Do you have that one surface at your house that tends to accumulate stuff? A desk? The kitchen counter?
It’s the place where important bills and school notices get mingled together with worthless junk mail. It’s one of the most stressful places in the house.
Our lives can resemble that cluttered surface: Old goals and new goals, dead projects and pressing priorities all take up our mental, emotional, and physical energy. Some of the clutter needs to go. Some of it needs to be dusted off and pinned to a bulletin board or inserted into the calendar.
An end of year review is about sifting through the past year, identifying the good, the bad, and the lessons. It’s clearing that mental, logistical, and even emotional space so you you can start fresh in 2014.
Our Three Part Review
There’s no need to make this complicated.
I recommend reviewing your year in three steps:
- Identify Successes
- Identify Failures or Regrets
- Identify Lessons and Themes
We simply don’t give ourselves enough credit for the things we get right. But it’s necessary. First, naming successes can be a huge source of encouragement. Second, it can give clues as to what we should focus even harder on in the upcoming year.
Take time to think through the year and write down everything you’re proud of.
It can be as tiny as one of my achievements: I kept my car completely clear of clutter all year. It can be as massive as dropping 100 pounds, Biggest Loser style.
Nobody has to read it, so if you’re proud of it, it goes on the dang list.
Set a timer for 10 minutes so you don’t give up too easily. But don’t go more than 15 (unless you really have plenty of time).
Failures and Regrets
Typically, this one is easier for us. I wonder why that is. While it’s not always encouraging to go through and remember failures, it can be helpful
Write down where you missed the mark.
Don’t judge why. Just give the facts: You wanted to do X, but you didn’t, actually, do X. Distance yourself from it, like you’re your own loving, honest personal coach.
Take 10 minutes and write. Don’t stop before 10 minutes, but don’t take more than 15 minutes.
Lessons and Themes
Finally, what lessons did you learn? What themes emerged? Naming the lessons and themes will help put a bit of closure on the year and force you to consider actually learning (or teaching) those lessons in the upcoming year.
If you had to describe 2013 in one sentence, what would it be? Then ask ‘why’?
Again, give yourself 10 minutes.
What to do with all of this information
If all you do is write out your lists and turn the page, you’ve done good work. Our main goal today is to put closure on the previous year and start fresh.
Here’s another option: Pick one or two items that bubbled to the surface that you just know you have to deal with next year.
It’s possible that somehow a single theme popped up in all three lists. Or there was one particular success you want to leverage or failure you want to rectify.
Pick one or two and keep them in mind for the rest of our 14 day process.
That’s all for now. Simple, right?
Please leave comments or questions below.
- If you’d like to share a particular success or something you’re proud of, do that.
- If you want to share a lesson or theme, do that.
I’d love to hear from you!
Preview for Day 2:
Tomorrow we will have some fun. It’ll be all about brainstorming the things you’d love to see happen this year, from the mundane to the ridiculously outlandish.
Don’t forget to click a social media button below and share this post if it’s helpful to you. Also, you can find links to each day’s post and worksheets along with other helpful resources here: 2014 Starting Well Resource Page.