As 2018 winds down, it’s good to look back at the positive progress and lifestyle changes you made. And then build on your personal accomplishments to live well next year.
Step 1: How Far Have You Come?
Where did you start the year with goals or wishes? What obstacles have you overcome and what were your accomplishments? This is the first list you should create for your year end wellness and lifestyle review.
Taking stock, perhaps month by month, can give you perspective on all you achieved over the past year. Look back on calendars if you have notes, or just take time to meditate on the seasons and occasions that stand out in your year.
Consider the following:
- What was your intention at the start of the year, or for any month, or season?
Perhaps you were determined to reconnect with former coworkers, or wanted to improve your health status. Maybe you hoped to get a new job, or to clean out your closet, or to learn to ice skate. List your goals and your wishes.
- What did you do, where did you go, who did you meet along the way?
Not every accomplishment is an exact match to what you set out to do. That’s okay. Sometimes the “small” things end up being your masterpieces. You didn’t go to culinary school, but you learned to bake bread? Cool!
- What challenges did you face along the way, and how did you overcome them?
Remember when you were afraid, or worried, or discouraged or exhausted. Realize that you are now a step beyond all of the potential setbacks you faced. Put a star by the challenges you’re still working on overcoming, too.
- What are your results—so far—realizing that each of us is a work in progress!
This list of results can be anything from finally calling your childhood friend to lowering your blood pressure to paying off your car. Include business or financial accomplishments as you see fit. You’ve lived another year…what’s new?
- What stands out as most important on your list of accomplishments this year?
Highlight the top three or five items on your list to come back to in the third step.
Step 2: What Have You Learned?
All the notes about your year of accomplishments leads you to the heart of your planning for next year. Because, while you can see your challenges and your results as indications of strength and progress, those items still don’t tell you the how and the why you need to move forward with.
This isn’t about the obvious—you won’t be able to plan around the inevitable big changes life throws at you or prepare for unexpected circumstances that can be life-altering. Instead, reflect on the lessons you’ve taken from all you’ve experienced, and realize you’ve grown in ways you hadn’t imagined when the year began.
Consider the following:
- What inspired you, changed your mind, or simply made you happy?
Acknowledge what you’ve learned, and you can take direction from the lessons that help you become your best self or give you a glimpse of your potential to grow more.
- Of the challenges you’re still working on overcoming, why do you think that is?
For as long as we have more living to do, there is more to learn. If you can spend time identifying what you still feel is missing or stalled, you’ll have a strong blueprint for setting priorities in the new year.
- What’s still missing? What were you unable to spend enough time on?
The answers here also help you determine the outline for your new goals—define what you’re looking for, or want to develop, to help you accomplish them.
Step 3: What’s Next for You?
Look back at your highlights of the most important items on your list in Step 1, and consider if they align with how you feel about planning for life in 2019. Based on what you’ve identified as your most important accomplishments, challenges and lessons, consider the following:
- What goals would you like to achieve next year?
- What lessons would you like to put into action?
- What project would you like to finish, or build on?
- What will this list look like for you when you do it again one year from now?
The end of this year comes with the beginning of another. This is your gift of a fresh start, and plenty of growth is on the way to present more opportunities for you to accomplish your goals.