth.

Q4: How do I choose my Word of the Year?

Reflect on your goals and the core themes driving your aspirations. Identify key areas of your life and the qualities you want to infuse into them. Connect emotionally with the word, seeking something that resonates deeply. Review previous choices and ask for input from friends and family for a well-rounded decision.

Q5: Why is it essential to view the year-end as a transition?

A: Seeing the year-end as a transition rather than just an end allows for reflection, intention, and selecting a guiding word. This approach transforms the moment into a powerful springboard for the future, fostering a renewed sense of purpose, gratitude, and excitement for what lies ahead.



  1. Reflect on Your Journey: Pause for a moment and cast your gaze over the landscape of the past year. Reflect on the unique tapestry of experiences, recognizing the pivotal role of those who shared the journey. Embrace the lessons, celebrate the victories, and with gratitude, let these reflections shape the canvas for the chapters yet to unfold.


  1. See it as a Transition: Consider the year's conclusion not as a final chapter but as a transitional phase, a bridge to new opportunities. Picture it as a moment of metamorphosis where reflection, intention, and the choice of a guiding word act as your compass. By hugging these elements, you're not just closing a door but opening one to a world of possibilities. 


  1. Bid Farewell with Renewed Purpose: Step into the new year with a heart brimming with renewed purpose, gratitude for the moments that colored the canvas of the past, and an infectious excitement for the unknown wonders that await. See it like a cherished friend, with eagerness, gratitude, and the thrill of a journey unfolding.


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