Includes a free guide about how to review your year.
Are you a glass half-full or a glass half-empty person? I try to see the glass as half-full, but I’m not always successful.
Mindset is an important consideration as you approach the end of the year. You have the choice to look back on the year with gloom or to see hope in the upcoming year. It’s an important choice as you consider how to review your year.
After reading, Why You Need To Complete A Year-End Review, by J.R. Heimbigner on Medium, I decided to steal some of his ideas to create this post. (J.R., I hope that’s okay. Feel free to steal some of my content in return.)
It’s safe to say 2021 is a year most of us will never forget. The pandemic, wildfires, extreme weather, and so much more filled us with anxiety day after day. It’s why I wrote Dear 2022 — An Open Letter to Plead with the New Year, hoping the new year will treat us better.
How did this year go for you? Was it the best year ever, one of your worst, or just an average year?
Many choose to review their year in the last days of December, and there’s value in doing that, as J.R. explained in his post. I want to help you know how to review your year in the best possible way. You can read my review here.
You should have a few goals when looking back at the prior year.
- Celebrate your wins
- Appreciate your gifts
- Remember your lessons
- Plan your next year
Celebrate your wins
To maintain good mental health, it’s essential you celebrate your wins. Some wins are huge, such as publishing a book or getting married, and others less significant. Regardless of their size, I believe you should celebrate all victories.
By keeping a win list, you build confidence. You create tangible proof you succeeded in the past, and that momentum will move you on to bigger goals.
As you look back on the year, what were your biggest wins? If possible, try to find one from every month, but at a minimum, come up with three. Take a few minutes to write them down. I created this free guide to help you know how to review your year.
Not every win is a substantial win, so it’s good to remember the minor ones as well. I improved my exercise and eating habits, and while not where I’d like to be, I plan to celebrate the win. Isn’t buying a box of Krispy Kreme doughnuts the best way to celebrate better eating habits?
You should do the same. (Maybe not the doughnuts.) Think of the positive things you achieved during the year and list them.
Appreciate your gifts
If you take the time to practice gratitude, it is much easier to maintain the glass half-full mindset. Gratitude helps you focus on the blessings in your life.
Since you can only focus on one thing at a time, choosing to see the gifts in life helps push the negative thoughts from your mind.
An excellent gratitude practice is to list three reasons to be thankful at the end of every day. I find keeping a gratitude jar is helpful, but if you don’t have one yet, start a list now to track the best things in your life.
Spend a few minutes coming up with as many reasons to be grateful as you can. The guide I created has room for 15, but you can list as many as you want.
My family and faith are always at the top of my list. You may want to list the people who improved your year, the events you’ll remember fondly, and the times you spent with loved ones.
Look for the gifts in your life. As you focus on your reasons for gratitude, you’ll find even more reasons to be grateful.
Remember your lessons
Life is constantly teaching you lessons. Sticking your tongue to a frozen flag pole is something you only need to do once—or preferably not at all—for the lesson to stick with you.
Other lessons are less painful, but equally important.
What are the biggest lessons you learned in the last 12 months? Who was your best teacher? How will your life improve now that you have more wisdom?
Each year teaches us valuable lessons, but it may take a bit of reflection to see the wisdom clearly.
Write down the life lessons 2021 taught you and use them as a guide for the new year.
Plan your next year
If you’re like me, you made some bonehead decisions in 2021. In addition, many of my Medium stories were complete duds, generating less than 20 reads.
I could choose to sit and whine about what went wrong, or I can plan for a better year.
As you consider how to review your year, it’s okay to look back at the things that didn’t work out, but don’t stay stuck in the past. Look at each event as a teacher, and meditate on the lesson it taught you.
Once you know where you were deficient, you can move toward better progress.
It’s normal to take some time at the end of the year to reminisce about your year, but put that introspection to good use. Take some time to celebrate your wins, appreciate your gifts, remember your lessons, and use all of it to plan your next year.
Here’s wishing 2022 will be your best year ever.
Until next time, keep fighting.