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If 2020 were a building, it would have been a big ol’ funhouse mansion, filled to the brim with twisted artifacts: mirrors that reflect back on one another, a surprise around every corner, and, of course, a massive black hole that makes each day feel like an hour and an hour feel like a century (depending on the news that particular day).
I’m probably not the only person excited to say sayonara to 2020. But, while this year was full of worries and challenges, there were a lot of ways in which it was similar to others that have passed before. Dumpster fire aside, you probably have a few things to be grateful for from 2020. And there are likely many ways you moved your work and life forward. At the very least, you’re still here, and that’s worth recognizing, too.
Below, I’ve collected a few of my favorite new year’s rituals in case you’re looking for a bit of inspiration to step back and reflect on this funhouse of a year. I’ll personally be doing them all.
We’re not always aware of how our work makes a difference, or how much we’re accomplishing. The end-of-year productivity review is designed to combat this, while also letting you set course for the year ahead.
The review has three parts: make a list of 20 milestone accomplishments you hit in the past year, look at the “hotspots” of your life, and set three goals for the year ahead. Here’s a more detailed breakdown of this ritual.
If you don’t have time for a full year-end review, I recommend focusing on the accomplishments portion of the ritual.
While incomplete tasks are constantly on our mind, we too quickly forget about the projects we’ve completed—both professionally and personally. To make an accomplishments list, set aside 15-20 minutes to sit quietly with a pen and paper. Look back through your calendar for the year, recalling all you were able to accomplish in your work and life. If you keep a running log of what you’ve completed, review that task list, too.
You may be surprised by how much you got done.
This might seem like a downright self-flagellatory exercise, but, as a general rule, we need gratitude the most in times when expressing it feels the toughest.
I challenge you to make a list of 25 things you’re grateful for from 2020. This year affected everyone differently—some of us found it incredibly challenging, while others were able to thrive in isolation. Regardless of your situation, you still have a lot to be grateful for, just as with every other year. Even having a roof over your head and an internet connection is something to note.
Our brain is always scanning the world for threats and formulating worries. Recalling gratefulness helps counterbalance this tendency and tip your mind in the other direction.
Have fun ringing in the new year, and I hope these rituals help you reflect on whatever you want to call the 365 days that just went by! Happy New Year!