Wow! Look What I Did in 2016

So often, we come to the end of another year and think, “Where did the time go?” Yes, it seems like time just whooshes by these days. We have so many activities and so many distractions.

My daughter and I were talking about ending another year. She said, “I’m still having a hard time that we’re in 2016! In fact, it’s still pretty stunning that the 1990’s were sixteen ago!”

I used to feel that way, too. And I still do a little. But everything changed for me 11 years ago when I started an annual tradition with myself. Now I like looking back on the year coming to an end and especially savor the New Year.

Here’s what I do . . .

During the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day I write a list that is titled, “Wow! Look What I Did in 2015 (or whatever year is ending)!” And then I begin logging at least 100 memories! Some of the memories are big and stand out. Others are smaller events or recollections, such as a nice phone conversation with a family member or a chance meeting with a friend.

Yes, 100 memories seems like a lot. But when you set yourself up for that many, you’re called to go deep and really dig down into your banks and pull up little experiences that could otherwise not be recalled.

I make my list on my computer’s word processor and sometimes add little photos or images to make it fun. The list is just for me, and so I play around and make it creative.  And then I save the list in my computer and also print the pages.

Great Benefit

Now here is the really fun part. I’ve been doing this since 2005. I have the lists of memories, big and small, for all those years. I get to revisit those experiences and in a small way relive them. That’s one of the blessings of our memories.

Not all the memories are warm and fuzzy. Last year I listed the unexpected deaths of two family members. And a tough conversation I had with a very close friend, during which I cried most of the time. But the majority of the memories are of joy-filled or growing experiences. They might even be spiritual breakthroughs I encountered or big lessons the Lord taught me during my quiet times. Big. Small. Life-changing. Simple. All go on the list!

I encourage you to join me and make this your own annual tradition. Take this week to make your list. Start remembering and writing. Then as the days and week passes, more memories will come to the surface. Add them to the list. Have fun. Receive the blessing that memories hold. And then get excited when you can say for yourself, “Wow! Look what I did in 2016.”

By the way, the “tough conversation” I had with my dear friend started out very trying and hurtful, hence the tears. Then our exchange turned into a really positive experience that strengthened the bonds we share. So it will be a sweet memory, also.

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23 Comments

  • Dee says:

    Thanks Susan,
    This is amazing. I usually write down things on a small piece of paper and thank God for the answered prayers and put them in a jar or can. I will definitely start this tradition.

    Happy New Year !

  • Rebecca says:

    Susan,
    Thank you for confirming what God put on my heart. I was in the woods looking for a missing drone (granddaughter’s Christmas present that got away) and feeling fairly sorry for myself and apathetic about life right now. Then I thought I needed an “Ebeneezer” to remind myself of all that God has done this past year. Came in the house and here was your newsletter. I do like the idea of writing in a calendar/journal during the year so I won’t forget all that He has done. That way I can also go back during the year when I need to be reminded of His great love for me and working in my life.
    May God bless you for all you do to help women find their potential in the Lord Jesus Christ.

  • Lulama says:

    Excellent idea! I am loving it. I’ll certainly compile mine as well.
    Thank you very much Susan.

  • Cheryl says:

    Thank Susan for sharing this wonderful idea. What a great way to not only count our blessings, but also to recall the valleys that God pulls us through. May you have a beautiful and blessed 2017 to reflect upon next year!

  • Sora says:

    Inspiring…as you always are. It sounds like a beautiful opportunity to praise God for the victories of the year . It could be healing as well to mindfully thank Him for carrying you through the rough waters too. Also, it would be a legacy for your children as well. I’ll take on the challenge! Blessings as you embrace 2017 and what He has in store!

  • Damaris says:

    I started doing almost the same thing in 2014. I have a couple of other things I add to my list. The list includes favorite quotes, books read, movies, places, songs, places, scripture and finally lessons. It doesn’t have to be a long list. But during the year I write this information on my monthly planner and fill in the form at the end of the year. It’s kind of a wrap up of my year. The first time I did this was awesome I didn’t think my year went well and was a little lonely for Christmas and I decided to review my year. What a blessing and great memories! Happy New Year!

