5 Steps to a Year-End Review

FinalcropNinaPortrait-22_ppThis week, the week between Christmas and New Year’s, is one of my favorite weeks of the year. The house is quiet, the kids are occupied with all their new stuff, not much is going on either at work or in my social life…and that makes it the perfect time to reflect on the year that’s passed.

For me, reflecting on the past year means sitting down with my journal and writing. I’ve developed a system that helps me be really conscious and awake to what’s been happening in my life and what I want to happen in the future.

One note about this process: I won’t sit down and do all this all at once. I take my time. Sit with my thoughts. Let them marinate. Then come back and revise, rewrite, and edit. By the end of the week, I’ll be done…but I don’t ever try to force that outcome. I always want the answers to come to me, rather than me forcing them onto the page.

Step 1: My first step is to write everything down. I write down all the major events that happened in my life, good and bad, over the course of the year. Then I categorize everything in 2 columns: what went well, and what didn’t go well. I consider what is working in my life, and what still needs work.

Step 2: The second step is to think about what I learned from these experiences, both good and bad. This is helpful on so many levels, but primarily because it allows me to reflect on what lessons I’m taking with me into 2016…and what I want to leave behind in 2015, never to be seen again.

Step 3: The next step is to think about what I want to create in 2016. I plan out my goals in every category of life, from business to parenting to health to personal life. Once I’ve written down a few goals in each area, I add details on how I want to feel in each area of life. And it’s important to note that what we’re really after is the feeling derived from the goal (eg feeling healthy and strong and fit)…not just the goal itself (eg losing 10 pounds). So the desired feelings are really the most important part of this exercise.

Step 4: Next, I list a few actions I will take in order to achieve each of my desired goals/feelings. If I don’t, then I will just have desires with no plan. For example, say my goal is to lose 10 lbs and feel healthy, strong, and fit. The actions I will take are: to only eat when I’m hungry, to write down everything I eat, and to exercise 4-5 times per week. That turns my desire into a real, tangible, achievable plan.

Step 5: My final step is to come up with my word for the year. Every year I pick one word that will guide my decisions and actions throughout the year. For example, one year I wanted to focus on developing my intuition, listening to my inner voice, and that year my word was “Listen.”

How do you prepare for the new year? Let me know in the comments!

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