New year, new you: a different type of reflection

Katy Kandaris-Weiner, LPC

As the New Year approaches, it is easy to think of all the goals you want to accomplish, all the ways you are going to improve your life, and all the things you “should” be doing to become the person you have always wanted to be. And, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by those thoughts. It is natural to think about goals, hopes, and intended progress especially at the start of a new season of life, and this is a practice that can be very beneficial and motivating. However, it is also important to recognize what you have already accomplished and all the ways you have already contributed to your growth. So with that in mind, set aside the goals for a moment and consider this exercise.

The Brag Sheet

This exercise is intended to prompt reflection on the last period of life (in this case, the last year) and help you identify your growth and accomplishments. This exercise can be modified in many ways to be more helpful or accessible.

Items to have:

  • Paper or journal
  • Writing tool
  • Digital form of writing (although handwriting this exercise is recommended)
  • Quiet time
  1. For this exercise we are looking at the last calendar year, 2021. Write at the top of your page 2021 and the phrase, “This year I..”
  2. Take some time to ground yourself, perhaps by using a mindfulness skill or your Calm Place skill.
  3. When you feel grounded, allow your mind to think about the previous year looking for experiences where you felt you achieved a measure of growth or experienced accomplishment or success.
  4. As your mind notices these experiences, write them down on your page.
  5. When you have finished noting your experiences, read through them and see if there are any additional items you would like to add.
  6. Consider reading this page daily as you head into the New Year or save it somewhere and read it when you feel discouraged or confused.


  • If thinking about the entire year is overwhelming, think about the last month or even the last week.
  • If you cannot think of a single accomplishment or growth you experienced, ask someone you trust if they can recall things they were proud of you for doing.
  • If you are not comfortable asking someone, consider thinking about yourself as a person you are observing and write down the accomplishments of that person.

This exercise is meant to give you an opportunity to reflect on what you have done and inspire you to access feelings of pride and hope in your abilities. This exercise could be challenging, uncomfortable, or bring up negative and conflicting feelings about yourself. If that happens, please discuss this with a therapist or trusted person.

While it can be exciting to dream, plan, and make goals for the next season of life, it is so important that we acknowledge what has brought us to the present moment and what will likely be a motivation to help us go forward. In the words of Maya Angelou, “I have great respect for the past. If you don’t know where you’ve come from, you don’t know where you’re going.” Please take time to recognize and brag about yourself, just like you would for a loved one. Your accomplishments matter, your growth (no matter how small it feels) is important, and you are someone worth bragging about.

If this exercise is something you would like support with, or if doing this exercise brought up difficult feelings, please reach out to our office to schedule a session. Our therapists are happy to support you in your journey.

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Katy Kandaris-Weiner, LPC

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