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Ending the Year on a High Note

I have to confess: It’s been a wild ride of a year for me, and not all of it’s been positive. So I’m writing this for myself as well as for all of you out there who are still catching your breath and wanting to go into 2017 with the best mindset you can.1) Look at your calendar (or some other visual reminder that takes you back through the months.)

There’s a lot you’ve forgotten, and at least some of it was good. Small, perhaps, but good.

And that’s what life is about: the small, good moments. You have them in 2016, and you’ll have more in 2017.

2) Remind yourself, often, that “this too shall pass.”

Whether it’s a high or a low, the only certainty we have is that it’ll end. Savoring the sweet and letting go of the–well, let’s call it savory–is a key skill.

Recognition of the ephemeral nature of life is actually really healthy. Whether you believe you’re part of a grand design or caught up in the randomness of the universe (or some combination of the two), understanding that whatever we’re feeling will inevitably end is a way to appreciate the good while it’s happening and to tolerate the bad.

3) Dust off the gratitude list (or make a new one.)

I know, gratitude lists can seem corny. But they’ve been proven to be effective. If you’ve already written one, revisit it. Add to it.

If you’ve never written one, give it a try. Part of why it works is that it shifts your perspective. We can get into the habit of seeing the world through a certain lens, and if that lens is critical of ourselves and others, then we screen out all experiences to the contrary.

By training your eyes on things you love about yourself and other people, or on what makes you fortunate, or on what keeps you sane, or all of the above, you’ll find that you see more of those things. You might also experience them more intensely.

4) Do a self-assessment.

Think about what you’re proud of this year. Which of your best qualities were on display? When did you feel most true to yourself? What were your achievements? If you didn’t get your desired results but you persevered and kept trying, that should be part of this.

Think about what you want to change. Is it the way you relate to others? Is it that your time isn’t in line with your priorities? Do you make the most of your life, and yourself? If not, why not?

Don’t turn any of this into a New Year’s resolution. We all know they don’t work, not for meaningful change. This is about self-awareness, because if 2016 went by in a fog, then 2017 can be the year of living consciously.

Happy New Year!

Ending the Year on a High Note

Holly Brown, LMFT

Holly Brown is a marriage and family therapist in the San Francisco Bay area. She has a private practice in Alameda ( ). She is also a novelist ( Her latest is HOW FAR SHE'S COME, a workplace thriller which received a starred review from Publisher's Weekly: "This provocative tale will resonate with many in the era of the #MeToo movement."

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APA Reference
Brown, H. (2016). Ending the Year on a High Note. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 8, 2020, from


Last updated: 28 Dec 2016
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