No, this episode has not come out a week late. I want to talk about what I believe is the most magical week of the year: the last week, between the 26th and January. I take this week to slow down, to spend time in pyjamas, being cozy and drinking tea. I put together a puzzle and read a book or watch a movie. I let go of the chaos. But I also do something else. I reflect. And that’s what I want to share with you. How you can look back and appreciate everything you accomplished.

At some point during this week of rest, I turn to a ritual I developed that I love. I go through all the photos on my phone from the last year. I go right back to this day last year and look through every single photo. And while I do that, I make a list of all my favorite memories, maybe with a sentence or two about what I remember. It’s not all big flashy things, either. It’s simple things like walking my dog, my garden, a great sunset, somebody I love making a face. And I reflect on the year through the photos.

We often don’t take the time, while intention setting for the new year, to actually spend time with the things that shaped us in the last year. The things that brought us joy, the fears that we conquered, the achievements we made, even the losses and grief, just the messages that life gave us. That’s the advice I have for you: to reflect. Look at what held your attention this year and what you want to give more of your attention to next year. Soak it all in. And see what you come up with.

Key Moments

03:44 Your past year in photos

05: 44 What life really is, looking back

11:06 What do you want more of next year?

  • How looking back helps set intentions for next year
  • What words defined your last year?
  • Cultivating gratitude for what you have before stepping into the future  


Resources mentioned in this episode:


Contact Kari Lotzien | Be the Anchor: 



Kari Lotzien: [00:00:01] Welcome to Be the Anchor the podcast. I am your host, business and leadership coach Kari Lotzien. When the seas of life get stormy, and they always will, it is not up to us to captain anyone else’s ship or to try to calm the waters of the ocean. It’s up to us to set our own destination for what we really want, and to learn how to navigate those waves of life together while finding that place of security and stability with others. I call this being an anchor. If you are a dreamer, a visionary, an entrepreneur, whether you have an idea, big or small, that you think might just make the world a little bit better, kinder, gentler place, you are in the right spot my friend. We are going to talk about everything from big ideas to mindset and strategy, and sometimes just how to get through the day. I don’t want you to miss an episode, so be sure to follow and subscribe to the podcast so that we can stay connected and keep doing this journey of life together. Thanks so much! 

Kari Lotzien: [00:01:10] It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Okay, I’m not going to sing to you anymore. Some of you might be thinking that this podcast has come out a week too late. It absolutely has not. I fully believe that the last week of the year is magical. For many of us things slow down, we don’t have the chaos of holidays and family and cleaning our house and doing all the things, it just slows. 

Kari Lotzien: [00:01:37] For a lot of us the kids are off school and we have this just space where the world just doesn’t expect much of us, and I love it. My week, between kind of the 26th and early January, I spend the vast majority of my time in my pajamas, in comfy clothes, snuggled under a blanket watching movies or reading a book, drinking a cup of tea, or working on a puzzle. It’s like the best thing ever. And I wanted to give you just a little, a slower podcast today. This podcast isn’t about a bunch of strategies and moving forward and setting goals. We’re going to get to that next week. Today I want you to just like, melt in to what this week is. This slowing down, giving yourself a space to just chill out, take a beat. I’m going to share a little bit about kind of what I do this week, because I developed this ritual a few years ago that I just think is one of the best parts of my year, to be honest with you. And I just want to share it. Maybe you want to do it too.

Kari Lotzien: [00:02:51] I buy one of those 1000 piece puzzles. I only do one a year. It takes me most of the week. I’m not very good at puzzles. But it gives me something to do. Because to just sit and not have something to engage my brain and my body a little bit, I just get too distractible and fidgety. So a puzzle helps kind of keep me in one space for an extended period of time, and somehow I feel like I’m really accomplishing something when I put together a puzzle. If there’s any puzzle fans out there, let me know. I put on my PJs and my slippers, I drink way too much coffee, and then I transition to sometimes a glass of wine or something in the evening. I stay in my pajamas all day. It’s like the best thing ever. And one of the favorite things that I do at some point during the week is I go through the photos on my phone. I go back to this day last year and I go through every single photo, and then I write down what my highlights of the year were. Because, here’s the cool thing: we take pictures of things that catch our attention. It’s either something beautiful, something we love, a person that we love, a favorite memory, the things that catch our attention and are photo worthy are like the best parts of our life. But how often do we never look at them again? We take the photo, sometimes we maybe post it on social media, but we never really go back and look at it like a story or a chapter of our life. And this is what I like to do during this week. So I go back and I just start making a list of all my favorite memories, and I might fill in a sentence or two about little pieces of that that I remember, or what made it so special or what was great about that day.

