Looking Back & Looking Forward

I’ve never been a fan of New Year’s Resolutions. The idea that we should resolve to fix something about ourselves in the coming year feels very heavy to me. Even the dictionary definition of the word “resolution” sounds like a downer:

res·o·lu·tion n. 1. The state or quality of being resolute.  2. a. A firm decision to do something. b. A course of action determined. 3. The act of solving or explaining a problem or puzzle.

(Looking this up in the dictionary,  I was drawn to its nearby neighbor, the word “Resplendent”, which was much more appealing, and means: Shining with splendor, to shine brightly.)


One of the principles that drew me to the science and practice of positive psychology is its emphasis on what’s right with people, rather than focusing on what’s wrong. In looking towards the New Year, we’ve always tried to employ this perspective at Broadlawn Farm. 

Around New Year’s eve, each family member fills out A Year in the Life form (adapted from one found online ages ago) looking back at the closing year, noting what we enjoyed and accomplished, and then writing down our hopes and goals for the coming year. Reflecting on the past year with a positive mindset enables us to look toward the New Year with a hopeful tone, rather than a resolute one.

About 3 or 4 times a year, we pull out these sheets and revisit them. There are always giggles from the kids about something they wrote. (My then 4-year-old son’s goal of “Play more Transformers” in 2015 is one that we particularly love). 

This is a great activity for anyone to do, but especially for families. I’ve saved every one of our sheets since 2014 and I love looking through them, year by year, to see how all of us have grown. 

Click here to download a PDF of our Year in the Life worksheet.