How to Reflect on the Year

There are times when I have felt disheveled, out of place. or just unorganized. It could also be described as just feeling off-balance. Whatever it is or whatever you want to call it, spending some time collecting my thoughts usually helps.

Do you ever spend time reflecting on your year? Do you take the time to just sit and listen to yourself? Time to just think?

I try and be intentional at the end of every year and take the time to sit and reflect on the year that just passed.

Reflection can be an important step in the planning process that is often times overlooked. Many people jump right into what’s next without looking back and reflecting on what just happened. Through reflection, important lessons can be learned and what I really appreciate is that I can spend time enjoying the journey.

It’s hard to look forward unless you take some time to look where you’ve come from. So take some time and reflect on the year that is ending or that has ended. The purpose is to think about what went well, what you want to change, and what you should get rid of.

Here’s how to reflect on last year:

Find the time

Take 30-60 minutes to get away from everything. It can be on the weekend, during your lunch break, or just plan to get up one hour earlier. Whatever you have to do find the time in the next day or so.  You are worth it!

Find a space

For some this needs to be a quite place. Others need background noise. Either way, do what works best for you. I do suggest a distraction free environment.  So turn your notifications off by putting your phone on airplane mode. On your computer, turn off the notifications as well and shut down any social media you have open. Do whatever you need to do to remove distractions for this small amount of time. Remember, this is time for yourself. Time to reflect on your year. Again, you are worth it!

Find your answers

Now go through each of these questions and write out on the computer or in a journal your answers. Spend some time just sitting with each question. It can be helpful to brainstorm some answers to these questions. Just writing down everything that comes to your mind. It does not have to be perfect.

  • What are the highlights of my year?
  • What am I grateful for this year? (this is a good one to just sit and brainstorm)
  • What am I proud of this year?
  • What did I learn about myself this year?
  • What made me uncomfortable this year? Why was I uncomfortable?
  • What mistake did I make this year and what lesson did I learn?
  • What do I wish I would have accomplished this past year?
  • What would I like to stop doing this year?
  • What do I want to do differently this year?

Find time to review

Once you have completed answering the questions. Take a day or two and just have your answers available. Look at them each morning when your head is clear or another time during the day that you find convenient. Take a 10-15 minute break from work and walk around your office building with your answers. Add to your answers. This way you don’t feel the pressure of having to perfectly answer the questions the first time you sit down to answer them. And remember, they don’t have to be perfect answers. This exercise is to help give closure to the year.

This article is a part of a series about how to successfully plan your year with intentionality.

Do you have any suggestions on how you reflect on the year? I would love to hear about it.

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