Journal Prompts to Help You Pick a Word & Mission for the New Year
Goal-setting can be quite stressful, especially when you’re not exactly the type for discipline or you’re walking fresh into a lifestyle change. Either you’re super excited to embark on a new journey that you list a bazillion goals that will never get done or resistance steals the motivation to do any resolution-setting.
New Year’s Resolutions will always be debated as long as people will be people. Some see the close of a tangible life chapter as an opportunity to work on the areas that need some love. While others point out that you shouldn’t need a marker to begin a change. Both are right and valid. You don’t need to wait to resolve issues and you can be inspired by yet another year passing.
Can you feel the tension, already? You’re anxious to get to the point, discover the formula and enter all the new goals. On the other hand, you may be pulling back as all your unfinished goals for this year have come to mentally discourage you from trying again.
To which I say, you are not a list of achievements. You are a person. We are not going to talk about SMART goals and methods to grow your output exponentially. We are talking about an approach that supports you as a spiritual, emotional, mental and physical being go on to succeed in the arenas of change.
Let’s look back at this year (or life chapter, if you’re reading this at a time apart from the New Year) to figure out where you are, what lessons you’re learning and what mission will help you in the days to come. We are going to draw on some met/unmet hopes, aspirations, emotions and goals.
1. Measure Your Progress
We aren’t looking to micromanage life by tracking every hour at the gym or every dollar saved. We aren’t going to pat ourselves on the back for a lazy attempt, either. Instead we are going to measure our alignment with the mission we set out on last year. Maybe you didn’t have a word and mission, that’s okay! You can still gauge how you did according to whatever personal development goals you dreamed of.
- What did I enjoy this past year? What did I not enjoy?
- Why did I enjoy certain aspects more than others? Use specific emotion words.
- List words that summed up my past year.
- What behaviors/circumstances/relationships helped me succeed? What got in the way?
- What are some positives & negatives I noticed about my spiritual walk? attitude? relationships? job/work? hobbies? personal development? etc.
- How does the person I was 365 days feel about my life now? How does the person I will be in 10 years feel about my life now?
2. Celebrate the Good & Bad
Looking for Themes
Inevitably, you are going to find that you faced various successes and losses. Congratulations, you’ve made it this far! Every experience serves as a lesson, either that you’ve learned or need to learn. Mistakes that you made are great areas to explore in the upcoming year as they are rich with opportunity for growth. After reflecting on the things you’ve gone through, you can start extrapolating themes that you encountered throughout the year.
These questions will allow you to see yourself in a better light by highlighting the accomplishments, skills, and knowledge that you overlook or take for granted in yourself. Prompts:
- Where did I succeed last year? This is an area that I have mastered, dare to move forward and go deeper. What might be next?
- Where did I fail last year? How often does this come up as an issue? Is there a solution I have not tried? What would happen if I gave up on this thing altogether?
- What was one prominent obstacle I overcame last year and what did it teach me about myself?
- What would I like to achieve in the year to come? How might I go about completing that? Will I be able to use the resources I have already acquired?
- How am I going to use the lessons I learned last year and apply them to this new year?
3. Set Personal Dream Goal
One Concise Goal
This activity is laying the foundation for goal-setting and goal-reaching along the way. Like we’ve discussed earlier, if you are growing as a person in the various areas of life then you will be able to handle more growth when the time comes. We aren’t setting out to make this year a list of conquer but rather a journey for understanding what it is that God will help you conquer. Some battles are not yours and often times, we set ourselves up for war through an unhealthy need to achieve. We can prevent signing up for unnecessary goals by using this mission statement as a guide or standard–think about the word focus. This is your focus.
Pray. And remember that this could all change and be stripped away by God tomorrow if He sees fit. Be willing to drop it all and pick up all He has for you.
- How can I summarize my reflection and celebration in 1-2 paragraphs?
- List words that describe my year; they could be recurring themes, emotions and objectives.
- Which Bible passage(s)/verse(s) answer the problems that I faced last year? Which Word of God has really spoken to me about my year to come?
- What would I like to have accomplished one year from now? How can I tie that project or those projects to a lesson or theme?
- Which (3) words relate to what I’ve experienced and what I have yet to learn?
- In (1) sentence, what am I going to accomplish as a developing person this year?
~ For example, “I will make decisions that promote work-life balance.”
Pick one word for the year.
Write your mission statement for the year.
Select a Bible passage, or a few, that will give you strength when the going gets tough.
I hope that you enjoyed this and get a lot out of these prompts. If you have any questions or need help weeding through your thoughts and words, please share in the comments or shoot me an email. I’d love to help you.
On that note, I will be sharing my 2020 reflection next week–there you’ll learn what word, mission and passage set the guidelines. Also, I will honestly share how effective this exercise was for me as well as set the stage for my 2021 word, mission and passage.