Kari Lotzien: [00:04:45] And I’m telling you, these are not big things. Like, I’m not talking about flying all over the world or having great holidays or having really lavish trips. Now most of my pictures are about spending time in my garden, I have a ridiculous number of pictures of my dog when she’s just joyful, or we’re going on a nature walk and I notice the color of the trees is just exceptionally beautiful against the sky. Like so many of the pictures are just simple. They’re pictures of water, lakes, puddles, streams, all kinds of water. They’re not big things. Pictures of people that I love doing funny things or funny moments. And then I create this journal entry of all the best parts. Now after you’ve done that, like feel great, you feel good, and you might notice, maybe there’s some kind of sad moments that sneak in or, you know, maybe you have a hard memory or associates with something else that maybe wasn’t that great. And that’s okay, you just let that happen. That’s what life is. It’s not a story of, you know, all the number one favorite things. It’s not a top ten list. It’s just life. It’s just noticing it. And if there’s some hard things in there, you throw that in and you recognize it’s all part of the story. And all of it can be beautiful. All of it. 

Kari Lotzien: [00:06:05] Then when I’m finished and I get up to my current day, I pause and I go back. And I read through all of these things throughout the course of the year in one sitting. And then I ask myself what might have got in the way of these memories? So what’s really cool about this is it’s not about intention setting. It’s not about saying, oh, I would have done this if, these things actually did happen. I did take action on it. I did take that chance. I did have that memory or that experience. But I want to acknowledge what are some things that might have intruded on that? My list last year, number one, the thing that would have gotten in the way of the best parts were fear. That was my number one, of just being too afraid. Afraid of being judged. Afraid of making the wrong decision. Afraid of hurting someone’s feelings or not doing the right thing. Like just list it. The list of fears can be crazy. But I acted on it. I came through it. I didn’t let the fear take center stage and stop me from what I wanted to do. The other one is if I would have thought it wasn’t worth it financially, if I would have thought, oh, you know, I should be saving this money I shouldn’t spend on these types of things. 

Kari Lotzien: [00:07:30] Okay, my friends, we’re well in the season of gift giving. And if you know of someone who’s a small business owner in your life and you want to get them the perfect thing that you know will be so valued and appreciated and it’ll just make them feel cared for, click on the link in the show notes. I’ve put together a guide of my favorite gift ideas for small business owners, and there is everything from absolutely free to a lot of options that are less than the price of a gift basket with lotions and candles. But it’s really what people want. If you are a business owner, and maybe you just need some ideas of ways that people could support you, this might give you some good ideas of what to ask for. I’m sending you so much love this holiday season. Click on the link in the show notes. I’ll send you the list. Back to the show. 

Kari Lotzien: [00:08:23] I had bought tickets to a poetry reading of all things, and at the time I kind of thought, oh, this is a lot of money to spend for a poetry reading, and I took my daughter, and that evening was actually unbelievably powerful. I’ve never been to a poetry reading, and it was kind of a whimsical idea. And that night, the conversation that it led to and some of the topics that we discussed afterwards, and the feeling in that room of just appreciating someone’s thoughts and ideas and and witnessing the beauty of how words can come together, it was so cool. But if I would have let my thought be, oh, that’s too expensive to spend on somebody just standing on stage reading poetry, I would not have had that experience. It wouldn’t, and it was absolutely one of the highlights.

Kari Lotzien: [00:09:17] Not planning it. How many times do we see something and think, oh yeah, that looks really cool, I should do that. And then the next time you look at it, it’s gone. It’s already past and you didn’t get to it. I realized that when I don’t make the plan, when I don’t set aside the time and book it, it passes, and that those really cool things that happened in my year and those highlights happened because I set a date, because I put a time on it. Whether that was I was going to go visit a friend, I was going to host a barbecue, right, it doesn’t, again, doesn’t have to be big things, but I planned it. I put a date on it. Another big one was a fear of letting people down. Um, there was lots of times where I felt like if I did something that I would disappoint people, especially when I chose to not work, to take a holiday, to take some time off, to have more space, that wouldn’t have happened if I would have been so fearful of telling clients that I am taking a holiday, I’m taking a break, or I’m reducing my hours during the summer so that I can spend time in my garden, so that I can spend time kayaking, so that I can do those things during this short season. None of those amazing things would have happened if I would have been too afraid to disappoint people.

Kari Lotzien: [00:10:38] So this is like, you’re just kind of getting some realness with yourself, but it’s not that hard because you actually did overcome these things. So you’re kind of like celebrating yourself to say, hey, I did it. I actually didn’t let those fears stand in my way. I didn’t let that fear of disappointing people or saving money or x x x, whatever it is, stand in my way of these amazing things. 

