The end of a year (and the end of a decade) can be particularly poignant. Part of what makes us human calls to look back on the year to see what the heck just happened, and to try and get a plan together for the coming year.

Whether we look back and plan in a structured way, complete with Textas and butcher’s paper, or simply turn thoughts around in our heads in those quiet snatched seconds before the next busyness takes hold, we still take mental stock at the end of a year.

I am someone who can ruminate endlessly all day (just one of my many superpowers). When I let my mind wander without structure, my brain merrily goes in circles like a car with unbalanced tyres.

But give me a great question and a few blank sheets of paper, and my mind can focus down on what really matters.

One of my other superpowers is that I am a gatherer of excellent questions: Questions that make me ponder and gather my wayward thoughts into some semblance of order.

These are the questions I use at year’s end to help structure my thoughts and give a framework for the coming year. Feel free to liberate them and ask them of yourself.

Past Year in Review

Start by looking back over your calendar for the last year to remind yourself of all of the meetings, people, projects, events and celebrations that occurred in the past year. Looking at the calendar helps prompt your memory beyond the most recent stuff to your whole year, and makes your reflection much richer.

1. The High-Level Fly Past

The most significant/important things that happened to me in the past year in the following areas were:

  • Work/studies
  • Personal/family life
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Friends/Community
  • Finances
  • Learning /personal development
  • Spiritual/emotional

 

Where did my life/business change or stay the same this year?

 

 

2. The Challenging Bits

The most challenging things that happened to me this year were …

 

 

The bits I hated most about my business this year were …

 

 

My worst business habits this year were …

 

 

The things that most blocked my productivity were …

 

 

The things I procrastinated most about were …

 

 

The things I complained most about were …

 

 

The things I worried about most were … (Did the event/thing you worried about happen?)

 

 

The service/thing/blog that I thought was great but that people didn’t respond to this year was …

 

 

My biggest disappointment/mistake (and what I learned from it) was …

 

 

The things I am most ashamed of doing/not doing/saying/not saying this year were …

 

 

My top 3 business messes/incompletes that are still bugging me from this year were …

 

 

Looking back, the advice I now give myself about my challenges this year …

 

 

The lessons I learned from my challenges were …

 

 

The things I choose to delegate/learn about/outsource to reduce these challenges in the future …

 

 

3. The Best Bits

 

If I had to describe the best moment of my year in juicy, rich detail (the sight, sound, smell and feelings), the one that brought me the most joy was …

 

 

The bits I loved most about my business this year were …

 

 

The project/ task I enjoyed doing the most this year was (and why) …

 

 

The person/client I enjoyed working the most with this year was (and why) …

 

 

The service/thing/blog that people most responded to this year was …

 

 

The best decision I made was …

 

 

My biggest “AHA moment” was …

 

 

The best thing I bought was …

 

 

The most important skills I learned this year

 

 

The discovery about myself or my business that was a pleasant surprise was …

 

 

The mess or challenging task I finally tackled this year was …

 

 

The things I am most proud of doing/not doing/saying/not saying this year were …

 

 

My top accomplishments this year (list at least 20 things)?

 

 

What or who helped you to achieve these successes?

 

 

The person/book/mentor who influenced me the most this year … (How can you thank them?)

 

 

The things I am most grateful for this year …

 

 

Looking back, the advice I now give myself about the best bits of this year …

 

 

4. The Summaries

If I had to summarise my past year in a few words, I would say …

 

 

The bits that feel like they are ending are …

 

 

The people/things/feelings that I would like to say good-bye to are …

 

 

The things that I am ready to let go of …

 

 

The reasons (that I may not even want to admit to myself) that I may not want the changes/ending to occur are …

 

 

If I had to write a eulogy for the bits that are ending, I would say … (Note: Write this bit on a separate piece of paper. Stand up and read it out loud when you are finished, and then destroy/burn the piece of paper).

 

 

 

Take a break between doing the past year in review and starting this next bit for the future. Go for a walk or take a stretch, and grab a coffee or water.

5. The Coming Year

 

The type of clients I want to work with this year …

 

 

The type of projects I want to work on this year …

 

 

The things I would like most to have happen/experience in the coming year in the following are …

  • Work/studies
  • Personal/family life
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Friends/Community
  • Finances
  • Learning /personal development
  • Spiritual/emotional

 

 

The things I most want to learn this year …

 

 

The first steps I will take towards learning these things are …

 

 

The things I will say “No” to this year …

 

 

The things I will say “Yes” to this year …

 

 

The things I will delegate/outsource this year …

 

 

The three big things I want to achieve the most in the coming year, (and am willing to commit to doing whatever it takes to make them happen) are …

 

The processes/systems I will need to create or put in place to help make these three things happen are …

 

The first step I will take towards making each of these three things happen …

 

Do I need to adjust my services/offerings to achieve these goals?

 

 

Do I need to adjust my marketing to achieve these goals?

 

 

Do I need to adjust my prices/fees to achieve these goals?

 

 

If I could make one secret wish for the coming year, and know that it will happen, what I would wish is …

 

 

My Word for the year ahead … (Choose one word that symbolises and defines what you want your year ahead to be about, or what you want to be/do/experience this  year)

 

 

Last thoughts

No year is ALL good or ALL bad. It just is.

Find the gems from the past year and let go of the bad bits after you have taken the lessons from them, and you will be able to face the new year with hope and optimism for the future.

Hoping that this coming year will be your best ever!

Ingrid Moyle

Ingrid Moyle (BA - Psych/Industrial Relations) is the Chief Web Wizard at Heart Harmony Communications. A self-confessed multipotentialite, Ingrid shamelessly blends her passions of human resources, psychology, web design and copywriting. When not hardwired to her computer, she quests for the perfect coffee while chasing virtual reality creatures across the backstreets of Brisbane.