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The best foundation for great goal setting is a solid personal end of year reflection. Even if you haven’t seriously planned out any goals previously, you should really spend some time looking back on what has or hasn’t been working for you in the past.
Once you have an idea of where you are succeeding, or have opportunities for growth, you can set more specific and focused goals for the future.
So how does one start reflecting on 365 days?
How To Do a End of Year Reflection
It may seem overwhelming at first to try and go through an entire year’s worth of memories and events, and I wanted to help ease the anxiety by giving you a step by step plan to your end of year reflection!
After going through this post, you will be all ready to set intentional goals for the next month, quarter, or year!
STEP 1: Start with the Past Year’s Highlights
Pick a highlight for each month (or season) that you felt like was a standout. If you are having trouble remembering everything thing that you did in the last 12 months, look back in your journal or prayer list and see what stood out to you.
If you don’t journal, you can always look back in your planner or scroll through your digital calendar to remind yourself of what you did throughout the year.
I like to jot down fun memories in my daily planner as a little snapshot into what our family was doing each day. Even if it is mundane, I will write down something like “kids made smoothies”.
It is so fun to get to look back at all of those sweet moments documented and remind myself of all the bigs things I have done.
Be sure to write down each of your highlights. Don’t just think about them for a moment and internally say “oh yes, that was nice” and move on.
Get those big moments or successes written down so you can get a visual of how much you have accomplished!
It is extremely rewarding to see all of your hard work documented all in one spot.
End of Year Reflection Questions
Once you have reviewed the highlights from the year, spend some time writing out answers to the following reflection questions.
- What worked?
- What could be better?
- What are you grateful for?
- What did you do last year that will benefit you 50 years from now?
STEP 2: What Worked?
Next, write down at least three things that really worked for you. Maybe you found a gym that you loved, or you found a system for great work-life balance, or you and your spouse paid down all of your debt.
If all three of these things are on your list, you, my friend, are a Unicorn and I would like to speak with you about your magic powers.
Don’t be afraid to give yourself some credit in this step!
You worked hard this past year! Even if you didn’t hit all of the goals you may have set for yourself, you at least made some progress!
If you did anything at all to move forward, you are miles ahead of where you used to be.
STEP 3: What could be better?
In this section, we need to be pretty honest, which I find is more difficult to do for women when we are looking at perceived negatives.
But let’s be clear, maybe you didn’t succeed at waking up every morning an hour earlier and completing your perfect morning routine.
BUT that doesn’t mean that you failed.
It could be that you just haven’t found the best process for yourself yet. For example, I have learned that I am not much of a morning person (although, as I get closer to 30, I am less of a night owl as well).
So as much as I try to wake up at 5:30 AM so I can work out and do my quiet time before the kids wake up, I still really struggle with it.
And that is 100% ok to admit. Especially because it allows me see that I have way more success waking up early when I have accountability (like a friend who meets me to walk the neighborhood most mornings).
Determining what doesn’t work gives you room to pivot and tweak until something better comes about.
When you are looking back at things that didn’t work or goals you didn’t meet, think about why that didn’t click for you. It could be that you are in need of a little more discipline, or a better incentive, or it could be that you are trying to fit yourself into someone else’s system.
STEP 4: What are you grateful for?
In my opinion, reflecting on the things you are grateful for is one of the best ways to end every day, week, month, whatever time period you can think of.
Because sure, you may not have met any of your goals because of unexpected events (like a hurricane, or a surprise health issue, or your spouse lost his job or a GLOBAL PANDEMIC), and those things are difficult and can cause setbacks.
But there are still things to be grateful for. And when things seem to all be going haywire, sometimes that is the best time to focus on the things you are thankful for.
Having a strong foundation of gratitude will set you up to have a strong mindset and to better focus on what really matters to you.
STEP 5: What did you do last year that will benefit you 50 years from now?
Did you work on getting in shape?
Did you invest in your marriage?
Did you focus on strengthening your faith?
What did you do in the last 12 months that will be with you well past the next 12 months?
This will be a really good activity to go through before you set any future goals. Think through how the things you are doing now are setting you up for long-term success.
And you have done it! You have successfully worked through a personal end of year reflection!
I love using my Powersheets goal planner as a tool for my end of year reflections as well as my goal setting for the next year, but you can totally do this with a simple sheet of printer paper or an adorable journal.
Use whatever system works best for you, but don’t skip out on this important self-reflection opportunity! I
f you are ready to start setting your goals, check out my goal-setting tips post!
Share with me something you took from your end of year reflection in the comments below!
I’ll start: Something that worked for me this year was setting aside dedicated date time with my husband with no phones allowed!