by Caryl Teh

The 366 days of 2020 are almost over! Just like a ribbon to complete the wrapping of a present, icing to complete the decoration of a cake, or the star at the very top of the Christmas tree, the year wouldn’t be complete without a throwback. So here’s five things you should do before the end of the year.

1. Say “I Forgive You”

If perhaps a friendship or relationship went sour, choose to forgive. What does forgiveness mean?

  • Forgiveness doesn’t mean welcoming that person back into your life. It doesn’t even necessarily mean contacting them again. 
  • It just means making the conscious decision to let go of any anger, resentment and blame that you’ve been holding onto. 
  • It means accepting that we’re all fallible people, and allowing ourselves to head into the new year with peace in relation to that fact, rather than fury.

2. Say “I’m Learning”
List 5 things that you didn’t do well this year & 1 action plan to improve

It would be impossible to have a perfect year with no mistakes. And that’s ok, you’re only human! But what’s more important is that we don’t allow those mistakes to completely stop us from moving forward. How can we do that?

  1. Identify what went wrong & why
    Was it a mental block? A lack of planning? A miscommunication? Negative thoughts?
  2. Check your mindset
    If you made a mistake at work, you didn’t fail. You succeeded in discovering a method that doesn’t work & now know not to repeat it.
  3. Create an action plan
    Keep a lookout for our etc on setting new year resolutions that focuses on your priorities & learning from past mistakes!

We can’t fight new battles if we’re still waging war on the past, and there are so many other battles left to win. Accept that mistakes are just a means of growing you towards greater successes. 

3. Say “Congratulations!”
List 5 wins and why

Negativity bias
When looking back on the year & evaluating ourselves, we have a tendency to put more weight on our mistakes or messes, & we easily overlook our accomplishments or triumphs.

Why list your wins?

  • Boost your self-confidence in your own competence
  • Remind yourself that you are capable! 
  • Reaffirming that you can achieve what you set out to do motivates you to keep persevering & giving your best.

Why list the why?

  • Some accomplishments are obvious even to those around us, like an improved work ethic, or a stronger or slimmer body. 
  • But other wins might be less noticeable to others, for example sticking to a daily or weekly mindfulness routine. 
  • It’s important to remind yourself that your “unseen” wins are still wins for you, how you’re a better person for it, & why all that effort was worth it.

4. Recognise that You’ve Probably Grown More Than You Realise
List 5 things that you learned about yourself this year and what was the setting or context

Even if this year hasn’t seemed like a year for you, you have grown!


  • Context: water pollution caused water cuts a few times this year.
    – I took for granted what a blessing it is to have reliable flowing water.
    – I learned that I should be more thankful for it & look for ways that I can use water more efficiently.
  • Context: The COVID-19 MCO meant that I couldn’t spend as much time with friends or family as I usually do.
    – But this made me learn the many other ways I can continue growing those friendships, eg. playing Animal Crossing together, video calls, actually talking and having good conversations over a voice call rather than just watching a movie when we’re together.
  • A new cuisine or restaurant that you weren’t super excited to try but is now your all-time favourite!
  • A skill you never knew you might be good at – eg. baking sourdough bread

Why do this:

  • The days in 2020 have become a blur, weeks and months seeming to fly by, and it’s easy to slip into thinking that “I haven’t gotten anything done this year.” 
  • If that threw your natural yearly rhythm off, making this list will help you see how the year hasn’t gone to waste. You have had periods of growth this year! You just need to take the time to recognise it, & encourage yourself to keep learning.

5. Say “Thank You”
List 5 people that you are especially thankful for & why, then let them know!


  • I’m really glad I met you this year. Our friendship has been a huge support for me through the many ups and downs.
  • Thank you so much for the coffee and cookie, I was having a really tough week and the caffeine really lifted my spirits!
  • Thanks for popping by every now and then to ask if I’m ok. Even if it’s a small thing to you, it means a lot that you thought of me and took time to check in on me.

Why do this:

  • On our end, it’s easy to take others for granted. 
  • On the other person’s end, they also experience that negativity bias that we mentioned earlier. More often than not, they are not aware of how big an impact they’ve had on us.
  • So it’s really up to you whether or not they receive thanks & encouragement to continue being that spark of light to you and others. 

There are many ways to say thank you

  • Buy them coffee, bake them cookies, write a note or email, send a text message, or give them a call. 
  • It doesn’t have to be the next best-selling novel. Small or simple, what matters more is that they know how much what they’ve done or said means to you.

Looking Forward to A New Year

We’ve given you some tools, now it’s up to you to end your year on a grateful note. We hope that by looking back & evaluating your year, you will be able to anticipate & get excited for what 2021 will bring.

Thought Catalog