Showing gratitude for the year that was

Member Blog Feature: by Jennie Franz of VA Connect


Looking Back Over The Past Year With Gratitude

Moving towards a new beginning means saying goodbye to a past.  And so it is with a New Year looming and everyone looking forward to dropping the past and starting off anew.  A popular time to shed the past and step forward into what is conceived to be “A New and Better Year” with notions of New Patterns and New Yields, that sadly fizzle out very quickly for most when expectations meet reality.


It is also said that Hindsight is perfect vision and that with the knowledge we have at any current time that, on looking back, we would have made different choices had we had that knowledge back at the time of choice.  I am not so sure that it is the right thought.  What about the lessons and growth we had from making those choices?  The real possibility is that we wouldn’t have had the life lessons we experienced by following a different route.  Our focus is so fixed on the moving forward and creating the new, that we sometimes fail to look back and have gratitude for those pieces of gold contained in the past.

Finding The Nuggets

What if we changed our view on moving forward, not in the moving itself, but rather by doing a review of the past year and looking for all those treasures that were hidden in the challenges, the struggles and the glossed over triumphs of the past year.  Yes, I use the term “glossed over” because unless that stands out as a real triumph, we often just take it in our stride as a job well done, or a task completed without a second thought.  But there is so much more in there.  That is where those nuggets lie, in the recognition and unfolding of those incidents, the gratitude for the lesson and the celebration of using the skills and tools of life that we have picked up along the way.

An Attitude Of Gratitude

A catchy phrase and a great principle to follow.  One that has a seemingly contrasting view and yet at the same time displays just two words that, with application together in our life, can make a world of difference.   Gratitude is a deeply meaningful word that can easily be misunderstood.  It is often taught that we should be grateful when receiving something that is almost beyond our normal reach and we have been fortunate to have received it, and yet real gratitude comes from a place of deep understanding of joy and appreciation of anything in our lives, from the most simple of life’s necessities to everyday items, or even the luxuries that come our way.  It is a practice that expands our hearts, opens our eyes and like a magnet, attracts more into our life for us to be truly grateful for and enjoy.

Different Approach

Why not try a different approach at this year-end.  Take a quick mental trip back to the beginning of the year and stroll through the months, remembering the incidents and actions that occurred.  How were they managed?  Carried out?  What was the outcome?   Even if it worked out fine, is there a better way to do it again?  An easier or more efficient way?

Taking It Forward

Armed with this info, compare it all and decide if what you did was effective, or whether it could do with improvements and tunings.  This is where those little treasures lie, in the finding of those new patterns, easier ways and stumbling blocks to be aware of, making the road forward less stressful.  It is where we can close that door on the past year with finality and gratitude for all we have learned and for that which will empower us in the year to come, going forward better equipped with new life skills and plans in our toolbox, and making our journey a little easier and a little lighter.   And so, I urge you to take the time to look back at your year with gratitude, pick out those gems, and hold them tightly as you move into your new year with knowledge, confidence and empowerment, but mostly, to move forward with grace.

For more on Jenni and how VA Connect can assist you, please do visit our members page.