December – the end of a year

DSC05127.jpegWe are in the first week of December and winter is here. The ground is frozen and white. The air to crisp and the gray clouds of Minnesota hang in the sky. This is our darkest month. It is often cloudy and the days are short. I find it hard to get my daily walks in with the ice covered sidewalks so I am missing the fresh air and cardio workout as well.  I have not become accustom to the bitter cold or to the short days so it is easy to fall into a dark mood even with all the push towards holidays.

I find this is a month to journal about what went well this year. It is a time to begindownload to take stock of what worked and where I want to build for next year. It helps keep my mind from spinning out about the negative stuff and the cold.

This is where making lists work really well. A list of ( and a few examples)

  • What events happened this year
    • gardening
    • trip to Duluth
    • purchase a new car
    • working at my school
    • drawing class
    • yoga
    • wedding of my son
  • Are there things I want to repeat
    • gardening
    • Duluth trip
    • yoga
    • drawing class
  • What worked but I want to change it up a bit
    • Working at my school – may need to change due to family changes
  • What changes make sense and why
    • need to think about whether I will work next school year or not
  • What was missing from the year that I might include in this new year
    •  more drawing – developing a regular practice
    • yoga – keeping my practice going even with out class
  • Who did I spend time with
    • new friends from yoga
    • family – in town and out of town family
  • Are there people I have not seen in awhile and would like to see (or need to)
    • need to spent time with my Aunt who is 97
    • would like to travel to see friends in the Southwest and West Coast
    • need to spend more time with old teaching friends
  • What events are coming this year that I already know about and can place in my thinking about changes for the new year
    • family reunion in Iowa
    • change in family –

Once I have a list going I can alway dig deeper into a topic but at least I have a place holder to help me remember what went on. Gardening is always I place I go deeper. There is so much that worked and didn’t work that it could be a list all on its own but I like to keep a big overview list going. It helps me to think about where my energy went last year and was I making wise decisions. Was I doing what I wanted to do?

While making the list I bounce back and forth because an entry will remind me of another one I might have forgotten. It just seems to grow on its own. I find it interesting to see what pops up as I begin to brainstorm about the year.

This process also helps me begin to think about my One Little Word. It leads me to questions like

  • Did I follow my OLW?
    • my OLW as Evolve
  • Is it one I should hold on to?
    • Not sure yet
  • Am I ready to move on to something new in 2019?
    • need to do a bit more thinking


So instead of letting the dark and cold of December take over I look to the New Year, the coming of longer days and begin the process of moving into the joy of new beginnings.

Do you have a process for moving into the new year?  Please share!




About Joanne Toft

I am a retired Minneapolis Public School teacher. I walk, garden, care for my Grandson and write. Life is good!
This entry was posted in behavior change, Reflection. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to December – the end of a year

  1. Catherine says:

    End if year for me (in Australia) is the beginning of summer, long school holidays and trips with the kids and my MIL, who comes each year to escape the Michigan winter. New year, new school year, new job…it will all have to wait until February!

  2. arjeha says:

    I really like the idea of journaling what went well during the past year and set goals for the coming New year. I don’t think we realize all that went well during the previous year until we sit down and take stock of all they happened. Thanks for sharing a great idea.

  3. Adrienne says:

    It is a reflective time of year.

  4. I too have been thinking about OLW lately. Reflecting on this year, the year before, the year before that and thinking forward. I absolutely love that you list things out in this way. Seems like a great way to reflect and look back.

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