Reflecting on 2018 + How to Manifest the 2019 of Your Dreams

Are you writing New Year’s resolutions this year? No matter how you feel about them, for many of us, this time of year is one of reflection. We reminisce on holidays past, think of where we’ve been—physically, mentally, emotionally—in previous years, and take stock of our goals for the upcoming year.

I’m a sucker for self discovery questions that dig deep—the type where even though it’s a question you’re asking yourself, you feel like you’ve unwrapped a brand new, shiny nugget of truth. I like questions that make me contemplate my failures, think through my weaknesses, form strategies for my deficiencies. But I find I really love—because, especially as women, we often demure instead of answering them—questions that ask me what I like about myself. What I’m good at. What I’m proud of.

So, whether you’re dreaming up huge goals for the new year or just need a little help reflecting on all you’ve been and done and accomplished, we asked some incredible women—medical professionals, wellness leaders, entrepreneurial self-starters—for the ways they plan to take stock of 2018 and manifest the 2019 of their dreams.

How to Thoughtfully Reflect on 2018

Maxie McCoy, author of You’re Not Lost

“Every December, I look back on my year with a set of 25 questions. Because each lap around the sun, we do SO much. But we forget. We FORGET the mountains we’ve moved. We dismiss so much of where we’ve been in the obsession of where to go next. So, before you go figuring out which mountains you want to move in the coming months and year, stop to reflect. Look at the love from the past. Take in all that you created. Notice where you stood up for something more. Feel where you’ve healed. Respect the inches and celebrate the leaps. Let those mountains you moved, move you.”

Jordana Jacobs, Psychologist, Ph.D, and a member of the Alma mental health co-practice community in NYC

“Growth, somewhat paradoxically, is the process of becoming more of who you are. My patients report feeling most content when they are authentically themselves and loved all the more for it. So, when reflecting on 2018, ask yourself, “Did I become more of who I am? Did I surround myself with people who accept and love me as is?” If not, if you feel you have been wearing a mask or have spent the year performing, it may be time to make a change. You can do this both internally and externally—simultaneously by doing the hard work of loving yourself (whether that be by more effectively listening to your needs, engaging in better self-care, or beginning therapy, etc.) and spending time with people, who, by acting as mirrors, reflect back to us the love that we deserve.”

Laura Hugill, Co-host of the podcast Everyday Woo Woo

“The day you plant the seed is not the day you eat the fruit” In moments when I feel frustrated because I’ve already done so much personal work but I’m still not where I want to be, this quote helps me remember that progress is not linear. This has been hugely useful in 2018 as I’ve faced some health challenges that have required me to make some tough dietary and lifestyle changes. A week after making a change I can feel disconcerted when I’m not magically well, but after a year on this journey I can see how much better my health is now and how each small change has inched me closer to wellness.

Sydney Axelrod, Life Coach

“In order to manifest the best ever 2019, it’s so important to first reflect on 2018, take stock of your life, and get clear on where you are starting from. Think of Google Maps—you can’t find directions to your final destination without first inputting your starting location. My favorite journal exercise around reflection is to answer the following five questions: 1. What did I accomplish in 2018? 2. What could I have done better in 2018? 3. What did I learn in 2018? 4. On a scale of 1 (completely unsatisfied) to 10 (completely happy), where would I rate 2018? 5. What would make 2019 a 10/10?

Answer these questions with love. Trust that wherever you are is perfect and know that there is so much more to come! Celebrate your accomplishments, learn from your mistakes, and reflect on how amazing you are. Repeat the mantra: “I love and accept myself exactly as I am, and I know that there is so much more to come!”

Nkechi Njaka, Founder of NDN Integrated Life Studio 

“One of the end of year practices that I have is taking a look at the current year as well as looking ahead at previous years. Every year I create an authentic soul-driven 3-year, 5-year, 10-year map of my dreams and aspirations.  It includes work, personal, health and relationships. I am as clear as I can be and try to be detailed with what the experience will look and feel like. The aspirations include things that I am already working on, things that I’m working towards, as well as completely audacious/ borderline unbelievable things.

Another practice I have is to check in around how I feel and how I felt over the year working towards those goals and what is required for me moving forward. I am as kind and as honest as possible when doing this check in and I write everything down in my journal. Usually there is a pattern as well as an obvious theme around my values and beliefs. Then I identify the biggest learnings from the year. Last, I reflect on who and what I am most grateful for, usually writing a list out in my journal.”

