The end of the year is offers us a unique opportunity to reflect on our time, priorities, accomplishments, and lessons learned. It’s my favorite time of year, not only because of the holidays but because for the past ten years, it has been a time I use to propel forward with momentum into the next year. On most years, I look forward to it with excitement, on a few occasions, it’s been difficult to approach, but it has always been filled with anticipation. It’s not really about setting goals or forming resolutions, it’s about making sure that the year doesn’t end without it giving forth all the gems of wisdom from moments lived. Achibald MacLeish said, “There is only one thing more painful than learning from experience and that is not learning from experience!
So at the end of each year I’ve adopted what I learned from author John Maxwell, I take end of year time to reflect and plan. For me, it’s a period of 1-2 weeks in which I take 1-3 hours a day for uninterrupted reflection. I’ve collected questions from great thinkers and leaders and have also formulated questions of my own over time that have resulted from my own observations as I reflect on my year.
Here is a brief summary of the steps:
- Find Time: Set a aside as much uninterrupted time for the task.
- Gather Your Tools: Gather planners, calendars, journals, financial data, and even ask others close to you a few questions (if you dare!)
- Make a List and Check it Twice (Yes, this is not just for Santa!) Make a list of the roles you’ve played this year, that you’ll be taking a look at. i.e mother/father, wife/husband, business owner, ministry leader, etc.
- Ask Questions: Ask questions that will lead you to find lessons that have been or should have been learned this year. Like I mentioned above, I’ve collected and written so many great questions over the years. Below you’ll find a free printable that includes my favorites.
- Reflect and Write: Reflect on your answers and what you find and let your findings inform your planning for next year.
Taking the time to do this each year has been life changing! The lessons learned are an invaluable tool as I move forward. I make decisions for the next year based on both my wins and losses and feel empowered by both! Here is a printable to help you get started. If you are trying this as you end 2019, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below or as always, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Best wishes for 2020!