How did this past year go for you? Did you make measurable progress toward the resolutions and goals you set at the beginning of the year? If you were to write a year-end review, would you feel proud to share it?
I’ll be the first to admit that creating lasting change in our lives is hard. Even the most disciplined can’t rely on pure willpower to achieve our goals. In my upcoming ebook, Resolution Reboot, I dive into how we are uniquely wired and motivated. When we understand who we are and how we respond to goals and expectations we are able to create environments where we thrive.
Resolutions themselves are wired for failure. More than forty percent of people who make resolutions, abandon them in the first month. Less than ten percent of resolutions are actually achieved.
The resolutions we do find the courage to make are important to us. They’re things we think about a lot, like: “I wish I could quit smoking,” “I need to lose weight next year,” “I can’t handle one more year in this soul-crushing job.” Yet we continually struggle to see these resolutions through. The average person is said to make the same resolution TEN TIMES!
What if I told you that it’s not you who is failing but the resolutions?
We’re given tools and taught how to plan all kinds of things: the perfect birthday party, family photo sessions, home decor, and epic summer road trips. But it’s rare to hear someone in the media or at a party talk about how to plan your life. The information is available, but most people aren’t comfortable talking about it.
I have nothing against those news snippets and Pinterest boards about planning the perfect birthday party. I just think that we owe ourselves at least as much time to plan for our future as we spend planning our child’s next birthday bash. I cover the planning process in-depth in my ebook. But before you can begin planning for the upcoming year, you need to know where you’re starting from. An easy way to do this is with a Year-End Review.
Ever since I began writing personal goals, December has been a month of reflection and planning. I tend to slow down, take a step back, and think about how I feel the previous year went. I take time to reflect on what I accomplished and what I want in the upcoming year. I consider where I am in terms of the long-term vision I have for my life.
Some years these check-ins are frustrating. There has been at least one year I felt like I barely made progress. Still, these are wonderful opportunities to learn from my mistakes and find a better way. I take time to recognize the seeds that were planted, rather than what I failed to do.I take time to recognize the seeds that were planted, rather than what I failed to do. Click To Tweet
Below you will find two lists of questions to guide you through a year-end review. Start with the simple version and dig deeper if that’s your thing. I’ve found that the more time I invest in this step, the better my results the following year.
SIMPLE YEAR-END REVIEW
1 – What accomplishments from the previous year are you most proud of?
I like to do a quick brain dump so that I have a clear picture of where I’m at. Nothing is too small. If it pops into your head, write it down. It’s nice to have these lists from year to year so you can see how far you’ve come and feel inspired to keep moving forward.
2 – What lessons did you learn? How can you use what you learned in the coming year?
This might be a mistake from which you learned a valuable lesson. Or maybe you learned something about yourself or your environment. I’ve gotten to know myself much better by analyzing how and why I fell short on my previous year’s goals. I’ve taken those lessons and improved my results in other areas of my life.
3 – What will you let go of in the New Year?
As we change and grow, there will always be something that no longer serves us. Think about projects, goals, commitments, emotions, or stories that don’t need to follow you into the coming year. It’s not always easy to check these things at the door as we transition to new seasons of our life. But naming them and being aware of is a great first step.
4 – What is the most important thing you want to change next year?
What ONE thing do you most want to change in the coming year? Think about the one change that will have the greatest impact on where you want to be five to ten years from now. This change should have a good why and be based on your desires, not the desires of others. This should be your primary focus as you set goals for the coming year.
DEEP DIVE YEAR-END REVIEW
If you’re looking for more depth, these questions will help you get a better handle on your where you are. They will help you see the progress you made and offer hints on where you need to focus your efforts in the coming year. These are wonderful additions to any year-end review.
Review the previous year’s goals.
Measure and record your progress with each goal. Reflect on how your goals affected your life over the last year. What was positive, what was negative, and what would you change next year? For goals in which you fell short, ask yourself why you were unable to stick to the plan. Is that goal still relevant? Think about what you could do differently next year to get you closer to achieving that goal.
Record measurable metrics.
Make note of any measurements that pertain to your goals, such as your weight, net worth, or sales revenue, for comparison in subsequent years. Recording these measurements on a regular basis will help you stay on track and give you a sense of accomplishment.
Review your position in Wheel of Life.
I cover the Wheel of Life in my book and this blog post. At the end of each year, I take time to record where I am in each segment. As I go through each section of the Wheel, I ask myself, “What one thing would I change here?”
Completing an annual review is just as important as setting goals. It allows you the opportunity to celebrate your accomplishments and provides direction for the upcoming year. Schedule enough time so that it’s enjoyable and not just another chore.
And with all of this, remember that it’s about progress, not perfection.It’s about progress, not perfection. Click To Tweet