For thirty-five years now, I have performed a ritual at the end of December. It’s the way I wrap up each year and gain some perspective on my life.
I take half of a day and get completely alone. Usually, I get away from the house and find a quiet place to reflect. During this time, I think, I pray and I review the past year, making notes of my evaluations along the way. While the exercise varies slightly, I perform this ritual by asking myself the following questions.
- What are my fondest memories of last year?
- What were the “big projects” I completed during the year?
- What were the defining moments during the last year?
- What did I procrastinate on and fail to get done?
- What books and mentors had the greatest impact on me? Why?
- What were my biggest disappointments this past year?
- Am I closer to my friends and family from my activities this year?
- What will be my biggest goals as I move forward into next year?
- Where did I neglect to live up to the standards I set for myself?
- What am I committed to doing this next year, to fulfill my “Life Sentence?”
Answering these questions allows me to accomplish two objectives. First, it forces me to focus on the important things in my life and not get lost in the trivial ones. Second, it furnishes me with a platform to set goals for the new year.
If you don’t already have a “review plan,” give it a try.