December just started. Or at least it feels like it did. Yet here we are almost halfway through the month! That means 2018 is looming in front of us. Blogs and magazines will be releasing posts and articles about how to reflect over the past year or how to set goals for the new year. But 2017 was a hard year for many people. Not many will want to reflect over the past year much less set goals for a new year! Reflecting means going over all the failures and heartaches of 2017. Who wants to relive those? And when those come to mind, 2018 seems pretty bleak. Will it finally be the year I get my full-time job? Or will I fail again? Will I finally graduate? Or will another life-changing situation pop up and I’ll have to put it off for yet another year? These are just a few of millions of thoughts that could cross a person’s mind when reflecting. Before you start worrying and stressing over 2018, however, you should take the time to reflect on 2017. But didn’t I just say that reflection is what causes most of the worry and stress over the new year? Yes. I did. But that’s because you’re reflecting on the wrong things. Learn from your failures and move on—don’t dwell on them. Instead, focus on the blessings and happy times of 2017. This will enable you to move into 2018 with a positive attitude and a determination to find more joy in the upcoming year. It is often hard to concentrate on our blessings rather than our failures, so here are three ways to do it:
1. Journal Your Experiences
Bullet journaling really took off this year. I first saw it on Pinterest aesthetic boards, but then it grew. Multiple people I knew posted about their bullet journals on Facebook and Instagram. All raved about the creative way to create to-do lists and schedules. I don’t bullet journal myself. Too much of a perfectionist for it, unfortunately. But I do journal. As a writer, I best express myself through the written word; thus, taking time at the end of each year and writing down my thoughts and feelings from the past year has been a great way to reflect. When I write down my thoughts and feelings, I find that the happy moments—no matter how small—are the ones that come to mind the most. Think about it. If someone were to find your journal, what would you want them to read? All the anger and frustration and depression you felt? Or would you want them to feel the joy, the jump-up-and-down-excitement that you felt? Wouldn’t you want to them to enjoy the happy moments like you enjoyed them? As this year ends, grab your favorite notebook and pen, perhaps even a warm drink (any other tea lovers out there?), and find a quiet area. Then think of all the blessings you received this past year. Write about those moments in detail: remember how you felt, what you were doing, what you were wearing, who you were with. Relive that happiness. You may find yourself with a smile on your face and a feeling of hope for the new year.
2. Thank Those Who Were A Part of Those Blessings
Usually happy moments aren’t lonesome moments. Take the time to thank those who had a part in your happy times. When you start thinking of the future and of all those unknowns, worry sets in. You wonder what’s going to happen to me? What direction life will go in? But worry is a very self-centered feeling. To remove some of that worry, take the focus off yourself. Think of all the happy moments you journaled and all the people that participated in those moments. Go and write them a thank you note, send them a quick text, or tell them face to face! I’m sure it will bring a smile to their face as well. That small act may be just what they need to see the blessings in their own lives and be hopeful for a wonderful 2018.
3. Thank God for the Blessings He Poured onto You
God is the one who poured all that happiness and joy onto you throughout 2017. You did nothing to deserve those happy moments, but He gave them to you anyway because He loves you. Thank Him for those! Praise Him for His love and goodness to you. I’m sure there were many small moments all throughout 2017 where someone was able to bring a smile to your face or brighten your day. God sent that person to you. He knew you needed those moments. Looking back on all the happy moments of 2017, I bet there are more than you can probably think of. Do you really think God isn’t going to continue to pour out His blessings on you in 2018? 2017 was a good year. A year full of the goodness and grace of God. And God doesn’t change. He’s still going to be good and gracious and loving in 2018. Seek his joy in 2018 and radiate that joy onto others. By taking the focus off yourself and your worry, you’ll find you have more room to be filled with God’s great joy. Written by Megan Shupp