How to Manifest the 2019 of Your Dreams

Elizabeth Novogratz, Just Sit

“Instead of big resolutions that usually last a few weeks at most, try adding on to some of the habits that you already have. After you wash your face a t night,  try to spend 3 or 4 minutes before or after doing a mini meditation or if you leave the office for lunch, commit to doing a walking meditation before or after you eat twice a week;  even a couple of minutes will set the tone for the rest of the day and build the discipline toward a daily practice.”

Jordana Jacobs, Psychologist, Ph.D, and a member of the Alma mental health co-practice community in NYC

“One effective way to manifest what you want in 2019 is to use the marking of the new year as a reminder of time passing; that is, reflecting on time as a non-renewable resource and becoming fully aware that your time in life is limited. With this in mind, ask yourself, “What do I want to do with the time I have left, with my one and only wild life? What is most important to me?” When we call the finite nature of our existence to the forefront our minds, we see each year as all the more precious. We re-prioritize and that which is most meaningful becomes paramount. With that said, many people at the end of life report that the only thing that really matters is love—intimacy, deep human connection, and community. If you align your compass in that direction, you won’t be led astray in 2019.”

Maxie McCoy, author of You’re Not Lost

“The answer to where we’re going lies in the stories of where we’ve already been. We simply need to take a minute to stop and turn around. The questions we should be asking ourselves before setting any intentions for the next year are ‘What people, experiences, projects, etc. brought me the most/least energy?” and “What made me the most proud?” – The answers will provide insights into what is worth manifesting in the new year, rather than manifesting based on external pressures, expectations, or should’s.”

Sydney Axelrod, Life Coach

“Step 1: Create the space to manifest all you desire in 2019 by letting go of everything that is no longer serving you. List everything you can think of that you want to leave behind in 2018. Look at the list and repeat this affirmation: “Thank you for playing a part in making me who I am today and for teaching me valuable lessons. I now choose to let you go.” Now rip up the list and burn it!!

Step 2: Think of all the sentiments you’d like to cultivate in 2019 (e.g. joy, romance, abundance, etc.) Imagine that you are sitting in front of a cauldron and say each ingredient out loud as you “throw” as many as you can think of into the pot. Then stir the pot as you repeat this affirmation: “I am so grateful for the 2019 of my dreams!”

Step 3: Now that you’ve created energetic space and cultivated gratitude, get clear on all of the things you’d like to manifest in 2019. Either write a list in your journal or create a vision board. (I love creating photo grids in!) Keep a visual reminder of your goals somewhere you will see them regularly to keep you excited, grateful, and inspired!”

Nkechi Njaka, Founder of NDN Integrated Life Studio 

“Manifestation is one of those words that requires more than just a vision board and a mantra. I say this fully believing in creating our realities and I say this having done so with great success. In my home, I have several vision boards, my altar has several reminders of my mantras and in my journal, I have pages and pages of affirmations.

Part of the work of manifesting the 2019 of your dreams is the getting clear on what you are trying to create and your reasons for why we are trying to create it for yourself. My getting clear practices are sitting in meditation, practicing creativity, movement and time spent in nature.

The other part is doing the hard work of trusting and allowing things to unfold. We must believe that we are manifesting every aspect of our dreams and we need to be so clear in that while also not getting caught up in our fear and limiting beliefs. We all are fully deserving of our dreams, 2019 and beyond.”

Alejandra Campoverdi, Founder of the Well Woman Coalition

“This is the perfect time to check in with yourself and make sure you are living the life YOU imagined for yourself. Not what your parents, peers, co-workers, or friends see for you but what makes you feel truly alive. Many times we set off on a path and get so caught up in succeeding on that path that we start going through the motions of whatever success looks like in our present environment. But everything in life is a choice. Your entire life could look different a year from now if you want it to. So be intentional about how you spend your your time and who you spend it with. If your gut is telling you something is off – be it in your career, relationship, or health – don’t be afraid to shake up the snow globe of your life. Regret is always worse than failure. Here’s a quote that inspires me: ‘The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes’ – Marcel Proust.”

How are you reflecting on 2018 and manifesting your dreams for the new year? We’d love to hear in the comments. 

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