  • Susan, I love this idea and plan to start my Wow list today. In the past I have struggled with remembering things and I believe this is something the Lord led me to in order to help me overcome that negative belief about myself. One thing I have done for the past 4 years is, starting in Nov, I ask the Lord for a directional word for the upcoming year, a word to focus on for that time period. My word for 2016 is ‘refine’ and I am so excited to see what all He has planned to help me grow this year and be refined in Him! Thank you again for sharing this idea…I can’t wait to get started! Blessings!!!

    • Susan Gregory says:

      Hi Stephanie!

      I am so glad you are adding this to your own traditions and also that you wrote this message! I too “name my year.” I do it on New Year’s Eve. Rarely do I go out and party. Instead, I celebrate the closing of one year and the entry of the New Year with the Lord. It’s a time of prayer, planning, dreaming, AND naming the coming year!

      REFINE is a lovely goal for your New Year. Filled with hope, promise, and positive change. Thank you for sharing this with me and others.

      Be blessed in the remaining days of 2015 and in all those that await you in 2016!

  • Alicia says:

    Hi Susan! Thanks for the great idea!! Its really a form of self-reflection on how we hv spent almost last 363 days in 2015, and also to reflect how God has blessed us through!!

    Also.. will be timely to reflect whats next as i prepare myself to embark on Daniel Fast in Jan 2016! Cheers!!!

  • Carol says:

    Your idea is brilliant! So simple as well as fullfilling and valuable for years to come. I’m going to begin writing my Wow list right now…..looking forward to taking time to reflect and see what’s revealed. My bet is it will be very nurturing to my soul…because I tend to feel I never do enough. Thank you for sharing your Wow tradition Susan. Many blessing to you this new year!

    • Susan Gregory says:

      Hi Carol,

      I hope you find this experience one of joy and even discovery. Just today in my quiet time and study, I experienced a “liberating time” from the Lord as I learned more about our faith and our walk with Him. That experience will go on my list! So much for us to recall. So many blessings. So many memories.

      Be blessed and thanks for your message!

  • Sharon Leavitt says:

    Hi Susan,
    What a great idea! The practice of taking time to remember is such a good thing to do for our brains and our spirits. It allows Jesus to enter into those memories and sometimes even transform them. I will definitely begin this practice now.
    Thank you!
    Sharon

    • Susan Gregory says:

      Hi Sharon!

      Yes, allowing Jesus to enter into those memories is a powerful way to approach this experience.

      Our lives seem to rush by so quickly! This tradition has helped me capture a lot of what could be forgotten!

      Be blessed!

  • Johanna says:

    Thank you do much for sharing this end of the year tradition. I think it is a wonderful experience and can’t wait to start it myself this week. Thank you for encouraging and inspiring us.

    • Susan Gregory says:

      Have fun, Johanna!

      I expect that you will find great joy and rich blessings as you make your list and recall your experiences of the year!

      Wow! Look what Johanna did in 2015! Nice ring to those words 🙂

  • Natalie Dixon says:

    What a terrific idea Susan!!! Thank you yet again for your over flowing sharing of your insights. I will start my list right now! God bless you x

    • Susan Gregory says:

      Awe, dear Natalie!

      Thank you for your sweet words. God is so good. I am thankful beyond expression for the blessings I receive from Him and can share with others.

      Be blessed!

  • judy flowers says:

    Susan I have your book, I actually did a raw fast in the beginning of 2014, then lots of crazy life happened. I am a Shaklee dist so I try and incorporate the fast and use my Protein Drink.

    • Susan Gregory says:

      Hi Judy,

      Be blessed as you focus more intensely on the Lord during your time of extended prayer and fasting. He has so much to give us as we turn our minds and hearts to Him.

  • Leilah says:

    What a great idea! The year seems fast and when we look at all that God has done we can be grateful for the 365 days!! Will start this right away! A calendar will help and pictures will help as well!

    • Susan Gregory says:

      Hi Leilah,

      Thanks for your ideas! Yes, some memories can be linked to a calendar . . . and it can serve as a tool to remember experiences, also. I like adding pictures and images to my list. It’s fun and gives me great joy every year and for years to come as I look back.

      Have fun and be blessed!

  • Jodi says:

    Susan,Thank you for sharing your ideas.I have struggled with weight loss for a long time.Looking forward to starting the Danuel fast Jan 1-26.Blessings,Jodi

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