This post focuses on a very important piece of planning for success, the year end review. The questions below help to capture your successes, challenges and insights to give you a baseline going forward in creating your vision and goals for the future. While this may seem counter-intuitive to goal setting, it is crucial to understand your current state, what worked and what didn’t from the previous year to give you context for the New Year.
Note: This process isn’t specifically tied to the New Year. No mater when you start, just look at the previous 12 months as your year in review.
Set aside some quiet time with yourself, 60 minutes or so. Do this work in a space you find fun and inspiring with no phones, no texts, no tweets, and no interruptions. Answer the questions in as much detail and in the order presented, as they are designed to move you from this year to the next. This is a celebration of you, so have fun with this!
Celebrate your successes and accomplishments!
Let’s start off with a bang and look at what went great this year.
- What are your proudest successes and accomplishments?
- What really worked for you?
- What was beneficial to your life and year?
Try to get as specific as possible, recall the details and the great energy you felt as a result. Take into account the little victories, these are equally important as the large wins. Once you have this list, give yourself a pat on the back and celebrate the greatness from the previous 12 months. You deserve it.
Recognize your support systems
After you have toasted yourself, take a look at who and what supported you in your growth and success. It’s important to know and understand what helped you this year so you can use it again next year.
- Who encouraged and helped you to succeed?
- What contributed to your accomplishments?
- What tools/skills did you use?
- What assisted you towards achieving your goals?
Face your challenges and roadblocks
The next step in year-end review is looking at the challenges you faced this year. Don’t beat yourself up here, just list what didn’t work or go so well. Don’t dwell on the negative or spiral off track. Use this space as a way to get it out of your system and let it go.
- What was challenging and disappointing this year?
- What mistakes did you make?
- What did not work?
Keep in mind these are learning opportunities and areas for potential growth.
With your challenges on the table, take a look at what got in your way from succeeding in your endeavors.
- What slowed you down?
- Did you get in your own way, if so, how?
- Were you missing a support system?
- Was there a skill or tool you didn’t have?
Try to get detailed here, as creating awareness in these areas will support you in not repeating the same roadblocks at the end of the next 12 months.
What are you holding onto?
This is a simple question, but worth asking.
- Can you let go of the things that inhibited you from achieving your goals?
- What material items or beliefs are you willing to get rid of to create space for next year?
In order to grab onto the next monkey bar you have to let go of the one behind you.
From year to year, there are always projects, goals and dreams which are left on the table.
- What is incomplete?
- What is unfinished?
- What do you want to carry over into next year?
- Do you need to clear any goals or intentions that you are no longer passionate about or don’t serve the bigger picture?
What did you learn this year?
Take a minute and reflect on what you learned this year.
- What did you learn from your challenges?
- What did you gain insight into from these experiences?
- What lessons did you learn?
- What did you learn that made an impact this year?
- What new skills, new information, new attitudes and behaviors helped you?
- What are you able to do now that you could not do at the beginning of the year?
Live in Gratitude
The most successful people live in a state of gratitude.
- What are you grateful for?
- What did you appreciate about this past year?
- What people, items, beliefs and systems are you indebted to that made your success happen?
- Who or what contributed to your good fortune?
- What filled up your tank this year?
At this point, you should have a good picture of the previous year and ideas on how you want the next 12 months to be different. As we move towards grounding your values, creating your vision for next year and setting up your plan for success take some time to start laying out ideas that popped up from this exercise.
- What would you like to complete in the year ahead?
- What are your intentions for next year?
- What will you do differently?
- What are you ready to say yes to?
- What are you ready to say no to?
Hold these ideas lightly, but start playing.
Up next, is an exercise to help you discover and refine your core values and see if they align with your great ideas.