22 End-of-Year Journaling Prompts to Inspire Reflection

As the year draws to a close, it’s a good time to reflect on the events of the past twelve months. One way to do this is through journaling, which can be a powerful tool for introspection, self-discovery, and personal growth. 

In this post, we’ve compiled some end-of-year journaling prompts to help you wrap up the year and set the stage for a fresh start for the year to come. Whether you’re an experienced journaler or just starting out, these journaling prompts will provide plenty of inspiration for exploring your memories, thoughts, and feelings about this past year.

Scene of end-of-year journaling prompts being answered on tablet in the Day One app

Why an End-of-Year Journaling Session is Important

Setting some time aside at the end of the year to reflect can be a meaningful exercise. As the year ends, gaining perspective on the experiences and growth you had can help you identify patterns, learn from your mistakes, and celebrate your achievements. 

An end-of-year journaling session can also help you gain a sense of closure on the events of the past year, allowing you to move forward with a fresh outlook. Reflecting at the end of a year can also help you process any difficult experiences or emotions you may have gone through. Journaling about your thoughts and feelings can be a therapeutic way to let go of any lingering negativity and move forward with a sense of closure.

“If we take care of the moments, the years will take care of themselves.”
– Maria Edgeworth

Finally, spending some time to journal at the end of the year can be a valuable way to connect with yourself and your values. This provides an opportunity to reflect on what’s truly important to you and what to prioritize in the future, which can help inform your goals and plans for the upcoming year.

Tips to Prepare for End-of-Year Reflection Journaling

To get into a reflective mood, set aside some quiet time. Choose a comfortable space where you can focus and relax. Minimize distractions by turning off notifications on your phone or computer. To create an introspective atmosphere, you may even want to light a candle, dim the lights, or put on some music. To calm the mind and center yourself, try this meditation on endings.

Spend some time scrolling through the photos you took this past year, review each month’s calendar, or read other journal entries you may have written. Review your memories in your Day One journal by checking out your journal views like Timeline, Media, Map, and Calendar views.

These activities can help stimulate your memory and put you in a reflective frame of mind so you’re ready to write about your experiences from the past year. 

Reflect with These 22 End-of-Year Journaling Prompts

As this year draws to a close, here are journal prompts to reflect on this past year. Whether you use all of the prompts, or just a few, the important thing is to take some time for yourself and reflect on the past year.

Feel free to copy and paste these directly into your Day One journal. 

1. What were some of the most meaningful moments of this year?

What memories did you create that stand out the most? Describe what happened, where you were, who you were with, and any other details you want to remember. Why were these moments meaningful to you? 

2. What changes did I experience this year? 

The close of a year is a great time to reflect on the changes you experienced this year. What’s different now than it was twelve months ago? For example, did anything change with your career, family, home, or health? 

3. What were some of the unexpected events that happened this year?

Each year brings unexpected events, large and small. What were some of the surprising or unexpected things that happened? 

4. What are my top 10 favorite photos from this past year?

We often take hundreds–maybe thousands–of photos each year. Consider the photos that had the most impact on you, either because they were taken at an important event or because they capture a special moment.

5. What was something new I learned this year? 

Did you learn a new skill, fact, or concept this year? Did you discover a new insight about yourself?

6. What did I accomplish this year? 

As you review this past year, what was something you achieved because of hard work or effort? Did you accomplish a personal goal, a professional milestone, or any other achievement that made you proud?

7. What was my favorite book, movie, and/or song of this past year? 

What did you listen to, read, or watch that defined the year? 

8. What was the best new thing I tried this past year? 

As you look back on the past year, were there any experiences or activities that you tried for the first time?

9. Who made a difference in my life this year? 

Consider the people in your life who support, encourage, or inspire you. Who are they?

10. What was the most difficult challenge I faced this year? 

Challenges are the problems or obstacles we all face that require time, effort, and resilience to overcome. What challenges did this year bring to your life?

11. What lessons did this year teach me? 

As you reflect on the year, what did you learn about yourself, others, or life in general? Some of these lessons may have been difficult, while others may have been enlightening or inspiring. 

12. In what ways did I grow as a person this year?

For example, what new perspectives or insights have you gained? How have these changes impacted the way you approach life?

13. What values or principles were most important to me this year? 

Perhaps you value integrity, honesty, or compassion, or maybe you have broader principles such as justice, equality, or freedom. What motivated you to uphold these values, and how did they affect the choices you made and the actions you took?

14. How did I express my creativity this year? 

As you review the year, how did you express yourself and your creativity? Maybe it was through painting, music, or writing. Or maybe it was through creative problem-solving, such as finding innovative solutions to challenges or coming up with new ideas. What inspired you, and what were the results of your creative efforts?

15. What new opportunities became available this year?

Consider any new opportunities that came your way related to work, education, travel, personal growth, or new experiences. What were the opportunities, and what motivated you to pursue them? How did they turn out, and what did you learn from the experience?

16. What was the biggest risk I took this year?

Some of these risks may have been small and personal, while others may have been larger and more consequential. What was the risk, and what motivated you to take it?

17. What fears did I overcome this year? 

What fears did you face related to personal challenges, difficult situations, or simply the unknown? How did you overcome them, and what did you learn from the experience? 

18. How did my relationships change this year? 

As you review this past year, what changes occurred in your relationships with friends, family, or romantic partners, or even changes in your relationship with yourself?

19. Looking back, what am I most grateful for about this year?

As you consider all that happened in the last twelve months, what are you most thankful for? What are the experiences, people, or events that have brought you the most joy, satisfaction and, ultimately, gratitude? 

20. What word or phrase would I choose to define this past year? 

Now that you’ve spent some time reviewing the year, what single word or phrase captures the essence of your experiences, emotions, and memories from the past year? 

21. What do I hope to carry over from this year into the next? 

What are the things that you want to continue to cultivate and build upon in the coming year?

22. What are my goals for the coming year?

As you look ahead to the next year, what are the things that you want to accomplish? What motivates you to pursue them? How will you work towards achieving your goals, and what challenges do you anticipate? Be sure to check out our New Year journal prompts for starting the year off with even more insights and clarity for the coming year.

Bonus: Record an audio or video message to yourself to be reviewed one year from today

This exercise can be a powerful tool for reflection and growth, so consider creating your own audio or video message to review one year from today. If you feel comfortable, simply record yourself speaking about your goals, hopes, and plans for the coming year. You can be as specific or general as you like, and you can include any details or insights that you think will be helpful to you one year from today. When you are finished, save your message and set a reminder to review it one year from today. 

Wrapping Up the Year

After completing this journaling session, you may feel a greater sense of satisfaction and closure about the past year. By reflecting on your memories and exploring your experiences from this past year with these end-of-year journaling prompts, you may have gained some surprising new insights about the moments that defined the year. With this fresh perspective, we hope you are ready to face the new year with a greater sense of clarity and purpose. 

We wish you a happy and fulfilling new year, and we encourage you to continue journaling as a way to reflect on your experiences and growth. As you continue your journaling journey, check out even more journal prompts in this list of 550+ journal prompts. Happy journaling!

Reflect on the Year Now
in Your Day One Journal

The Day One journaling app makes it easy to keep a journal. Daily reminders, daily writing prompts, and journaling streaks are designed to help keep you motivated and consistently journaling.

About the Author

Kristen Wright is the author of three books on journaling, including The Transformation Year, a year-long series of daily journal prompts. With a passion for writing and self-reflection, Kristen uses her experience with journaling to help others discover the benefits of documenting their thoughts, feelings, and experiences. In her role at Day One, she helps to promote the power of journaling so people from all walks of life can experience the transformative power of journaling.

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