This post was co-written with Sushma Sharma and Ellyn Howard of Konversai.
This article originally appeared on Konversai's blog, The Social Revolution.
This question might feel like an overwhelming one. When asked to think about the happenings of one's year, many people have a hard time coming up with anything. But think back to each month of the year. Maybe even each week. What were the highlights? Who did you meet? Where did you travel? What did you learn? If you're having a hard time remembering, look back at your calendars, emails, and social media posts from the past year. These don't even have to be "big" accomplishments--they can be the simplest things, from having tea with an old friend to trying a new dish at a restaurant. You can think about the good, the bad, and the ugly. Think of anything that has some sort of significance to you.
You might be wondering what the point of all of this is. After all, it was in the past, so why does it matter now? Especially the not-so-pleasant events.
Reflecting on the less-than-pleasant events is a reminder of our strength and our resilience. Our ability to overcome whatever life throws our way, no matter how difficult. This doesn't by any means mean that you should harp on or obsess over the negative. Instead, we should simply remember the lessons these events taught us and that we came out stronger.
Reflecting on the positives is a reminder of what we have in our lives. A reminder that no matter how difficult things get, we still have much to be thankful for. There is ample research on the benefits of gratitude for our health and wellbeing. Reflecting on the positives of the year that has passed also sets a positive tone for the year ahead.
And what about the mundane? Well, no matter how insignificant something may seem, the truth is that all of your experiences affect you without your even realizing it. Your experiences shape you and lead you to where you are today. Even if you feel like nothing important happened this year, you're still alive and you have come far. Subconsciously, the experiences of this year have enriched you in some way.
So as we approach the end of this year, take a journey through the past year. For each month, make a list of the places you went (near and far), the new people you met (digitally and in person), the old friends with whom you've reconnected, movies and/or TV shows you watched, small and large accomplishments, things that you learned, and the activities and events that took place. Write out a few sentences that would summarize the month. Include pictures. Be creative with this process (See sample attached)! (Engaging in creative projects is also positively correlated with better emotional, social, and academic/professional success.) You can do this activity by yourself, as a family, with your friends, or with your coworkers. Then at the end of each month, write "Still alive!" Take note of how you feel once you've completed this project (and share your experiences in the comments). Chances are you're feeling a bit better about yourself than when you started.
Or go even further and join Konversai--a social conversation platform that allows for live video conversations with anyone anywhere about any topic. Konversai was founded on the notion that no matter who you are, you have valuable knowledge and experiences to share with others--knowledge and experiences that could significantly benefit someone somewhere else in the world. Users are encouraged to be both providers and seekers of knowledge on as many topics as they wish, and knowledge providers have the option of charging for their time.
So take the first step towards making your year and your life (and the year and the life of someone else) better by joining Konversai and by forming meaningful connections that will make a difference in the short and long run.