Updated: Dec 2, 2021
Ok people don't judge me...but my favourite time of year is nearly here!!!
No I don't mean the Christmas festivities, I'm talking about the end of year when I like to look back over the past 12 months and reflect on my journey, my experiences, my challenges and achievements, the highs and lows, the things there are to be grateful for, and decide how I want life to unfold in the year ahead!
Yeeeesss I seriously do this and noooo it's not a form of self-torture. I've been carrying out this annual reflective process for around 15 years now and I can honestly say it is a fun, cathartic and eye-opening exercise to undertake. I spend so much of my time trying to understand other people's lives and how to help them achieve their goals, that it's nice to do the same for myself. Essentially this process allows me to become my very own Life Coach!
Benefits of the End of the Year Review Exercise:
It allows me to take stock of where my life is and how happy/satisfied I am with where I am.
It helps me understand what I want or need to change in the year ahead - whether it's my thoughts, feelings or actions - to bring me more in line with my ultimate goals and dreams and what matters to me.
It allows me to re-frame what I may have originally considered to be negative experiences; identifying the lessons learnt, the strengths and wisdom gained because of them, and to let the victim mentality go.
And it allows me to to map out exactly what I want to consciously bring into my reality in the year ahead by creating an Ultimate To Do List. Achieving my big dreams will take me a thousand little steps, no one is going to take those steps for me, so it's wise to get clear on what those little steps need to be!
Now I appreciate that for many people this exercise may be the equivalent of going back to school to complete a giant project that nobody is going to mark. But I would argue that you don't know where you're going until you know where you've been. So many people move from one year to the next making little to no changes, stuck in their mundane routines and unhelpful habits and wondering why life feels so unfulfilling. The only way life can change is if we first become AWARE of the life we are living, and then to find the COURAGE to take the steps towards the life that we want. The End of the Year Review exercise is a great place to start, it costs nothing but time and effort and is has the power to transform your life and ultimately help you find your happy.
Steps for Completing the End of the Year Life Review
Set aside at least 2hrs uninterrupted to complete this exercise in one sitting, or you can do a section at a time during December so that it is complete by the start of the New Year.
You can write it out in a journal, type it out as a Word document, or text it into Notes on your phone. You can write it as a narrative or bullet point facts . You can record yourself talking about your experiences. Or you can speak to a trusted friend and share your experiences and reflections and future plans - you decide the best way to do this.
If your memory needs jolting, you can look at your diary or calendar or look through the photos taken in the year just gone.
Score each of the 10 areas out of 10 (1 = totally pants and 10 = totally awesome) before you start reflecting.
Reflect on the following 10 Life Areas in whichever order you prefer: 1) Relationships - Romantic/Children/Friends/Family/ Colleagues; 2) Study/Career/Work; 3) Home; 4) Finances; 5) Physical Health; 6) Emotional Wellbeing; 7) Social Contribution/Legacy; 8) Personal/Spiritual Development 9) Fun/Lifestyle/Experiences; 10) Other.
Ask yourself the following questions for each life area:
What happened/what did I experience?
What were the high's? What were the lows?
What did I learn - how has it provided me with greater strength or wisdom?
What am I grateful for?
What do I want moving forward?
Why do I want it?
How would I feel if it became my reality?
How am I going to make this happen - what do I need and who can help me?
Ultimate Action Plan
As you go through each section start creating your Ultimate To Do List. This is not like a Resolutions List where you identify a handful of things you know you're probably not going to follow up on. This is THE List you will look at every day, ticking off and adding to over the next 12 months as you take the steps needed to achieve your goals and create the life you want.
Score each of the 10 Life Areas out of 10 again, noticing if the numbers have changed following reflection, which they almost always certainly will, as reflection allows for perspective to shift. Anything with a final satisfaction score of less than 7 should be prioritised in terms of change for the year ahead.
Start saving some photos to represent the things you want to bring into your life experience from Google Images or Pinterest etc to create a 2021 Vision Board to help inspire you moving forwards (new blog coming up in 2 weeks).
And there you have it folks! Completing an End of the Year Review may not be everybody's cup of tea, but personally I feel it's an invaluable tool for helping me either stay on track or take giant leaps forward and creating the most enriched life I could think possible. And given that this year has been marked with even greater challenges than usual, some quiet time to reflect is probably needed just to soothe the soul...
If you would like to access a one-off Life Coaching Session to complete this exercise with me during December 2022, then please get in touch to arrange a session.