How do you feel about New Year’s resolutions? Do you make any time to reflect on your past year and plan for the year above? I’ve shared several posts in the past with ideas for goal setting, intentions, and New Year’s resolutions, as well as talking about why I think an art-based approach to this can be helpful. (Check out “Art Directives for New Year’s Resolutions” for this.)
Today I want to share a quick update on my own process this year for reviewing the past year and looking forward to the next year, as well as the directive I have used with a few groups.
For my own reflection this year, I started with journaling about the past year, reviewing last year’s list of goals, making a list of hopes and goals for the new year (20 items for 2020), and choosing a word of the year to focus on this year. If you need some ideas for your own journaling, here are a few:
For the past year:
- What are some of the big highlights and events from your year?
- What are some of the accomplishments and achievements you are proud of?
- What have been some of the struggles of the past year?
- What emotions from/about the past year might be important to include?
- Did you have goals/resolutions from last year and how did you do with these?
For the new year:
- What goals/hopes/intentions do you have for the coming year?
- How do you hope to feel?
- What activities, people, or other things are important to have in your life this year?
- How do you hope to respond to challenges that come up this year?
For the art-based component, I created two images – one to represent the past year and one to represent my hopes/goals for the year ahead. I found this to be a nice way to let go of some things from the past year, think about what I wanted to carry forward, and visualize my intentions moving forward.
In my art therapy groups, I had clients use large sheets of paper and fold them in half, creating an image on each side. I offered some of the questions from above as things for the group members to think about for their artwork. I also reminded them that the way they chose to represent their year was totally up to them – it could be anything from a collection of representational images to an abstract expression of how the year felt.
Wishing you a great year ahead! Share your thoughts below – how do you use art to mark the transition to a new year, set goals, or review the past?
Want more great art and writing prompts for exploring emotions, practicing mindfulness, developing healthy coping, increasing movement, and building healthy relationships? Be sure to check out my guided journal, The Balanced Mind.
Carolyn Mehlomakulu, LMFT-S, ATR-BC is an art therapist in Austin, Texas who works with children, teens, and families. For more information about individual therapy, child and teen counseling, family therapy, teen group therapy, and art therapy services, please visit: www.therapywithcarolyn.com.
This blog is not intended to diagnose or treat any mental health conditions. All directives, interventions, and ideas should be used by qualified individuals within the appropriate bounds of their education, training, and scope of practice. Information presented in this blog does not replace professional training in child and family therapy, art therapy, or play therapy. Art therapy requires a trained art therapist.
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