German Language Blog

Reflecting & Setting Goals In German Posted by on Jan 10, 2018 in Language

Guten Tag, und gutes neues Jahr (hello, and happy new year!)! Are you the kind of person who likes looking back on the year just gone, and looking forward to the year ahead? I know I definitely am! On Silvester (New Year’s Eve) I sat and wrote in my Tagebuch (diary) about what I’ve felt and done in 2017, and what my goals and wishes for 2018 are. If this is something you’d like to have a go at doing in German, read on!

Jahresplaner für 2018, Kaffee und Marzipankekse - von oben fotografiert

“Jahresplaner für 2018, Kaffee und Marzipankekse – von oben fotografiert” by Marco Verch on under a CC license (CC BY 2.0)

Looking back

The Germans have a word for the act of looking back over the year just gone: der Jahresüberblick (Jahr = year, Überblick = review). Here are a few phrases you might use when looking back over your year.

In 2017 habe ich ganz viel erreicht. – I achieved a lot in 2017.
2017 war ein schwieriges Jahr für mich. – 2017 was a hard year for me.
In 2017 habe ich … ausprobiert. – I tried … in 2017.
In 2017 bin ich viel gereist. – I travelled a lot in 2017.
In 2017 hat sich viel geändert. – A lot changed in 2017.

You may also look back and wish you had done more of something, in which case you use Ich wünschte, ich hätte – I wish I had:
Ich wünsch
te, ich hätte mehr Reisen unternommen – I wish I had travelled more/gone on more trips.
Ich wünsch
te, ich hätte weniger gearbeitet. – I wish I had worked less.

Looking ahead

Cornwall 2017

Looking ahead. Author’s own photo.

Looking ahead involves speaking about our hopes (die Hoffnungen), dreams (die Träume) and goals (die Ziele). The German word for a New Year‘s Resolution is der Neujahrsvorsatz (plural: die Neujahrsvorsätze). Here are some examples of ways to express your Wünsche (wishes) for the year ahead.

In 2018 möchte ich … – In 2018 I would like to …
Ich hoffe auf ein erfolgreiches neues Jahr. – I‘m hoping for a successful new year.
Dieses Jahr werde ich… – This year I will…
Viel wird sich dieses Jahr ändern. – A lot will change this year.
2018 wird mein Jahr! – 2018 will be my year!

Need some help expressing yourself in German when reflecting and looking ahead? Take a look at the following blog posts for some ideas:




And finally, what are the benefits of writing a diary in German? Read this blog post to find out.

Key vocabulary:

The past – die Vergangenheit

The future – die Zukunft

Change – die Veränderung

New Year‘s Eve – Silvester

New Year‘s Resolution – der Neujahrsvorsatz

Year review – der Jahresüberblick

Diary – das Tagebuch

Memory – die Erinnerung

Achievement – die Erreichung

Success – der Erfolg

Goal – das Ziel

Wish – der Wunsch

Dream – der Traum

Hope – die Hoffnung

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About the Author: Constanze

Servus! I'm Constanze and I live in the UK. I'm half English and half German, and have been writing about German language and culture on this blog since 2014. I am also a fitness instructor & personal trainer.


  1. Paula:

    A happy new year! ☺
    There is a small mistake in one of the German sentences.
    It’s not “In 2017 habe ich viel gereist”, but “In 2017 bin ich viel gereist”.

    • Constanze:

      @Paula Danke, Paula! Happy new year! 🙂