Do you do a year in review? The year in review is a powerful tool of personal growth, and if you’re reading this, you are someone who cares about personal growth! So, if you don’t already do it, here is a template from me, so that you can join the fun.
The radiant Nona Jordan introduced me to this practice, and I have adapted it over the years to suit me. Now it fits me like a glove. As I adapted mine from hers, I invite you adapt mine for you!
1. Make it an event.
Set aside three hours over the holidays. Settle into your space and get comfortable – mine is by the fire, sitting on floor pillows in front of the coffee table. Have your favorite beverage and a scrumptious snack – for me that’s tea or coffee and Christmas cookies. Set the mood with music – classical guitar? carols? – and candles. Invite a friend or family member to do their own with you – my daughter usually joins me.
Why? Why not? Let it be fun. Let it matter.
2. Add it up.
This is the research portion! Look through your calendar and tally how you actually spent your time. How many meals did you cook? School runs driven? How many hours in meetings? Dinners out with friends? Things I count: client meetings; blogs and newsletters written; books read; time spent with friends; time spent with family; hikes; workouts.
Why? This is where your time goes. This is the stuff of your life. It’s good to know where you are investing yourself.
3. What did you learn? What insights did you have?
These are captured in my journals and coaching notes. My journal is on my laptop; when I have an insight in my journal, I indicate that in the file name. Coaching, though, is my richest source of insight, so those notes are invaluable.
Why? Learnings and insights are striking when they’re new, but they quickly become assimilated, normal, or even forgotten. If you want to grow, it’s helpful to remember what you’ve learned!
4. What’s different?
What changed this year from last year? What used to be hard that is now easy? What did you worry about that turned out not to be a thing? What surprised you?
Why? This is humbling in the best way. One source of suffering is worrying about the future, but the mind seldom notices when things go easily or turn out well. This question corrects that. Trying to control things and people is another source of suffering, but this question highlights how circumstances often just change and how often we are actually surprised by delight.
What do you notice when you look at all the evidence of your year? What do you think of how you’re investing yourself? What do you know now that you didn’t know then? What was good about your year? What worked? What didn’t work? What are your takeaways?
6. Gratitude & Sharing
These are not mandatory, but I find they emerge organically from the previous steps! I cannot reflect on my year without feeling grateful for all the ups and downs – for me the downs always lead to insights, which I live for – the laughs, and all the… well… life I got to experience! And when I feel grateful, I just have to share – my husband is usually the first to know, because he is my partner in crime!
Your turn. You know I’m a nerd for this stuff, so please: if you do this exercise and feel like sharing, share with me!
Coming up in the next blog: How to set intentions for the year.