I absolutely love planning for a brand new year! I know there’s not really anything different about January 1st. It’s just another day, but it gives me a point to start new goals and a stopping point to let go of things that aren’t working. It’s simply a great time to examine your life, determine your priorities, and design a plan to make the upcoming year better than ever. But most people miss the most important part of setting goals for the new year — looking back. A year-end review can make all the difference between moving forward and actually checking some goals off your list this year and just writing down the same four or five goals you always do, but falling short of achieving them.
A Look Back
No matter what last year looked like for you, January 1st can be the day you decide to take charge and create the life you want. You can decide this is the year you’ll make significant progress toward your dreams. The key is knowing it’s up to you! It’s something you can CHOOSE, and success doesn’t just happen.
If you’re like me, you’re anxious to get started dreaming and scheming about goals for the new year. You may even have a few goals in mind. But first, it’s important to see where you’ve been before you can get to where you’re going. Don’t skip this step. It’s very important.
By taking a look back, you’ll enter the new year with an enlightened view of what went well this year and what you’d like to leave behind.
Questions for Reflection
I take a look at all areas of my life and answer a variety of questions. Here are a few examples:
- What are your favorite memories from this year?
- What did you accomplish or complete?
- Which accomplishment are you most proud of? Why?
- What were you doing when you had the most fun?
- What was your biggest challenge this year?
- What would (or wouldn’t) you change about how you handled it?
- What held you back this year?
- What were your top 3 priorities? Did you spend time on them?
- Did your life feel balanced? If not, what areas need more emphasis?
- What goals did you accomplish?
- What goals are still left undone?
- What relationships improved this year? Which ones need more work?
Another exercise I like to use is timed writing. When you set a timer and write, you tend to write the first things that come to mind without filtering your thoughts. This can really help you get some unique insights. Try setting a timer for one minute for each of the following writing prompts:
Because of this year:
- I realized how much I care about . . . .
- I feel more like myself in these ways . . . .
- I now believe . . . .
- I understand why . . . .
Start, Stop, Continue
I also like to write a simple list of 3 things I’d like to start, stop, and continue. I find clarity about what’s really on my heart and mind by this simple exercise.
You can download a worksheet with all of these reflection questions and exercises, by clicking on the button below.
Every year, I follow a specific goal setting process to look back at the year that is ending, and plan for the new year. It’s a favorite feature on my blog and over 1000 readers are joining me this year. It’s super fun and FREE! If you’d like more information, click on the image below to learn more and sign up.