The Mental Game is a monthly column from Sports Psychologist Dr. Chelsi Day. This month, she brings us a guide to reflecting on the past year in a constructive way.

2021 is almost over. It’s hard to believe. January of 2021 feels miles away, but it’s already time for reflection before the new year. It’s also hard to believe we’ve had another year of battling COVID19.

Regardless of how you feel about the pandemic, it’s impacted so many things about this year, which can make it hard to reflect with a positive lens. Maybe your 2021 resolutions were hampered by the limitations we’ve experienced. Maybe your financial goals were stalled because of employment impacts. It can be really easy to get overwhelmed by how quickly the year flew by and all the things you didn’t do or the things that went wrong. So, let’s talk about how we can more productively reflect on the year as it ends, and make the start to 2022 a good one. (I would encourage you to pretend it’s the early 2000s and print this out and use an actual pen to walk through it! *gasp* she’s a dinosaur!)

This year I accomplished this one big thing…(it might just be surviving!)


Three little things I accomplished are…(have I told you about my first ever bogey?!)


Close your eyes and take yourself back to the moments of each of those accomplishments. How do you feel when you remember them?


My three favorite moments from the last year are


The biggest thing I didn’t accomplish this year that I wish I did was….


What are the 2-3 main barriers that kept me from accomplishing it?


In what ways did I have control over/not have control over those barriers?


How can I learn from the parts I did have control over?


Reflecting on positive feelings and experiences increases the likelihood of creating more positive moments. It also moves us into a positive mindset for the next year. It shows us what we can do. By reflecting on things we weren’t able to do with a lens on the controllable vs the uncontrollable, we can move out of self-punishment and into self-compassion and forward momentum. Self-punishments build a strategy that inhibits success while self-compassion can fuel it forward. So remember, focus on what went well, take learnings from what didn’t, and turn the page with love and compassion for yourself. 

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Dr. Chelsi Day

Dr. Day is a licensed clinical psychologist. She is an Ohio native who completed her Bachelor's degrees in Psychology and Health and Sport Studies at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio while competing on the Varsity Swimming and Diving team as a diver. She then went on to earn a Master's degree in Sport and Exercise Psychology from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology followed by a Master's degree and later a Doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University New England in Keene, NH.