The Annual Review: reflecting and setting intentions for the New Year

by: Kris Kirilova

Kris is a counselor & owner of Career Life Choices – a counseling practice in Arlington Heights, IL.

Every New Year begins full of hope, sparkle, and renewed optimism. We want to create, envision, and plan for a new chapter of our life. We set intentions to live with more love and ease. We pour energy into setting goals for health and fitness, a new career, or better work-life balance.

Today I invite you to reflect on the past year: your successes and gaps, and set mindful intentions for the year ahead. What do you desire to have more of in your life? What do you need to let go of, and make space for something new?

As a therapist, I encourage you to reflect and explore the path traveled so far before you set a new course. 

Review your past efforts and progress

As a first step, I like to set some time aside, and create a relaxing atmosphere to reflect and journal. Start by meditating for 5-10 min or listen to some relaxing music so you can quiet your mind. Be gentle
and compassionate with yourself as you review the past year and your efforts. 

 What brought success, and made you feel good about yourself?

 Suspend the inner critique at this time, and let the cheer leader speak about your efforts and progress. Acknowledge how you have been able to grow, and evolve. Be honest, and give yourself credit for any small or big wins. 

 If you could paint a picture – what would you put in it? 

Would there be lots of white space and room to breathe or would there be a maze? Sometimes life may feel like a maze where we feel lost and confused. 


 Some of you may not feel so good about the past and present. If that’s the case, delve a little deeper, and see if there are any revelations. Do you carry any resentment with you? Do you blame yourself for any setbacks? 

Reframe past setbacks into learning opportunities

Living with resentment, it’s like drinking poison, and hoping that will change your life for the better. This is the time to let go, release, and see any failures as learning opportunities. Sometimes the universe throws us a challenge so we can shift and step up to a new level. No experience is wasted. You certainly have the power to write a different end of any story. 

In your journal, write about experiences that brought you joy, and what you feel is still lacking.  What gaps do you need to close? 

What if you feel conflicted about your desires? 

Invite all parts of you to speak about your dreams and intentions. Imagine yourself holding a meeting with all parts of you, and listen to what they have to say. Some parts may be fearful, and others may be afraid to speak. Pay attention to your feelings, and conflicting sides. It’s time to hear them all and come up with a plan to would allow you to live with more ease and confidence. 

We all have our desires, hopes, and fears. Are you going to make space for your desires? Sometimes this means downsizing in one area so you can expand in another.

Focus and visualize your desires 

Write about your dreams, and visualize what you want to attract in your life. What outcomes do you desire to manifest? Imagine what would be ideal, and go on a mission to draw or collect some images from magazines or online that represent your wishes. Play the future story in your mind. Instead of thinking about how to’s, visualize how your life would be different. How would you feel?  


You are the designer of your life. You want to align your dreams and desires with your values, and authentic self. Abundance is possible! 

You have to believe in yourself, and your ability to find the insight, solutions, and people to move you forward. We create what we believe. Share your intentions with a good friend, or seek the confidential advice of a counselor.

 So, what is your vision for the year ahead? Mine is creating more meaningful connections, and collaborating with people in my local community, and online. 


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