1. This past year doesn’t define you.
Maybe this year wasn’t your best. Maybe you made some mistakes you weren’t proud of, maybe you did things you wish so desperately you could take back. It’s okay to admit these things because you’re human, and despite our best efforts we all mess up sometimes—even horrifically. The thing to remember is we are so much more than our worst days and we have the potential to do better and become better. So just because you didn’t do everything right this year, doesn’t mean that is all that you are or ever will be. Make sure you remember that.
2. Remember the defeats as well as the victories.
Sometimes it’s easy for us to really hold close to the things we did right, and completely negate the things we did wrong. Sometimes it’s even easier to beat ourselves up over the things we did wrong and ignore anything we might’ve done right. Yet as this year closes, try to remember, and even celebrate, the victories and the defeats. The things you did right, you have so much to be proud of. And the defeats? They might’ve closed some doors, but perhaps they were the push you needed to go in a different direction. Either way, each moment impacted and shaped you into who you are now, and has shown you who you want to be. It’s okay to embrace those moments, for better or worse.
3. Remember the ones who have stood by you, and will continue to next year.
Though it’s okay to focus on ourselves and where we want to go, this is also a perfect time to look back and reflect on those who stood by our sides, even when we felt our most alone. Maybe we met them this year, or perhaps they’ve been in our lives for years and years before, but the one thing you know without a doubt, you couldn’t have made it through this year without them. Take the time to thank them, pull them close, and grab their hand as you take on the next year together.
4. You have accomplished so much, even if it doesn’t feel the way.
I know maybe you had bigger plans for yourself that you were certain you’d see through. I know maybe you aren’t where you thought you would be right now. Yet this is not the time to doubt yourself and sell yourself short. If you were to really pause and think back, you would realize that you’ve actually accomplished more than you want to admit. Maybe they seem like small steps, or nothing worth acknowledging, and yet any step forward you’ve made is something worth celebrating. Don’t forget that.
5. If you’ve had a rough year, this is not the end.
Sometimes life gives us more to deal with than we ever planned. We feel like we can’t handle another minute, much less another day. No one knows your life and your own mind the way you do, but please remember that this doesn’t mean this is the end. You have so much life ahead of you, and just because this year was a tough one, doesn’t mean that things won’t get better, and more importantly, it doesn’t mean you have to go through the next one alone.
6. You have so much possibility ahead of you.
Despite the things you may leave behind this year, and how important it is to reflect on those things, there is no harm in turning your face towards whatever is next: there is so much possibility and potential in the future for you. You are going to have so many opportunities and moments that will make for incredible experiences, and while life can be unpredictable, it’s nonetheless a good time to remind ourselves that potential for great things lie ahead.
7. The next year is going to fly by, so make the most of it.
It might seem like just yesterday you were starting 2018 and now you’re already at the end of it. So much can happen and time can get away from us all too easily and there isn’t much we can do to stop that. As 2019 approaches, recognize that while this year will indeed fly by quicker than you expect, it doesn’t mean you can’t still make memories and enjoy each moment as it comes your way, which is something we could all stand to do every now and then.
8. This year showed you things you didn’t know about yourself, take those with you.
2018 may be remembered for a lot of things, but remember that when it comes to yourself, this year showed you parts of yourself you may not have known existed. While you may want to forget about so many things about this year, don’t forget these exposed parts of you. For better or worse, it’s good to take these experiences with you into the next year to help you grow.
9. This year showed you things you weren’t proud of, leave those behind (though you can keep the lessons).
This year may have been filled with all sorts of mistakes that you would love to forget and truth be told, it’s okay if you do. You don’t have to carry these things into 2019. You don’t have to let these things haunt you and hold you back. Yet it won’t hurt to carry the lessons you learned from those mistakes with you; if nothing else, to prevent yourself from falling into those places again.
10. This year may have thrown more at you than you planned, but you still made it.
Regardless of what you may have had to take on this year, it’s important to remember that you have made it through it all. You survived another year, despite all the things that might’ve caused you to hang your head or want to give up altogether. Even if this year didn’t go at all the way you expected, just know you still managed to make it through.
11. Remind yourself how proud you are of being here, in this life, right now.
If we are being honest, we don’t always take care of ourselves. We tend to make sure others are doing okay, or even retreat from everything altogether without paying mind to what we need to go on another day. Yet look around—you’ve made it. You have taken everything life has hurled at you and still, here you are. I hope you take a moment to take some pride in the fact that you have pressed forward, regardless of what may have tried to hold you back. So many of us are so proud of you, and I hope you’re proud of you, too.