Mindful Reflection: CBT Techniques for a Balanced Year-end Review

Elina Landman for L'Officiel
As a new year approaches, we have the opportunity to reflect on ourselves and plan for the future. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can become a powerful tool for assessing our past experiences and forming new, more productive ways of thinking for 2024. Cognitive-behavioral psychologist Elina Landman explains how we can analyze the past year and plan for the future using seven CBT techniques and principles.


At the end of the year, we ask important questions: Have we achieved our set goals? How filled with happiness were our days? Conclusions offer a unique opportunity to extract valuable lessons that can improve the quality of our lives.

In situations where we are unhappy with the results, CBT provides a distinctive tool for dissecting and analyzing our thinking patterns. These situations can vary in different life spheres: health, career, relationships, personal development, and leisure.

The focus of CBT is on recognizing our dominant thought patterns. Rigid thinking often prevails when we fail to achieve what we desire, questioning our abilities and worth. Instead of rigid thinking, we can adopt a growth mindset. This entails openness to developing any skill, building resilience to difficulties, acknowledging our mistakes, and striving for new, creative tasks.
I invite you to familiarize yourself with the seven principles of CBT, which are essential tools for transitioning from limiting rigid thinking to more flexible and productive growth thinking. Let's examine each of them in detail:

All or Nothing vs Analyzing Existing Skills: Rigid thinking traps us into believing that if we don't have a complete set of necessary skills, we should give up. In contrast, a growth mindset involves analyzing and developing existing skills, recognizing that learning and development is an ongoing process.

Others as Judges vs Others as Resources: Here, rigid thinking leads to fear of judgment, causing people to avoid communication. Growth mindset sees other people not as judges but as resources: opportunities for learning, receiving feedback, and support.

Competitive Comparison vs Constructive Comparison: Rigid thinking involves comparing oneself with others, leading to feelings of inadequacy. Growth mindset encourages constructive comparison, where comparing with others serves as a source of inspiration and ideas for development.

Undermining One's Efforts vs Recognizing Efforts: This principle highlights the importance of shifting from underestimating one's efforts to recognizing and valuing them. Growth mindset helps to see and appreciate the efforts and work put in, even if the results are not immediately apparent.

Excuses for Lack of Progress vs Accurate Assessment of Progress: Instead of seeking excuses for lack of progress, a growth mindset aims for an objective assessment of achievements and progress, even if it's expressed in small percentages.

Hiding Mistakes vs Analyzing Mistakes: Rigid thinking tends to hide mistakes, whereas a growth mindset recognizes errors as an essential source of learning and personal development, suggesting their analysis and learning from them.

Choosing Too Difficult or Easy Goals vs Choosing Optimal Goals: Rigid thinking often leads to choosing goals that are either too challenging or too easy. Growth mindset, on the other hand, is aimed at finding optimal, realistic goals that motivate and support the development process.


Comparing rigid and growth thinking allows us to better understand how our beliefs shape our lives. Instead of fearing mistakes and avoiding difficulties, we can perceive them as opportunities for growth and development.

In the same way that we appreciate personalized greetings, each of us deserves a gift for ourselves. Start the new year with a self-written card – a symbol of the journey to new achievements and positive changes. It serves as a reminder that our future is not just a sequence of coincidences but the result of conscious choices and efforts.

Let the principles of CBT guide you on your journey to a harmonious and meaningful life. Allow yourself to leave old beliefs in the past year and enter the new year with fresh energy, readiness for change, and optimism. Take positive steps to create a better future and be proactive in achieving your goals. Believe in yourself and take action.

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Elina looks forward to the opportunity to contribute to the success of your professional forum and engage with your audience in a meaningful way.
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