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Reflective journaling into the New Year: A student guide

Written by Megan Wallbanks on 24 Jan 2023

The New Year – a time for reflection, gratitude and new beginnings. But new year also means new term, and as a student, entering a new term can feel very overwhelming.   

We’re surrounded by the “New Year, New Me” mottos, but really, they aren't helpful at all. Sure, making new year's resolutions and long-term goals seems motivating, but they can also put you under unnecessary pressure. So, instead focus on what went well last year, what didn’t go well and what you can learn from it.   

A great way to do this is through reflective journaling. If you're not familiar with the concept it's fairly straightforward. Reflective journaling is a place where you can write about your thoughts and feelings, whether they be positive or negative. It’s like a personal diary where you can self-reflect on events and learn from past experiences that have happened in your life.   

It’s so important to have emotional self-awareness, especially as busy students, we can sometimes forget to check in with ourselves. My biggest tip for reflective journaling is to make regular entries (ideally every day) and always keep a journal nearby. The Aspire Strategies app has a built-in digital reflective journal, that you can access at any time of the day, no matter where you are. So, if you're like me and you're addicted to your phone, it is always going to be close by. It has a mood chart which is great to look back on and identify how you felt during certain situations. It also offers guided support such as self-care, gratitude and mindfulness activities. It only takes a few minutes out of your day to complete and has great proven benefits to things like productivity, mental and physical well-being.   

For example, maybe you felt overwhelmed with your workload last term and deadline season felt like a never-ending nightmare. Your mood chart probably reflected this. So, perhaps this term, try to be better organised and spend your time more wisely. You can create a To Do list in the app to organise your workload and prioritise tasks accordingly. This way you will feel more in control and better prepared for the challenges to come in the year. It is important to keep a track of these changes and recognise what makes you feel good.  

Reflective journaling is a great thing to start practising as we go into the new year. It will make busy student life feel more manageable and less overwhelming. So, ditch the “New Year, New Me” motto because in 2023 it's not about creating a “New Me”, it’s about creating a “Better Me”.