It’s been another strange year.
One the history books will remember. I couldn’t wait to see the back of 2020. Yet here we are, at the end of 2021 – a year that didn’t seem so very different, in terms of the pandemic. Though many of us are now so weary with it all that we’re barely noticing the load we’re carrying.
So be gentle with yourself when looking back at this year. Be kind. And celebrate your wins, however small.
At the end of any year, we’re ready to bring in the new. But it really helps to take stock first. To assess the year just gone, and decide what worked and what didn’t, what you want to keep and what you’ll let go of, moving forward.
Look back over the past 12 months
I like to put a couple of hours aside for this, sit with a journal and really think about the past year. It helps to have your diary or task manager to hand too: there will be lots you accomplished, sorted, learned in 2021 that you now take for granted, or have completely forgotten.
Even on a bad year, you will have achieved more than you think!
Count everything. Training your dog. Painting a wall. Sorting a troublesome tech problem. Making a new friend. A good new habit. Decluttering those cupboards. If it made your life better, you learned from it or it was just a lot of fun, celebrate it!
I’ve tweaked them and added to them to fit my life and work. Feel free to change them to fit your own life and circumstances.
Review your year
- What are you most proud of—personally and professionally? What has this taught you about yourself?
- What really worked for you this year?
- What assets did you create this year? (Creative work that could make you money or enhance your reputation: books, articles, art, photographs, courses, videos..)
- What new skills/knowledge did you learn this year?
- What were your biggest challenges? How did you move through them? And what did you learn from them?
- Which three words would you use to describe your relationship with yourself this year?
- Who—and what—energised you the most?
- Who—and what—drained you the most?
- Who—and what—are you still tolerating?
- What did you let go of?
- What were the 1-3 activities or habits that created 80% of your success, happiness and health?
- Who were the 3-5 people that helped you produce 80% of your results? (Clients, colleagues, friends, loved ones).
- What were the 1-3 activities or habits that created 80% of your problems, unhappiness or poor physical/mental health?
- What bought you joy?
- What goals did you not accomplish? What got in the way?
- How are you different at the end of this year from 12 months ago?
- What coincidences, lucky moments or miracles occurred this year? How did you create them?
- What is one thing that you spent money on that provided the most value?
- How did you waste the most money?
- What are you most grateful for?
- What makes you most thankful in the way you have shown up for yourself this year?
- What do you believe about yourself now that you didn’t believe last year?
- What are your top 3 insights from 2021?
- What’s the thing you are best at—and it’s so fascinating that it feels effortless?
- What’s missing from your life and/or business? And how do you keep it out?
- What are the top 1-3 things on your list that you’ve been procrastinating on for weeks, months—or even years?
A workbook to help
My annual review has three parts. Review the past 12 months. Assess where you are in all areas of your life, and consider how each area might be improved a little. Then imagine your ideal future: the work you want to make, the lifestyle you want, the community you want to build. And put action steps in place to get you there.
I have a 44-page workbook that walks you through this whole process, giving you the questions I’d ask in a coaching conversation. It’s £14.99 if you’d like to have it. More details here.
If you’re interested in starting 2023 strongly, with coaching from me and the support of a small group of other creatives, my next group coaching programme starts on 7 February, and runs for ten weeks. Click here for more information.