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Three Steps to A Purposeful New Year - Horizontal Time Reflection

Danish Philosopher and Poet, Soren Kierkegaard, wrote:

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”

We are the healthiest when we live in Vertical Time where we are staying present to what is happening in the present moment and living in it, as opposed to Horizontal Time where we dwell on the past or future.

Lewis Richmond, author of Aging As a Spiritual Practice, describes it this way:

"When you live in Vertical Time, you are rooted in what’s going on right now as your primary reality, rather than, Horizontal Time where you think about the past - “I wish I would done this or said that,” or future “What’s going to happen in five years?”

We can all agree that constant worry about the past and future takes joy away from life at any age.

I do believe however, there is value in taking a quick trip into Horizontal Time, not too far, specifically the past year.

Create a purposeful New Year by building on the wisdom gained from your previous year.

Use this three-step guide for a Horizontal Time Reflection.


  1. Reflect on the behaviors, experiences, actions from last year that have had a lasting positive effect on your life.

2. Write down the following questions and provide the first answers that come to mind:

“What do I want to continue doing?

What relationships are bringing me the most joy?

What behaviors have made me feel more vibrant?

3. Follow up with answers to this question;

How can I build and continue them?

4. Optional , but recomended . . . If you want to go a step further, schedule something on the calendar.

For example, if you did something that was fun and uplifting; perhaps you saw a play, or took a hike, visited a museum, or had friends over for dinner; make concrete plans to do it again.

If you started journaling, and found it to be helpful; get another journal and continue. And, my favorite, if you took a yoga class and it made you feel better, do it again!

You get the picture! Make it happen!

Instead of making resolutions, I use an Intentional Approach for the New Year. A Horizontal Time Reflection approach pairs nicely with the Intentional Approach. Notice how the two connect.

Have fun!

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