Years ago I abandoned the "New Year's Resolution" for myself and clients as a waste of time, an even hugely negative exercise. For at least the last 5 years around this time each December I conduct a "Year End Review".
Essentially a quick check in with this past year on what worked, what didn't, and a reflection on how to improve in major areas of my life.
Over those years I have improved, fine tuned, adapted, and abandoned aspects of this review. By reading about others review process which reinforced or altered mine.
I've come to realize there are 2 main factors that make this review successful and useful to me.
- Time efficient: If it takes to long it won't get done or it will be rushed through
- Clear plan of action: I need to walk away from this review will a clear objective and how to implement practical steps to enjoy the benefits
Here is my current End of Year Review process. It should take you about 30-60 minutes:
Grab a notepad and create two columns: POSITIVE and NEGATIVE.
Go through your calendar from the last year, looking at every week.
For each week, jot down on the pad any people or activities or commitments that triggered peak positive or negative emotions for that month. Put them in their respective columns.
Once you’ve gone through the past year, look at your notepad list and ask, “What 20% of each column produced the most reliable or powerful peaks?”
Based on the answers, take your “positive” leaders and schedule more of them in the new year. Get them on the calendar now! Book things with friends and prepay for activities / events / commitments that you know work. It’s not real until it’s in the calendar. That’s step one.
Step two is to take your “negative” leaders, put “NOT-TO-DO LIST” at the top, and put them somewhere you can see them each morning for the first few weeks of the year.
These are the people and things you *know* make you miserable, so don’t put them on your calendar out of obligation, guilt, FOMO, or other nonsense.
This is a very practical and effective approach to conducting a year-end review. It allows you to reflect on the past year and identify the people and activities that had the biggest impact on your emotional well-being. By scheduling more of the positive experiences and avoiding the negative ones, you can set yourself up for a more fulfilling and rewarding year ahead.
One additional step you might consider is to set some specific goals or objectives based on your review. This can help you to focus your efforts and stay motivated throughout the year. For example, if you identified a need to improve your physical health, you might set a goal to exercise a certain number of times per week or to eat a healthier diet. Similarly, if you identified a need to strengthen your relationships, you might set a goal to spend more quality time with friends and family or to work on improving your communication skills.
Overall, the key is to be mindful of the things that are most important to you and to make a conscious effort to prioritize them in your life. By doing so, you can make meaningful progress towards the things that matter most to you.