2019 annual reflection

3 minute read

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I’ve written before about doing year end reflections. For 2019, I’ve updated the questions and made a new template based on other helpful articles I saw. I adapted the content and format from Steve Schlafman and Howard Gray here, and also included helpful advice from Anne-Laure Le Cunff, Kelly Thorne Gore, and Henna Inam. Note that this is the template that I find helpful for myself, and may not be the template most helpful for you; feel free to adjust as needed.

The template can be found here and my completed example here. Below I’ll cover the rationale for the structure and some of the questions.

The overall intent is to:

  • get an overview of the past year (step 1)
  • then look deeper into things that worked, didn’t work, and why (step 2)
  • understand the key learnings and how you’ve changed (step 3)
  • understand how you feel at this moment (step 4)
  • know what you need to do for the next year (step 5)

Question rationale:

  • What were my successes?
    • Start out on a positive note. Many people stress over failure, but you need to celebrate your wins as well and take credit for better mental health
  • What obstacles did I overcome?
    • Success isn’t easy, so knowing what difficulties you had in getting there will let you better appreciate your success and also serve as reference for the next time you’re planning
  • What healthy habits have I picked up?
  • What risks did I take?
  • What did I procrastinate on?
  • What did I spend too much time or effort on?
    • You can also fail by doing too much. Learning to let go is important
  • Who should I be thankful for?
    • Broadly speaking, anything you’re thankful for is a result of someone doing something for you e.g hiring you, befriending you, cooking a great meal etc. We don’t give thanks and appreciation often enough so the year end is a good excuse to do so
  • What relationships had a negative impact on my life?
    • Not all relationships are worth maintaining. The first step is understanding which ones are unhealthy.
  • Of those, what are my top goals?
    • It’s helpful to write down all your goals just to see what you’re looking forward to next year. However, having too many goals leads to lack of focus.
  • What do I need to achieve my goals?
    • There are many resources on how to set goals that work e.g SMART goals, having a buddy, focusing on intent etc. Find the one that works for you, and note the thing you need personally to keep you accountable.
  • What should I let go?
    • People like starting new things such as new year resolutions, but often don’t look at what they need to leave behind. Empty your cup

Thanks again to Steve Schlafman and Howard Gray for the original template that mine heavily draws from, plus Anne-Laure Le Cunff, Kelly Thorne Gore, and Henna Inam for the additional questions.

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