Kari Lotzien: [00:11:04] And then I look at that list again and I go, what do I want more of next year? And I feel like this kind of dials it in. Like when we start talking about setting goals, or we start talking about the things we want to achieve, we can get this kind of like forward motion that feels like, you know, it needs to be hard and we need to be hustling, we need to be stretching and pushing. This week, it’s not like this. It’s like, what do I want to experience more of in my life? I want to have more of these things that were so amazing already. And I want to just, I want to put a light on that before I go to what can sometimes be those first weeks in the new year where we start to think about, okay, what don’t I have now that I want to achieve next year? I love taking time to just go, what’s already amazing, what’s already working really well, that I just want more of, or I want to make sure that I’m continuing to have this. I’m wanting to continue to nurture those relationships, to spend time walking my dog and spending time in nature and growing a garden like the most simple, basic things that maybe don’t feel that extravagant. They don’t feel like you’re really accomplishing much. But they’re building a life.

Kari Lotzien: [00:12:26] That’s what I want to dial in on. That’s what I want to get comfy and cozy with. And then the last thing that I do is I just reflect and I go, okay, was there any like, key messages that I want to take away from this year? Are there things that I just want to kind of absorb or set as my mantra or my focus as I go forward? These can become kind of like your word of next year. Last year my words were ‘brave’ and ‘consciously investing’. That not only did I consciously invest my time, right, where do I want to give my attention, my energy, my focus, and what matters when it comes to money? And how do I want to spend that? And the idea of investment is I want to get more of it so when I spend my time and my energy, my money, on these things, they grow. And they make my life better. That was kind of my dialed in focus for last year. 

Kari Lotzien: [00:13:32] And then the other big one was take the chances and the opportunities that are in front of you. Because when I looked back and I saw all of these things that could have so easily been stopped by fear or doubt or being unsure, the times when I looked at that and just went for it anyways, and really cool things happened. When I felt like I wasn’t, I didn’t have enough knowledge, that I wasn’t smart enough, that I didn’t have the skill set, or that I didn’t have the right credentials. That I didn’t have the right knowledge, that I didn’t have the right amount of money, that I didn’t insert anything. But when I went, you know what, if somebody believes in me and they’re giving me this opportunity and it makes me a little bit nervous, I don’t feel like I’m completely a fish out of water, but I have that sense of doubt or imposter syndrome, and I show up anyway, and I do the best I can, how many times it works out so much better than I thought it would. So that’s it.

Kari Lotzien: [00:14:31] I want to just get cozy with you this week. In your pajamas with a cup of tea or glass of wine, whatever you choose. And sit back and absorb all of the best parts of your life over this last year. Big, small and otherwise. And what’s really amazing about this is when you do it over time, and now this has been several years for me that I’ve done this exact same activity, that I love going back because it’s like I’m writing chapters of my own biography that are based in the best parts of my life and the lessons that I’ve learned along the way. And you know what did I learn, what were the themes of this year, what really stood out for me? When you get to read, you know, 5 or 6 of those in a row, the feeling that you will have, it’s pretty incredible. I also think this helps by having gratitude for what you have now, and sinking into that before you go into goal setting and intentions in the new year and and going after what you want next. I think this is the essence of gratitude. It’s just noticing what is and taking time and space to soak that all in. So I hope that this episode has just made you reflect and notice. I hope that you are taking time this week or in the near future to spend some time with yourself. Put your feet up, relax, do a puzzle if you choose to. If you’re a puzzle person, please feel free to post those or send me pictures of the puzzles that you’re doing, because if you’re not a puzzle person, you don’t understand how much time and effort it takes to really get all those thousand pieces in the right spot and feel this great sense of accomplishment. But people who don’t do puzzles, they don’t understand that same feeling. So you can send them to me and I will be proud of you. And, uh, I’ll message you back.

Kari Lotzien: [00:16:30] I’d love for your thoughts on this episode. Feel free to send me a DM. Let me know how this was for you and just how it landed, what happened, and let’s continue to build the community. Again, I really appreciate all of my listeners. I love you all, and I want the world to be just a kinder, gentler, more connected place. It’s what I want to commit my whole heart, all of my energy and my time to. And I really appreciate you being here. So if you’re inclined to share this episode, send a snapshot or a link to a friend who might just really enjoy having this message before we get back to the chaos of what the New Year can bring, please do. I’d appreciate it so much. Thank you so much. We’ll see you next week.

Kari Lotzien: [00:17:20] Please know that this podcast is meant for entertainment purposes only. It is not a substitution for medical or professional mental health advice. If you require support, please do reach out. Thanks so much.