As I step outside my house and feel a cool breeze smack against my skin, I let out a tiny shiver. I take a deep breath and slowly blow the air out watching my own breathe disappear into the dark night. I look around my neighborhood and see the beautiful Christmas lights and decorations shining from each house. I feel a sense of awe due to the beauty that exists all around me. Life is beautiful and amazing however during this time period I also tend to feel a bit of sad, as I realize that time is passing by too quickly.
It’s that time of year again when I always think to myself, “I can’t believe another year has passed!”
Where did the year go?
Do you feel the same way?
There is nothing we can do to get time back but there is something you can do to ensure that the time you spent during the year is not lost forever.
What gives me a sense of peace when feeling this tinge of sadness is taking the necessary steps to reflect on my year and to properly close it out. It is a chance for me to take a journey backwards in time, and witness the adventure I just took. The good and the bad times… it all adds up to something.
Get out your journal because you are about to dive deep into your past year.
Here is how I structure my year in review journal entry.
My Unexpected Awesome Surprises
No matter how well you plan out your year, you will always have some unexpected nice surprises that occur.
- Maybe you got a pay raise you weren’t expecting
- Maybe you won a random gift at a raffle draw.
- Maybe you got pregnant (Surprise!)
The reason I like to think about this is because I know that by human nature we tend to be more negative focused than positive. This is a wonderful way to start reflecting, thinking about all the great things that happened to YOU that you didn’t expect. Call it luck or call it something else, either way, we all have amazing things that occur to us each and every day, some of us just fail to see it. Don’t be that person!
My Accomplishments for the Year
This is an obvious one to reflect back on.
What were your key achievements for the past year? What goals did you set out that you achieved?
It is easy to list just your achievements but rather than just list them, ask yourself “Why was this achievement important to me?”
You always want to go one step deeper when reflecting on this question as it really helps bring out more joy of your achievements.
My Gratitude List
This is by far my favorite list to make.
What were you grateful for this past year? Who are the people you owe a big thank you to?
Focus all of your energy on positive items during this reflection phase. Do not let an ounce of negativity enter your mind.
Why is this list so important? Check out my previous blog “Your Defense Against Hedonic Adaptation: Gratitude”
My Top “Three” Highlights of the Year
I make a top three list in 7 different categories, because it is important that I live a balance life and celebrate my highlights in all areas of my life rather than just 3.
It is easy as a business person to list their top three successes like this:
- I got promoted to the next level
- I was featured on the Business Insider website
- I now have 10,000 Twitter followers
However you can see that if you list only 3 highlights you begin to neglect other important areas of your life.
Here are the categories I use when reflecting in this section (For more details around these categories please see my previous blog called “The Eight Pillars of Living a Great Life”):
- My Personal Development
- My Health
- My Family Life
- My Friends
- My Career
- The Adventures I had
- My Legacy
My Biggest Learnings of the Year
Throughout the past year, you made some mistakes and had some personal failures. This is completely OK! Now is your chance to look back and find the valuable lessons you learnt.
A failure is only a failure if you see it as a failure, now is your chance to see it as a life lesson. These life lessons build wisdom and character. It allows you to learn from the mistakes of the past and avoid making the same mistake again in the future.
Finally, it is a chance to forgive yourself. I know how much you like to beat yourself up over these types things, we all do it. Once you forgive yourself you can move on with your life.
My List of Things to Complete Before the next Year Starts
To wrap it up, it is your chance to write down a list of “loose ends” that you should tie up before the year ends. The longer you allow uncompleted tasks to linger on, the more mental clutter you will carry forward with you.
In order to start the next year with a clean slate, you must completely close out this year.
- What tasks do you need to complete?
- Who do you need to forgive?
- What are some things you need to let go of?
- Are there any old clothes or other things you should donate away?
- Are there any stresses in your life that you should handle before the end of the year?
Well that is it. Hopefully after going through this reflection exercise, you will realize that the year flew by fast but not without you accomplishing a lot!
This will be my final blog for this calendar year. I will kick start the next year with a blog on how to set big personal goals.
I want to thank you all for the love and support I have gotten over this past year. As I look back on my year, I am so grateful for having this amazing opportunity to share my thoughts with all of you. When I started my blog this year I had no idea where it would lead, but as I see the positive comments and emails come in, I feel like that I am on the right track. I hope that my blogs have inspired and motivated you to make some positive changes to your life.
Have an amazing holiday season, rest up and get ready to make your next year, your best ever!