Finding Inspiration: A Year-End Reflection

year-end reflection
Updated: Dec 25th, 2011

At the end of each year, I have a personal tradition that I engage in.

I spend the last week of the year in quiet reflection of the year that has just passed, and the new year that is to come.

I make time in my schedule to be alone, with just my notes from the previous year to keep me company.

I gather up all those pieces of paper on which I’ve scribbled ideas for articles, blog posts, or new projects I wanted to take on or complete (yes, I do hang onto them!). I spend time thinking about what I’ve accomplished and what I didn’t get around to doing.

Where will you find inspiration for the coming year? If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking!

I think about which people and what events inspired me this year, who and what got me fired up, and what did I do about it.

Yes I do make some new year’s resolutions – just a few, just personal things. Mostly I make plans and set goals. I think about where I want to go, and where I want to be at the end of next year, what I want to get done and what I feel I should abandon.

This year I’ve included something both new and old into my thought process.

Years ago I read several books by Robert Fulghum, one of my favorite authors. One of his books, Words I Wish I Wrote: A Collection of Writing That Inspired My Ideas, is one I picked up when I was going through a major upheaval in my life, and needed to chart a new path. This particular book is where I found the inspiration to try my hand at writing.

Recently, while visiting my parents, my Mom shared with me a few passages from another of Mr. Fulghum’s books – one I’d also read (and loved) – “What on Earth Have I Done?” by Robert Fulghum.

As I listened to her read, I was reminded again of the reasons why I loved this book (and of course, how wonderful it is when parents read to their children). I remembered why it was that I found Mr. Fulghum’s words to be so very inspirational when I first read them, and again now as I listened to them.

So as I sit down to start thinking this week, my mind is turning again and again to the questions Fulghum opens “What on Earth Have I Done” with – as he calls them, the “Mother Questions“:

  • What on earth have you done?
  • What in the name of god are you doing?
  • What will you think of next?
  • Who do you think you are?

These questions are much more than just those a parent would ask a child – they are questions we should ask ourselves.

What have I done this past year? What am I doing now? What will I think of/plan for next year? And ‘who do I think I am’ is especially important to think about…..because who we are is wrapped up in all of those questions……because who we are guides us in our personal and professional lives, and colors every decision we make.

These questions are helping me form the basis of my planning for next year, both in life and in work.

I’ve picked the book back up and am now re-reading it, and finding inspiration again already.

Where will you find inspiration for the coming year? If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking!

Happiest of Holidays and warmest wishes for 2011 to all of you,
~ Trisha

Who and what inspired you this past year? Share your reflections!

About Trisha Miller 116 Articles
Trisha Miller Editor-in-Chief, - Trisha joined the Travel Industry in 1996 with a background in telecommunications and helped to build (and later sell) one of the industry's top inbound call centers specializing in air travel. Her career in Travel Writing began with creating destination-specific content for a corporate travel intranet, and continued as she contributed content to a large number of travel-related companies that were establishing an online presence throughout the late '90's and early '00's. Currently she is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists, and a former Board Member of the International Food, Wine, and Travel Writers Association (2009-2015).  Still a frequent world traveler, and occasional guest-blogger on a number of other Travel Blogs, Trisha writes about travel and technology, sometimes both at the same time. You can follow Trisha on Twitter at:


  1. My routine for end of year reflection is kind of like Julia Cameron’s morning pages – just write.

    What is working?
    What isn’t?
    What can you change?

    I also sit and think about what my influencers would tell me: I pretend i have all my people in a room – Danielle Laporte, Eban Pagan, Naomi Dunford, Chris Guillebeau, etc – and they’re all cheering me on and giving tips and advice.

    It works for me. :)
    .-= Andy Hayes´s last blog post: Inspirational Spiritual Places =-.

    • Andy I love your method and your enthusiasm, but mostly I love your imagination. I too occasionally have imaginary conversations with my influencers, but usually that’s after a few too many drinks! :-)

  2. Like you, I try to spend time reflecting on the past year, but I’m also a goal setter, so I do that as well. I like to start the new year with a clean slate, so I work like crazy the last few weeks of the year so that I can start January 1 feeling refreshed.
    .-= JoAnna´s last blog post: Whose War Vietnam =-.

    • Every successful person is also a goal-setter! I love the idea of starting the new year with a clean slate…..I don’t think that’s a goal I have any hope of achieving, but I love the idea of it anyway. :-)

  3. Hey Trisha, interesting to hear about your inspirations and how you use it to set goals for the new year.
    I personally don’t make new plans/goals at this specific time of the year. Plans and goals seem to be more of an ongoing process. The last time I set some goals, was about a month ago and they will probably keep me busy for a few more months to come. Then when the end of a project comes in sight, I think of new things to do.
    Of course I have some long-term goals/projects in the back of my mind, but these span years and only float to the surface of my thoughts occasionally.
    Good luck with your reflective week and I wish you lots of inspiration for 2011! :)
    .-= Maria Staal´s last blog post: The Book That Didn’t Want To leave My House =-.

    • I think everyone has to do what works best for themselves…..I do think that setting goals of some sort, and on some schedule is a must for success, but I don’t think it’s important when you set your goals.

      I love the combination of both short-term and long-term goals – the short ones keep you moving forward toward the long-term ones, and there’s nothing as satisfying as a feeling of accomplishment when you tick the short-term ones off your list!

  4. Nice post. We use this time of year to remember all the wonderful people who came into our lives over the past year and to express our gratitude to them. We had the good fortune to meet many extraordinary travel writers at TBEX in NYC this year (including yourself) and to welcome many travel writers to the Nova Scotia Authentic Seacoast including Andy Hayes, Cailin O’Neil, Gary Arndt, Candice Walsh, Carlo Alcos, Celeste Brash and Shelley McCarron. Travel writers open the world for people and we are grateful for your words and insights. Here’s to more great travel stories in 2011!

    • Thanks Doug! And I love your idea too – I was also grateful to meet so many wonderful people at TBEX this year (including you and Margit)! I hope someday to make it up to Novia Scotia again, my last trip was as a toddler (with my parents of course) and I remember very little of it. Until then I’ll just keep enjoying the wonderful things I read about it. :-)

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