How can we reflect on the last year to live more happily the next?

Fe Robinson

Fe Robinson

UKCP psychotherapist Fe Robinson is a UKCP registered psychotherapist. Working in private practice, Fe seeks to help clients develop by providing a safe and energising therapeutic environment.

As one year ends and another approaches, it’s a good time to reflect and look forwards. A year is a long time, with many experiences lived through. As an outcome-oriented psychotherapist and coach, much of my work supports clients in developing self-awareness and making changes. Here are some tips for reflecting and planning.

Reflections on the past year

The first step is to reflect on the year past. It’s not always useful to think of things in terms of good and bad, often there is more insight when we reflect on each as the unique experience it was, and look for what the experience has brought us. You might ask yourself:

  1. What did I want to have happen in the last year?
  2. What did happen - what kind of year has it been?
  3. Where is my attention drawn – what stands out? What was significant?
  4. When did I feel the most ‘me’?
  5. What strengths and talents have I drawn on this year?
  6. What did I learn?
  7. How have I changed?
  8. What has gone really well that I want to keep? How did I do that?
  9. How do I now want to change?

The challenge is to notice the patterns in what has happened. The story of your year can take you so far, but noticing the dynamics and themes that come up again and again can take you that bit deeper into self-knowledge, and enable you to begin to make changes based on what you see. It’s a bit like the events are the waves on the ocean, while it’s the ocean bed that shapes their form and intensity.

Energising the new year

Having reflected on the year past, you might now build some momentum for the year ahead by reflecting on what you now want. Here are some prompt questions:

  1. What do I want to have happen this next year?

Be specific, state it in the positive, and dare to dream!

  1. And if that happens…then what happens? What will be the benefits?

Knowing your why is important, you can use these motivations to keep going if things get tough.

  1. For what I want to happen to happen, I need to be like what?

This question is about responsibility, how can you live in a way that will make your outcomes more likely, how can you be congruent with what you want?

  1. To have the year I want, what support do I need from other people?

No-one is an island and reflecting on what help and support you need up front can help you get it in place.

  1. What do I most value in life that I want to prioritise this year? How can I better express what I value this next year?

Knowing what we value and being true to our values helps us to feel at peace, it gets our whole system aligned.

  1. What one thing will most make my heart sing in the year ahead?

Here, the key thing is to notice what energises you, and to build that into your year.

Finding support in your next chapter

Psychotherapy can be really helpful to go deeper with your reflections. It may be part of your plan for the coming year to understand old patterns and free yourself of them, or perhaps you want to find new ways of being that will improve your quality of life. Why not search the directory and see who feels like a good match to walk beside you for the next steps in your life?

You can look for a UKCP accredited therapist on our website


You can also find support by contacting:

In an emergency, call: 999

NHS (England), call: 111

NHS Direct (Wales), call: 0845 46 47

The Samaritans 24-hour helpline, call: 116 123

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