Make the Next Year Better than the Last

New year, new goals! As 2023 comes to an end, join us as we embark on a journey of self-discover and growth, and learn how to make the best out of the next 366 days.

2023—what a year it’s been! This year, we witnessed many historic records broken in the sports arena and on the big screens, and felt the collective stress and anxiety of political unrest and climate change. Back at home, we voted in the sixth public presidential elections that saw former Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam sworn in as Singapore’s ninth president, said hello to Asia’s largest bird park at Mandai Wildlife Reserve, and adjusted to a one per cent increase in Goods & Services Tax (GST) among many other milestones. 

All things considered, how has your year been? As 2024 approaches, join us as we look back at the last twelve months and give you some tips on how to forge a better year ahead. 

Reflecting on the past year

It’s perfectly natural for many of us to feel more reflective in this time of year, and to take a step back to review all that has happened throughout the months. In a world that seems to be perpetually shifting, self-reflection can help to keep us grounded and grow through uncertainty and challenges. 

What’s more, building a habit of reflection can prove beneficial in your career too. In fact, some of the most outstanding people like Bill Gates and Albert Einstein have attributed at least a part of their success to the act of personal reflection. 


“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.”



What reflection really is is an internal assessment and plan—of your values, aspirations, fears, flaws, and so on—to become the very best version of yourself. This can be done in many ways, depending on the model you decide to follow, most of which consist of multiple intentional steps from observing one’s feelings and behaviour in a given situation to constructing theories that explain personal experiences.

As the year draws to a close, consider your accomplishments and shortcomings, and pen down the good, the bad, and the ugly in a journal. To truly benefit from this exercise, it’s important to dig deeper beyond generic questions like ‘Where do I see myself in five years?’ and ‘What are some things I can improve on?’. More specifically, studies have shown that reflections that involve themes of frustration, surprise, and failure, are the most valuable in translating to learning and growth[1]. After you’ve gotten the hang of it, make it a point to keep your journal handy next year, so you can document prominent events, triggers, and emotions that you experience with as many details as you can conjure.

This process need not be a solitary one. For those that prefer to speak their minds, engaging in conversations with friends, family, and even mentors can also provide new perspectives and deeper insights into our lives, and the tools we need to take on the unique challenges and opportunities that come our way in the future.  

Making resolutions that stick

If, after deep reflection, you realise that you’ve fallen short this year, the good news is that it’s never too late to hit the reset button. The beginning of a new year is the perfect time for just that, where goal-setting and the all-too-familiar trend of New Year’s resolutions come into play!

That said, we’re fully aware that following through with resolutions aren’t always as easy as making them. But before you chalk it up to laziness or a lack of willpower on your part, perhaps the problem lies in how you’re making your resolutions. Goals aren’t just meant to be aspirations, but also guideposts that direct our actions and decisions. In setting these goals, the widely-implemented SMART framework is a useful tool you can use to form your intentions for 2024. That is, setting goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

For example, rather than intending to simply “save more money” next year, you can make an actionable plan to dine at a hawker centre instead of a restaurant three times a week so that you can set aside an extra five per cent of your income each month to deposit into a high-interest savings account. In other words, it’s all about being specific!


Setting yourself up for success

With goals in place, the next step is planning, to transforms goals from abstract ideas into concrete actions. If there’s one thing we learnt from the turbulence of the last few years, it’s to be prepared for the worst. That may sound grim, but what that means is to be adaptable and sufficiently equipped to handle sudden changes in our environment and circumstances.

While it’s impossible to plan ahead for everything, we can certainly put steps in place to ensure that we can bounce back from setbacks. Practical tools like digital planners, project management applications, and support networks can aid this somewhat tedious process. Above all, the most critical tools are a mindset ready to embrace change, and dedication to be the change you want to see.

The key to effective planning is being organised with it. By removing clutter and creating structure in your life—physically and mentally—you can free up room for flexibility and innovation, as well as take charge of your priorities. We’re not just talking about keeping a tidy home and professional environment, but also establishing a schedule and routine. Furthermore, having an organised plan of action removes unnecessary stress, which then paves the way for us to unleash our full potential.


“Organising is self-care,” says Marie Kondo, tidying expert and creator of the KonMari Method that advocates a little-by-little tidying philosophy, which can be applied to how we make plans too. Image courtesy of KonMari.

When it comes to our careers, devising clear plans is beneficial to achieve a healthy and balanced work life. To help with the latter, your Workplace Community offers insightful programmes and engaging activities, from our signature sustainability and wellness festivals to lunchtime workshops and workout sessions to enrich your time at work. Through these initiatives, we continue to enable you to deepen your workplace interactions and relationships through our curated programmes. For those keen on staying connected, keep a lookout for our exciting happenings in the next year! 


Celebrating achievements and milestones

Even as you trudge through another year, now geared with SMART goals and a proper plan in place, don’t forget to take a pause every now and then to give yourself a pat on the back for your progress, however big or small.

For a job well done at work or in your personal life, rewarding yourself with small indulgences, sharing your victories with colleagues and loved ones, or simply allowing yourself to take a well-deserved break can offer a great boost in confidence and help you to stay motivated and on track towards your resolutions so you don't find yourself abandoning them come March. And of course, remember to jot down your successes in your journal too!


Useful books to pick up for the new year

Whatever you’re hoping to accomplish in the next year, there are plenty of resources out there to help you get there. Here, we’ve compiled a list of self-help books that may pique your interest.


1. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck
2. Master of Change: How to Excel When Everything is Changing by Brad Stulberg
3. The Bullet Journal Method: Track your Past, Order the Present, Design the Future by Ryder Carroll
4. Joy at Work: Organising Your Professional Life by Marie Kondo & Scott Sonenshein
4. Joy at Work: Organising Your Professional Life by Marie Kondo & Scott Sonenshein

All titles above are available at Kinokuniya.

With that, we wish you Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year! Here’s to new beginnings, growth, happiness, resilience, and success—a year that is, indeed, better than the last.

You might also like...