The Power Of Reflection: How To Complete A Big End-Of-Year Review
Clodagh O'Mahony·December 29, 2021
We want you to know something: You can choose to change your life for the better at any place and at any time. No, really, you can. At any moment you can decide to change old habits and form changes for the year ahead.
You might set new year’s resolutions on December 31st or maybe you write out a lengthy list of goals on the first day of the year. Whatever way you like to do it, there’s a vital first step that ensures you can maximise the year ahead.
That first step? A great big annual review. This is the process of laser focusing on the year that’s just been by looking back on your long and short term goals, analysing the progress you’ve made (including successes and failures) and using all that freshly gleaned insight to inform your goals for the year ahead.
Why should you reflect and review?
It all comes down to motivation, alignment, improvement and wellbeing.
Looking back on your accomplishments is a powerful motivator, it instils a game-changing belief that you can and will succeed again. It also helps you to double down on your priorities, allowing you to reassess what’s important to you and align your thoughts and actions to the stuff that really matters.
What’s more, reflection is the secret ingredient to self-improvement. When you analyse what went right – and crucially what went wrong – you allow yourself to establish new systems for the future and overcome all the tricky stuff that’s been holding you back.
And finally? According to studies, taking pride in your progress is scientifically proven to boost feelings of happiness, wellbeing, and life satisfaction.
How To Reflect & Review
Take your time
Seriously, this is a vital step on the road to achieving your goals that’s not to be rushed. You might like to set aside 30 minutes every day for a week, spend a couple of hours on it at the weekend, or tackle each month of the year one day at a time. Looking closely and honestly at how your year has gone takes real focus, so carve out a dedicated time to do it, and ideally find somewhere you won’t be disturbed.
For added clarity, you might like to squeeze in a short meditation beforehand. Meditation is shown to improve memory recall and aid concentration, so before you put pen to paper, consider taking a moment to find your centre.
Celebrate Your Wins
Think of this as your very own highlight reel: it’s made up of all the shiny highs from the past 12 months; the moments you tasted success. When you really think about it, you’ve achieved more than you ever could have imagined. Take a moment to really savour that feeling of success.
Next, ask yourself ‘why was I able to achieve these things?’. It might be because you took daily action steps toward them using your Head Plan Productivity & Wellness Journal or because you enlisted the help of a mentor. Perhaps you took a course that elevated your learning or repeated affirmations that set you up for success.
Really struggling to recall your achievements? As humans, we’re hardwired to give more attention to the negatives, so don’t be surprised if your attention is pulled towards the times you didn’t succeed or you find yourself dwelling on the mistakes you made.
If counting your wins feels tricky, enlist the help of a friend. Our nearest and dearest often recognise our achievements more readily than we do ourselves. They could remind you of that big presentation you did or congratulate you on rising to an unexpected challenge.
Know this: No achievement is too big or too small, so if it felt like a win to you, write it down. And remember: You did that. Yes, YOU.
Look at your lessons
You know that saying ‘Never a failure, always a lesson? It’s especially true when completing your big annual review and we’ll bet you’ve learned a lot this year. Failure is a teachable moment, after all, and it’s often in our ‘down in the dirt’ times that we learn exactly what it is we need to succeed.
You might like to use some prompts to really get to the juicy stuff. Try questions like:
What roadblocks did I encounter while trying to achieve this goal?
Does this goal still feel aligned with my main priorities in life, or do I feel drawn to something bigger and better
What steps can I take to improve on this next year?
What have I learned about myself in the process of working towards this goal? Have I identified any strengths and weaknesses?
What are the top three lessons I’ve learned from this experience?
Here’s the crucial bit: You need to create a space for yourself where recognising failure isn’t about beating yourself up or taking on blame. It’s simply trial and error and an essential part of your growth.
As the saying goes, you haven’t failed, you’ve just found 10,000 ways that don’t work – and, when you reflect and review, you’re right on the verge of finding what does.
Recognise your progress
At the end of the year, it can be easy to look back and fixate on the areas where you feel you’ve fallen short of your goals. Maybe you haven’t achieved certain things in the exact timeline you expected or some of your goals didn’t exactly go to plan.
If that’s the case, don’t fret. Here at The Head Plan, we believe in divine timing. We trust that everything happens at the perfect time and we know that over the past year you’ve undoubtedly made massive strides towards your success.
If there’s a goal on your list that you didn’t quite get over the line, remember this: your future holds something far greater than your past and everything in your life is unfolding as it should.
Remember you’ve laid the foundations for next year’s success. We’ll bet that goal you’ve been working on is just about ready to break through the surface; it’s just waiting for the most perfect time.
GOal Get ‘Em…
Now you’re all set. Armed with all the insight, knowledge and lessons you’ve learned over the past 12 months, you have the power to make the year ahead even bigger and better and we firmly believe there’s isn’t anything you can’t have, do, or be. After all, just look at the massive strides you’ve made since January 1st. When you put pen to paper and start setting your goals for the year ahead, we want you to bear this in mind.
Now, with the belief that you have the power to make it happen and the proof all laid out in front of you, it’s time to set even bigger goals for the year ahead. We’re right behind you, cheering you on. So, what are you waiting for?