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Therapist completes a 'year in review' for the past 5 years. Here are his biggest lessons.

The alternative to New Year's resolutions helps make goals based on self-reflection rather than lofty ideals.

past year in review, chris cordry
Photo by Paico Oficial on Unsplash

Imagine making decisions based on what has proven to make you happy.

We’re still fairly early into January, and definitely only into the early stages of 2023. And that means that New Year’s resolutions are still the topic of many conversations—whether they pertain to health, productivity or general satisfaction with life.

However, it’s no secret that the standard New Year’s resolution, however inspired it may be at first, often loses its luster after a short amount of time. Though there can be several reasons why, the common conundrum has many folks looking for more personalized approaches that they can actually stick to.

As it turns out, the best way forward might actually be a quick look into the past.

Those well versed in personal development might be already familiar with a common alternative to the New Year’s resolution called the “past year review.” This method was popularized by “The 4-Hour Workweek” author Tim Ferriss, and is often described as a more informed and actionable way to approach goals.


The idea is pretty straightforward—create two columns marked “positive” and “negative," then go through your previous year's calendar or schedule week by week and jot down the people, activities and commitments that triggered either positive or negative emotions for that month. Once you’ve gone through all 12 months, take note of what things most affected you, either positively or negatively. Lastly, schedule more of the positive things and less of the negative things. The whole process should take an hour or less.

past year in review

A simple list can reveal a lot.

Photo by Lauren Sauder on Unsplash

It’s a simple process, but it can offer profound insight. Take it from Chris Cordry, LMFT, who’s done it for five years now. Since 2018, Cordry has quit three different jobs, started his own business and taken extended travel trips—all “big leaps” he credits to starting this tradition in 2018.

For 2023, Cordry collected five years worth of data from his previous past year reviews (PYRs) and documented his findings in a blog post on his website.

Below is a quick recap of what he found to be the most powerful lessons:

Learning

Courses of all kinds were found valuable, although Cordry noted that taking more than one “online class at a time is a recipe for failure.” He also recalled that in-person classes were particularly “socially stimulating.”

Travel

Now that he’s older, Cordry finds traveling with friends or family creates a more positive memory than traveling solo—which he used to do for months on end, but now finds he gets lonely or depressed. Just goes to show that values change over time.

new years resolutions

Some like to travel in groups. Others prefer solo.

Photo by Felix Rostig on Unsplash

Creativity

Again, doing activities with people provided the most enjoyable experiences—Dungeons & Dragons, performing at poetry readings and going to movies with friends made it to the top of Cordry's list.

Work and Career

This area is where the “not to do list” becomes vital, Cordry warns, admitting that he continued several things from his list well into the following year, with “predictable consequences”—things like long draining commutes, long hours or working during important holidays. All of which stopped happening once he started his own business.

Though establishing a healthy work-life balance will look different to everyone, Cordry notes that time management is a major factor. “Having too much free time is just as bad as being busy and stressed out,” he writes. “All that time tends to get filled with low-quality activities like internet browsing, binge-watching, and overthinking.”

Relationships

The data was clear—moments with close friends and family yielded some of the most positive emotions and experiences, accounting for 80% during five years. Even attending parent-teacher conferences for his daughter felt “impactful.” Therefore, more trips and activities shall be scheduled.

Mental Health

Sunlight, fresh air and exercise can be powerful mood boosters. Cordry also learned that shorter, more frequent meditations as a daily practice made a bigger difference than long retreats.

Much to his surprise, COVID-19 didn’t affect his mental health at all, since he accepted that it was outside his control. What did make him suffer were the things he didn’t accept. Something I’m sure a lot of us can relate to.

meditation

Daily meditation can be just as impactful as long, less frequent meditation.

Photo by Ian Stauffer on Unsplash

Though this is a self-reflection, it’s easy to see the PYR’s universal appeal—this kind of insight can be hugely beneficial for shaping a life that aligns with one’s true values. Obviously there’s no foolproof way to achieve successful goal setting, but this approach at least takes into account previous patterns, rather than forcing someone to walk blindly into the future under the premise of a “fresh start.”

You might be thinking—great, cool, I didn’t keep a journal or planner this year, so this is all meaningless. To that, Cordry has a few suggestions, like going through photos on your phone, as well as reviewing books you’ve read, films and shows you've watched, classes you've taken, music you've listened to, sites you've bookmarked and posts you've made to social media.

“Even just picking a couple of these can give you some perspective on your year,” he told Upworthy. “This can surface fun moments you may have forgotten about, as well as show you who you're spending your time with, and how.”

Experience might be a great teacher, but we still must sit down to study it. 2023 has only just begun. Whatever your goals are, perhaps one of the kindest things you can do for yourself is acknowledging what has brought you this far, in order to move forward in a healthy way.

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10 anti-holiday recipes that prove the season can be tasty and healthy

Balance out heavy holiday eating with some lighter—but still delicious—fare.

Albertson's

Lighten your calorie load with some delicious, nutritious food between big holiday meals.

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The holiday season has arrived with its cozy vibe, joyous celebrations and inevitable indulgences. From Thanksgiving feasts to Christmas cookie exchanges to Aunt Eva’s irresistible jelly donuts—not to mention leftover Halloween candy still lingering—fall and winter can feel like a non-stop gorge fest.

Total resistance is fairly futile—let’s be real—so it’s helpful to arm yourself with ways to mitigate the effects of eating-all-the-things around the holidays. Serving smaller amounts of rich, celebratory foods and focusing on slowly savoring the taste is one way. Another is to counteract those holiday calorie-bomb meals with some lighter fare in between.

