The end of the year is rapidly approaching. A fact that I’m sure most people will be looking forward to more than usual this year.
I think it’s safe to say that everyone has had more than their fair share of struggles in 2020.
Precisely because it was a rough year, I think it’s even more important to look back and reflect on the year past before planning for the coming new year.
“Struggles not only make us into stronger, better, and wiser people, they also let us learn more about ourselves and our purpose in life.”– Auliq Ice
So before you set your New Year’s Resolutions this year, try this year end review to see what lessons you can learn from 2020, so that you can make 2021 a better year.
In this post I will share with you the year end review that I have decided to make my annual tradition. I will give you directions for how to do your own year end review, and then I will share my answers to the self-reflection questions as an example.
Annual Year End Review
The annual year end review that I have designed has 5 questions designed to look at the year that has passed, and 2 questions to look forward to the coming year.
It is important that when you do this review, you give yourself enough time to reflect. When I do these sort of self-discovery activities, I sometimes work on them over a period of days or even a week to really give myself time to let the questions sink in.
It is also really important to be as honest with yourself as possible so that you get the most out of completing the year end review. It can sometimes be tempting to answer the questions thinking of how you would like things to be rather than how they actually are right now.
Looking Back At 2020
The first part of the year end review includes 5 questions that will help you reflect on experiences that you had in 2020. Try to come up with a list of examples for each question if you can.
WHAT WERE YOUR BIGGEST SUCCESSES?
When answering this question, think about all different parts of your life. What successes did you have in your career, health and fitness, relationships, personal growth etc.? What did you do this year that you are really proud of?
For example, my biggest successes this year were:
- Starting my blog adventurefitforlife.com when the first lockdown started in March.
- Creating and releasing my first ebook The Happy.Healthy.Whole Workbook & Planner in November.
- Staying positive and taking care of my mental health despite my injuries, lockdown, and unemployment.
WHAT CHALLENGES DID YOU FACE, AND WHAT LESSONS DID YOU LEARN FROM THEM?
When considering the lessons that you learned this year, ask yourself if there were any ways that your mindset, or the way you thought about things changed in response to the challenge you faced.
Did you learn something about yourself, what matters to you, or your priorities? Did you learn something about other people?
For example, my biggest challenges this year were:
- My ongoing shoulder and wrist injuries from a work accident that occured on January 2nd, 2020.
- The Covid-19 pandemic.
- Being out of work nearly the whole year due to both the injuries & Covid-19.
From these big challenges I have learned that:
- Being constantly “busy” all the time is not necessarily a good thing.
- Slowing down gives you time to think about what really matters.
- Health and family should never be taken for granted and need to be given priority even in our busy lives.
- We do not get to choose what happens to us in life, but we do choose how we will react to it. It is our reaction that makes all the difference.
- Focus on what you can do, instead of what you can’t.
- Worrying about what you can’t control is a waste of valuable energy.
- It is important to have multiple income streams and an emergency fund.
IN WHAT WAYS DID YOU GROW OR STEP OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE?
What did you do this year that scared you? How did you grow? Did you learn a new skill or start a new venture? Did you work on a meaningful goal or project?
For example, I grew and stepped out of my comfort zone by:
- Making a more concerted effort to express my needs, and ask my partner for help.
- Starting to let people see me by writing about my own personal self-discovery journey in my Happy.Healthy.Whole Project.
- Trying to put aside my perfectionism and fear of failure and releasing my ebook even though it was scary.
- I decided to pursue an entirely new career path.
- I have dedicated much of my free time this year to learning new skills including: blogging, SEO, Social media and email marketing, how to develop digital products, affiliate marketing, and studying for a health coaching exam.
If you find that you had trouble stepping out of your comfort zone this past year, maybe that would be a good resolution in itself! If that’s the case, check out the following post: How To Make A Habit Of Stepping Out Of Your Comfort Zone.
WHAT WERE YOU MOST GRATEFUL FOR?
When answering this question, again, think of all parts of your life. What were you grateful for when it comes to: relationships, career, health, etc.
For example, the things I was most grateful this year are:
- That my family and I have managed to stay healthy during a global pandemic.
- For my partner that has taken care of me after my surgery, reassured me through a year’s worth of unemployment, and always been supportive of my blog and new career path.
- For the gift of time that the pandemic has brought, which allowed me to dedicate time to things I am passionate about and to do some serious self-discovery.
WHAT THINGS DIDN’T SERVE YOU WELL THAT YOU’D LIKE TO LEAVE BEHIND?
When answering this question, try to think about what things you tried this year that maybe didn’t work out for you. Or people or things that took up too much of your time, energy, or money. Or even ways of thinking that no longer serve you.
For example, the things that didn’t serve me that I’d like to leave behind:
- Worrying about things that I cannot control.
- My perfectionism.
- My previous job where I had two accidents/injuries in 2 years time.
BONUS: The Integrity Report
If you haven’t had enough self-reflection yet, you can also do your own Integrity report. I first came across this idea on the blog of James Clear. The integrity report is an annual self-reflection activity that he does to determine:
- What his core values are and
- Whether or not he has lived up to those core values in the previous year.
I did my own integrity report not too long ago and found it massively informative. If you’d like to give your own integrity report a try, see the instructions, and my example here.
Looking Forward To 2021
The second part of the year end review includes 2 questions to help you look forward to 2021.
Now that you’ve had a chance to reflect on the things that you learned and mattered most to you in 2020, consider how you could use this insight to make 2021 an even better year than 2020.
What IS YOUR VISION FOR YOURSELF IN THE NEXT YEAR?
When answering this question, imagine the ideal situation that you would like to be in during the next year. Where do you see yourself? Again, consider all parts of your life.
For example my vision for myself in 2021 includes:
- Working remotely as a health coach.
- Making an income from my blog from selling my own digital products and affiliate marketing.
- Fully recovering from my injuries/surgeries so that I can return to my active hobbies such as backpacking and paddling.
- My partner and I will be able to travel home and visit family.
WHAT ARE YOUR NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS?
Okay, now it’s time to make your own New Year’s Resolutions!
Here are some resources that you might find useful for making, planning, and sticking to your 2021 Resolutions:
- If you’re still not sure what exactly you want to work on for your New Year’s Resolutions, take this FREE quiz to find out which areas of your life might offer the best opportunities for improvement & growth!
- If you’d like help deciding on, organizing, planning, tracking, troubleshooting & achieving your resolutions (whatever they may be), check out The Happy.Healthy.Whole Workbook & Planner [AD]
- If you’re worried you won’t have time for your resolutions, check out: How To Make Time For Healthy Habits With Time Blocking
- Grab a FREE goal-setting template: The Ultimate SMART Goal Setting Guide For Health And Fitness.
- Follow step-by-step instructions to make a plan of attack for your resolutions: How To Create An Action Plan & Get Started Today – Not Someday
That should be just about everything you need to set some amazing New Year’s Resolutions for 2021!
Doing a year end review is a great way to bid goodbye (or in the case of 2020 – good riddance!) to the previous year while getting ready to welcome in the new year.
The 7 self-reflection questions here, will help you form thoughtful New Year’s Resolutions that you’re more likely to stick to long-term!
So let’s hear them! What New Year’s Resolutions will you be working on in 2021? Let’s continue the conversation in the comments!