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Ending the Year Well to Better Prepare for a New Beginning

"You can’t really know where you are going until you know where you have been."  - Maya Angelou quote on a gravel path with the sunsetting

As the year draws to a close, it's a pivotal time for gratitude, reflection, and preparation for the upcoming year. This is one of my favorite times of the year because it allows me to take inventory of the year and make plans with Jesus about the next year. Here are some guiding principles to help you navigate this transition effectively with Jesus.

"Enjoy the little things" written on a paper with macarons, green foliage, and a cup of black coffee on a round wooden board

Practice Gratitude

Gratitude is a powerful practice as we take this time to reflect on the past year and prepare for the upcoming year. Take time to express to Jesus appreciation for the blessings in your life, big and small. Doing so opens our hearts to abundance and helps shift the focus from what is lacking to what is present and possible. Giving thanks to God for His faithfulness throughout the year also strengthens our relational bond with Him and allows us to build trust, which is crucial to activating faith for the coming year.

woman journaling as she sits on a rock outdoors

Reflect on the Year Gone By to End the Year Well

Now let's reflect on the past year. Allow the Holy Spirit to remind you of the accomplishments, challenges, and your personal growth. Reflect on the lessons learned from both successes and failures. Don't dwell on regrets; instead, allow the Holy Spirit to give you the lens to see what you need to and highlight the wisdom gained from your experiences.

I also use this time to evaluate how I did with loving God and loving others since they are the 1st and 2nd commandments and according to Jesus, all of the laws can be reduced to these two. Here are some questions to help you:

  • How has my relationship with God grown this year?

  • What new aspect of God did I learn and experience this year?

  • What are some amazing God-stories I want to be sure to remember?

  • Have I grown in my trust in God?

  • Are there areas in which I still don’t feel I can trust Him?

I use the word trust because I realize if I trust Him, I can obey Him. And God says, “If you love me, you’ll obey my commandments.” (John 14:!5)

I continue the self-evaluation with the following questions:

  • How have I shown the love of God to others?

  • Have my relationships grown deeper this year?

  • What have I learned and experienced that have moved me forward in my calling?

As I aim to grow in my spiritual maturity, I use these questions to evaluate my relationships with others. If I am submitted to God’s sanctification process, it should reflect in my interactions with others. I should experience more love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in my heart as I engage in relationships, especially difficult ones. Our calling is an expression of our relationship with God manifested in our service to others.

"Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans." Proverbs 16:3 over a photo of the Grand Canyon

Establish Clear Intentions for the New Year

Now that we’ve done some reviewing, it’s time to look forward and approach the upcoming year with purpose. Pray for guidance and seek God’s wisdom as you set your goals and intentions that align with your values and His calling for you.

"Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans." Proverbs 16:3

For myself, I ask God for a word for the year. It’ll usually be either one word or a short phrase, something short and easy to remember. In the past, I’ve received words like “be courageous”, “detox”, and “faith”. The word serves as my North Star for the year, it simplifies what I say “yes” and “no” to, and emboldens me to take more adventurous steps outside my comfort zone. Sometimes the steps lead to difficult situations that demand stretching in ways I otherwise wouldn’t or they’ve led to upgrades and promotions with little effort on my part.

For 2023, my word was “rest”. To be honest, I had forgotten about the word until October! Up until July, I was still busy doing and I hadn’t given it much thought. Then in August, I felt a growing listlessness and frustration that I had pushed away with busyness. But I couldn’t shake it anymore. I could sense that I was somehow off course and out of alignment. Then in October, during a trip, I was reminded of my word for 2023 - rest. As soon as I remembered it, the “ah-ah” light bulb went off. I knew where I was supposed to be and I could feel myself click into place. It was instantaneous. I could feel the listlessness and frustration lift and a sigh of relief in my spirit, I was home.

It’s amazing, you’d think I’d feel a little anxious because I’d forgotten it for 10 months. But, there’s no feeling of condemnation. Just peace and the pleasure of the Father whose child was a bit lost and finally found their way home. I’m not behind, I’m right where I’m supposed to be right now and that’s what’s most important. The future will unfold as it should when the Father deems it the appropriate time.

I hope my story encourages you. None of us do life perfectly. We all mess up, forget, and take wrong turns. But the Father is always ready to re-establish our connection with Him and give us what we need in each season.

Here are some questions to ask to establish clear intentions as you look towards the next year:

  • God, what is the word you want to give me for this year? Wait for the word or phrase. Sometimes, waiting for your word looks like going about your day and God just drops the answer when you least expect it. After you get your word, ask questions for clarity.

  • God, what are the things you want me to focus on this year and how do you want me to incorporate my word for the year? Consider various areas of your life, including spiritual, personal, professional, financial, and relational aspects.


As you look towards the future, check your heart to see if you’re unconsciously setting limits because of fear - fear that you’re behind, fear that it’s going to take resources you don’t have or don’t know how to acquire, fear that you’re not ready, etc. If so, have a discussion about them with Jesus. Our fears will hinder our momentum and advancement if we don’t deal with them. The best and most effective way to get to the root and break those strongholds is to allow Jesus to give us His perspective on them and allow His truth to override ours.

Invite the Holy Spirit to guide you so that you’re better prepared for the new year.

  • Holy Spirit, search my heart for any fear that may limit me as I go into this upcoming year. Write them down and make it a point to work through them one by one with Jesus. Also, be aware that the enemy’s attacks will probably come through these fears. You can also ask Jesus how to fight them off when they come.

Create an Action Plan

Once your intentions are set, create a practical action plan to achieve your goals. Breaking down your objectives into smaller, manageable steps, and including rhythms of rest will help you stay consistent and persevere in pursuing your objectives. However, a good practical plan includes a contingency plan. We all know unexpected physical and emotional things happen that can sideline us, but creating a contingency plan can help us get back in the game. God knows you best and can help you create simple steps to minister and encourage yourself when you get sidelined.

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." - Jeremiah 29:11 quote on a tree lined road in the fall

Embrace a Positive Mindset

Approach the new year with positivity and hope. Remember that each day is a new opportunity to grow, learn, and make a positive impact. Collecting and often reciting over yourself God’s promises will help motivate and propel you forward.

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

As we conclude this year, let's take the time to appreciate the blessings, learn from the lessons, and move forward with a renewed sense of purpose. God has brought us through another year, and His faithfulness will guide us through the year ahead.

May you end this year well, with a heart full of gratitude, and step into the new year with faith, purpose, and anticipation for what God has in store for you.

As you go through these steps you may encounter some mental or emotional roadblocks. The INNERROOM is here to help you overcome them through heart healing or coaching.

CLICK HERE to schedule your session.


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