Contrary to popular belief, eating “light” doesn’t have to be tasteless, boring or unsatisfying. And contrary to common practice, meals don’t have to fill an entire plate—especially when we’re trying to balance out heavy holiday eating.

It is possible to enjoy the bounties of the season while maintaining a healthy balance. Whether you prefer to eat low-carb or plant-based or gluten-free or everything under the sun, we’ve got you covered with these 10 easy, low-calorie meals from across the dietary spectrum.

Each of these recipes has less than 600 calories (most a lot less) per serving and can be made in less than 30 minutes. And Albertsons has made it easy to find O Organics® ingredients you can put right in your shopping cart to make prepping these meals even simpler.

Enjoy!

eggs and green veggies in a skillet, plate of baconNot quite green eggs and ham, but closeAlbertsons

Breakfast Skillet of Greens, Eggs & Ham

273 calories | 20 minutes

Ingredients:

1 (5 oz) pkg baby spinach

2 eggs

1 clove garlic

4 slices prosciutto

1/2 medium yellow onion

1 medium zucchini squash

1/8 cup butter, unsalted

1 pinch crushed red pepper

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

bow of cauliflower ham saladGet your cauliflower power on.Albertsons

Creamy Cauliflower Salad with Ham, Celery & Dill

345 calories | 20 minutes

1/2 medium head cauliflower

1 stick celery

1/4 small bunch fresh dill

8 oz. ham steak, boneless

1/2 shallot

1/4 tspblack pepper

1/4 tsp curry powder

2 tsp Dijon mustard

1/4 tsp garlic powder

3 Tbsp mayonnaise

1/8 tsp paprika

2 tsp red wine vinegar

1/2 tsp salt

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

tofu on skewers on a plate with coleslawPlant-based food fan? This combo looks yums. Albertsons

Grilled Chili Tofu Skewers with Ranch Cabbage, Apple & Cucumber Slaw

568 calories | 20 minutes

1 avocado

1/2 English cucumber

1 (12 oz.) package extra firm tofu

1 Granny Smith apple

3 Tbsp (45 ml) Ranch dressing

1/2 (14 oz bag) shredded cabbage (coleslaw mix)

2 tsp chili powder

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp salt

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

frittata in a cast iron skilletSometimes you just gotta frittata.Albertsons

Bell Pepper, Olive & Sun-Dried Tomato Frittata with Parmesan

513 calories | 25 minutes

6 eggs

1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted

2 oz Parmesan cheese

1 red bell pepper

1/2 medium red onion

8 sundried tomatoes, oil-packed

1/4 tsp black pepper

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp Italian seasoning

1/4 tsp salt

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

plate with slices of grilled chicken and a caprese saladCaprese, if you please.Albertsons

Balsamic Grilled Chicken with Classic Caprese Salad

509 calories | 25 minutes

3/4 lb chicken breasts, boneless skinless

1/2 small pkg fresh basil

1/2 (8 oz pkg) fresh mozzarella cheese

1 clove garlic

3 tomatoes

1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

4 3/4 pinches black pepper

1 1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

3/4 tsp salt

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

four stuffed mushrooms on a plateThese mushrooms look positively poppable.Albertsons

Warm Goat Cheese, Parmesan & Sun-Dried Tomato Stuffed Mushrooms

187 calories | 35 minutes

1/2 lb cremini mushrooms

1 clove garlic

1/2 (4 oz) log goat cheese

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

2 sundried tomatoes, oil-packed

1 1/4 pinches crushed red pepper

1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

1/4 tsp Italian seasoning

2 pinches salt

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

plate with open English muffin with goat cheese and sliced baby tomatoes on topMove over, avocado toast. English muffin pizzas have arrived.Albertsons

English Muffin Pizzas with Basil Pesto, Goat Cheese & Tomatoes

327 calories | 10 minutes

3 Tbsp (45 ml) basil pesto

2 English muffins

1/2 (4 oz) log goat cheese

1/2 pint grape tomatoes

3/4 pinch black pepper

2 pinches salt

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

pita pocket on a plate filled with veggies, meat and cheeseThis pita pocket packs a colorful punch.Albertsons

Warm Pita Pocket with Turkey, Cheddar, Roasted Red Peppers & Parsley

313 calories | 20 minutes

1/4 (8 oz) block cheddar cheese

1/2 bunch Italian (flat-leaf) parsley

4 oz oven roasted turkey breast, sliced

1/2 (12 oz) jar roasted red bell peppers

1 whole grain pita

3/4 pinch black pepper

1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

2 tsp mayonnaise

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

plate with toast smeared with avocado and topped with prosciuttoDid we say, "Move over, avocado toast?" What we meant was "Throw some prosciutto on it!" Albertsons

Avocado Toast with Crispy Prosciutto

283 calories | 10 minutes

1 avocado

2 slices prosciutto

2 slices whole grain bread

1 5/8 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

1/8 tsp garlic powder

1/8 tsp onion powder

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

bowl of chili with cheese and green onions on topVegetarian chili with a fall twistAlbertsons

Black Bean & Pumpkin Chili with Cheddar

444 calories | 30 minutes

2 (15 oz can) black beans

1/2 (8 oz ) block cheddar cheese

2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes

2 cloves garlic

2 green bell peppers

1 small bunch green onions (scallions)

1 (15 oz) can pure pumpkin purée

1 medium yellow onion

1/2 tsp black pepper

5 7/8 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp cumin, ground

1 tsp salt

1 Tbsp virgin coconut oil

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

For more delicious and nutritious recipes, visit albertsons.com/recipes.

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