Year End Review: Time to Take Stock
The end of the year marks a threshold and invites a pause for reflection. It’s a great time to take stock of the year behind and look ahead. Each December, I write and reflect on 8 questions for this very purpose. This year’s questions include some favorites (those truly need to be asked each year) and some new ones.
Whether you are in a leadership role, an aspiring leader or you just want to be better in your work and life, the habit of reflection can build self-awareness, efficacy and resilience. It can also help you set and achieve more meaningful goals.
As we enter the last days of 2016, I encourage you to take your time with these questions. Write your responses and then repeat the exercise over the next few days. You will be surprised at what’s been forgotten and what new thoughts emerge in the new year.
The Past Year
What went really well — what were my wins for the year? The past twelve months have gone by too fast. Acknowledge all that worked well: the goals you achieved, the events or circumstances that you feel good about. Be intentional in remembering the many positives and celebrate every win — no matter how small. This will give you the motivation to do more in the new year.
Who needs to be acknowledged? After acknowledging your wins, think about the people who played a part. Consider all contexts in your life from personal, professional, volunteer, etc. and ask yourself, “who am I grateful for?” And then express your gratitude to each person via a phone call, email, text or handwritten note.
How did you grow this past year? Leaders at any level must continually learn, evolve and grow. By the end of the year, you’ve become a better version of yourself in some way. Maybe you are more informed, more skilled, or smarter. Stagnation is not good for your personal and professional well-being.
What did not go so well this year? This question is equally as important to those previous questions. Make sure you reflect without judgement and honestly acknowledge what isn’t working any more. Perhaps a situation (work or life) that was great for a few years isn’t now. Times and conditions change — how have you changed? What are you tolerating? Where are you playing too small? Where are your values being compromised? These are tough questions, so be true to yourself and your insights may lead you to more meaningful goal-setting for 2017.
The Year Ahead
What thresholds do you want to be crossing? As you leave 2016 behind, what other thresholds do you need to prepare for? Will there be a big change happening at work or elsewhere? What intentional change do you want to create?
Who will you connect with more in the year ahead? We all need people but sometimes the busyness of our lives gets in the way. Is it time to put more priority in your relationships? Consider your personal, work, and community relationships. Who do you need to reconnect with or perhaps start a new relationship with?
What kind of leader, colleague, friend, partner (and other roles) do you want to be? You have many roles in work and life. How are you showing up in each of them? Where do you want to be better? Get specific and create intentions that you will act on.
What do you want? Now is a perfect time to think about your goals, intentions and possibilities for the year ahead. Perhaps in your reflection, a new goal has emerged and is ready to be declared. Aim high and raise the bar. Writing down your goals keeps them in sight and at the top of your mind. The next step is to write your plan, make a commitment and take action. What will you do? You are capable of much more than you think.
3 Ways To Get More Out of Your Year End Review
- Ask your significant other to do the same exercise and then set aside time to share each other’s review.
- Add these 20 Powerful Year End Review Questions.
- Schedule your complimentary coaching session today!
Happy New Year!