Three Journaling Exercises to Reflect on 2020

By Tania Ho
December 14, 2020

As we’re entering into the last two weeks of 2020, I personally like to find some quiet time to take a pause and reflect on the past year before the busy holiday times hit. This is to allow my mind, body, heart and soul to arrive at the same page so I can prepare for the new year ahead.

It does seem more difficult to prepare for next year, since this year has been so unpredictable and a lot of things that I’ve used to do basically got thrown out of the window or were put on hold.

But it’s because the past year has been so unpredictable that I feel like I really need to take the time this year to be quiet and listen to my inner guidance.

In today’s blog I invite you to join me on this reflective journey. I will share three journaling exercises with you that you can complete over three days. I have personally completed these journaling exercises myself, and they help me to tune into what direction I’m heading towards next year.

Obviously you can finish all the exercises in one sitting, but I find that it is easier to break it down over three days so the questions get settled into the psyche and answers may come up throughout the day.

So grab your journal and pen and let’s get started.

Day 1: What Excites You or Not?

Find a quiet space and time when you won’t be disturbed for some reflective journaling time. It is ideal to do some type of meditation before journaling, so we are in touch with our hearts and souls instead of just our thinking minds.

Reflect on all the things that you have done the past year, and start to make two lists with the following prompts.

One list writes: What excites you?

The other list writes: What doesn’t feel so exciting anymore?

Allow yourself at least 5 minutes to do some free writing. Free writing is similar to brainstorming where you just write down whatever comes to your mind. There is no need to edit or screen anything out or to analyze at this point.

Be brutally honest with yourself when you write down your lists.

After you have finished writing, you can look back at the activities under each list.

Under the list of activities that no longer excite you, is there anything there that you can start to eliminate or stop doing, or delegate to other people? Sometimes we do things out of habit or tradition, and we forget to question the intention of why we are doing it at the first place. Does the activity still reflect on your original intention?

Perhaps the intention still excites you but the activity doesn’t, so how can you change the activity? If you don’t know the answer yet, it is totally fine. Pose the question to the Universe as a prayer, and wait for the answer to arise naturally.

Under the list of things that excite you, how can you incorporate or prioritize them in your life better? Start with small steps. And I always find it helpful when we schedule time for that activity or task to make it a priority.

Day 2: Challenges and Gifts

Our greatest challenges are often our biggest gifts.

Reflecting over the past year, what have been your challenges and how have they been your gifts? It’s okay if you can’t see them as a gift yet.

Start by listing out the challenges the past year.

How have you honored your feelings around these challenges? How have you moved through them? How have the challenges strengthened you? Perhaps you have developed more resilience. Perhaps your heart was broken into a million pieces, but as you gathered the pieces back, your heart became bigger and fuller.

If you are still going through a challenge and you cannot see the gift in it yet, do not worry. Start by acknowledging your feelings and emotions around this challenge. Does it make you feel like a failure? Does it make you feel you angry or frustrated or worried or sad? Acknowledge and embrace all your feelings and emotions and write them down in your journal.

Again it is completely okay if we don’t have any answers yet, nor should we rush to any conclusions. It is the process that counts. The answer will come, so trust the Universe. Trust your inner wisdom.

Day 3: Gratitude

I always find that it is such a beautiful way to “end the year”, so-to-speak, with listing out the top 10 things I am grateful for in the past year.

My life has changed a lot since COVID-19 hit. There would have been things that I would have never started if it weren’t for the global pandemic situation, such as holding virtual circles and events, running an online course, making videos, starting my own website, and getting more involved in my family business. Online courses that I could take and learn from teachers all over the world. Traveling domestically more often and discovering more local gems. And just having more faith and trust in the Universe that everything is working out for our highest good.

What are your top 10 things that you are grateful for in 2020? Write them down in your journal.

You can even take one step further and use your list as a base to do Gregg Braden’s 2-step heart and mind meditation. You can refer to his meditation here.

You can also share this activity with your family and friends (virtually works well too) during your new year celebration, as a way to send off 2020. If you have a Christmas tree at home, you can write them down on gift tags and hang them on your tree.

I hope you find the above exercises helpful. You can adapt the journaling prompts to any way you like to suit your needs. Give yourself at least 15 minutes or more to do the reflective journaling. You can start to think about the questions at the beginning of the day, and do the writing at the end of the day. You may start with the prompt and end up writing something else, and that is totally cool. This is the beauty of journaling.

It is your private conversation with your soul.

Do you want to delve deeper into some fun and soulful reflections together this winter?

If you’d like to embark on a deeper inner journey to slow down for some soulful reflections, come join our free “12 Days of Meditation Magic” on Facebook live starting from December 21 to January 1, 2021. My friend Susanna Eduini, breathwork facilitator and coach, and I will be facilitating a 20-minute daily meditation from 2.30-3pm Thailand time based on a daily theme. You can also watch the replay later when it is convenient for you. For more information on “12 days of Meditation Magic”, visit our Facebook event page here.