Before you go about setting another goal, I want you to take a deep breath and spend some time looking at where you’ve been.
Aka, I’m going to teach you how to do a year end reflection.
It’s so easy to go about setting goals and thinking about what’s next in your life without really evaluating where you’re currently at with everything.
This is a huge mistake, my friend.
You can end up jumping from goal to goal and feel like you’re moving toward and never arriving.
If you reflect back and review the year, you can decide:
- Whether this was the year you wanted it to be,
- What you can learn from it, and
- What you want to do next year.
When you reflect first, it makes planning for the next year so much more clear.
If you want to listen instead of read, here’s the podcast episode that goes along with this post — Year End Reflection.
The Consequence Of Not Doing Reflecting
If you don’t do this exercise and evaluate the last year, you’ll repeat more of the past.
Your brain always wants to repeat the past. It’s super easy for it because it feels comfortable and familiar. Your primitive brain evolved this way.
If you don’t take a look at what you did in the last year with critical eyes, you’ll live in default and your future will look like more of your past.
Every year you have the opportunity to learn and grow, but that requires taking a look at a few super important areas of your life.
I don’t want you to look at how hard you worked or the activities you did. Instead I want you to take a look at:
- Your results.
- The top emotions you felt.
- Whether you’d remake your decisions.
- The lessons you learned.
Evaluate Your Results
The way to reflect and evaluate your year is to look at your results.
You created all your results in the last year.
- Staying the same weight is a result.
- Getting a new job is a result.
- Moving to a different city is a result.
- Not making any money in your business is a result.
Your thoughts create feelings which create actions which produce results. Always.
- Side note—this is what I teach and coach on in Grow You (how to create new and different results by growing and changing your brain).
The reason it’s SO important to evaluate your results is that your results always tell the truth. You can kick and scream about how hard you worked, but results don’t lie. You either did or did not.
What I teach in Personal Development Master Class is to use the 8 life categories to evaluate and reflect.
The 8 life categories are:
- Health (physical health, mental health, emotional health)
- Relationships (family, kids, spouse, bf/gf, coworkers, friends)
- Money (earned, debt, saved, etc.)
- Environment/home/organization (your space/your office/your clutter etc)
- Personal/spiritual development and religion
This list is the guideline. You can make adjustments to fit your needs. For example, if you set a goal for the year to learn how to cook, you might have cooking as it’s own category.
I’m always trying to increase my consciousness by being intentional about the results I’m creating. This means I plan my life as much as possible and execute without ever changing course. I manage my mind without getting stressed or busy.
Because I do the work on myself that I teach in Grow You, I’m able to process negative emotion and move through hard times without it rocking my entire life.
Just for fun, here’s a look at some of my results from the last year…
My Results: Health
- I stopped drinking alcohol.
- I started eating dairy.
- I gained 5lbs.
- I joined a gym and started working out 5x per week.
My Results: Relationships
- I have stronger friendships locally in Chicago.
- I have a loving (and amazing) boyfriend!
My Results: Money
- Increased my income by 1.5 times.
- I paid off over $40k of student loan debt.
My Results: Business
- 1.5 times revenue in my business
- I redid all three programs (you can see them in The Shop).
- I created and launched a brand new coaching program, Grow You.
- I moved off five separate platforms to one main platform.
My Results: Home
- I moved into a beautiful apartment I love.
- I continue to be a minimalist.
My Results: Personal Development
- I invested thousands of dollars for a one to one life coach.
- I read and listen to podcasts regularly.
- I am a member of additional monthly coaching programs.
- I immediately went all in on who I wanted to become.
My Results: Entertainment/Fun
- I spend so much more time with friends.
- I only work 40 hours per week.
- I explored Chicago so much.
- I traveled to London, Barcelona and many states in the U.S.
These are my results based on how I choose to tell the story of the last year. In a positive light.
I could tell it in a negative light instead. My goal is to make seven figures in my business, and I didn’t do that this year. I increased from $180k to just under $300k. I could look at this gap and beat myself up, tell myself I missed the goal, and how worried I am about what this means for the future. But I’m not. I’m focused on my result that it increased (good) and looking at the lessons learned to grow even more next year.
I could do the same thing for other areas like giving up flour and sugar (haven’t done that yet) or getting a personal trainer and getting really fit (haven’t done that yet). But I’m not.
I’m looking at the results and evaluating which direction I’m heading in and where I can learn lessons.
Even if you didn’t grow or evolve in the last year, doing this exercise (the year end reflection) will show you why that is (spoiler alert: it’s always your thoughts!).
Your results will show you what your beliefs are and what you’re going to create more of if your thoughts don’t change. It’s an incredibly useful awareness tool.
Notice Your Main Emotions
Next up is reflecting and evaluating the main emotions you felt last year.
Remember what I said above: your thoughts always create your results. So when you look at your results, they’ll tell you what you’ve been thinking this year.
Another important exercise for this year end reflection is to notice what emotions you felt this year.
The emotions driving your actions are the biggest indicator of long-term success (I talked about this in Goal Fuel).
Emotions are so underrated.
Everyone wants to know what actions to take. The truth is, if you get the thoughts and feelings right, the emotions will naturally follow.
So, what were your top three emotions from this last year?
This may be tough to answer because most people are pretty unconscious as to how they feel.
Your emotions (or feelings) are named in ONE WORD.
Examples: happy, sad, love, commitment, determined, afraid, scared, frustrated, energized, excited, courageous, devastated, worry, stressed, angry, confused.
In Grow You there’s a feelings list in the Self-Coaching Workbook that you should use to become aware of how you’re feeling.
It’s important to notice how you’re feeling most of the time because if you’re most often feeling negative emotions that aren’t useful, that’s what you’re creating more of.
We mistakenly think we’ll feel better OVER THERE when we achieve more.
Your thoughts create your feelings. This isn’t my opinion; it’s science. Neurons fire and you have a thought. The neurons firing release chemicals in your body that produce a feeling. You have a thought based on your experiences and the thoughts you’ve been in the habit of thinking.
You can think anything at any time. This means you can feel any emotion at any time.
Think about what emotions you’ve felt most in the last year and what you think about those emotions.
My top emotions:
You get to decide if you want to continue to think and feel how you’ve been thinking and feeling. It’s always up to you. Never anyone else or your circumstances.
Next, ask yourself if you would remake the same decisions again.
For example, would you create your business in the same exact way? Would you take that job again if it were offered to you right now? Would you take that program you invested in again? Would you start that relationship over?
You’re always creating your future from the present moment. If you don’t ask questions about remaking decisions, you’ll default to creating more of the past.
For example, you’ll stay in your job and continue to work there if you don’t investigate whether you’d remake that decision.
You’ll repeat more of the past (staying in your job you might not like) instead of creating a new future.
It’s easier to continue with the same job even if you don’t like it. It doesn’t require much. It’s a lot harder in the short term to quit your job and get a new one, but the reward is greater long term.
When you remake decisions without anchoring to the past, you will always create from your future instead of repeating your past on default.
You can do whatever you want, just like your reason. Because you did something in the past isn’t a good reason to keep doing it.
Write Down Lessons Learned
Now, I want you to think about lessons.
Forget the failures and hard times and beating yourself up (more on how to stop beating yourself up here).
Instead, measure the lessons.
I learned so many lessons over the last year. Here’s a look at some of them…
- How to love unconditionally.
- How to be a boss.
- How to listen to my intuition better.
- How to process negative emotion.
- How to compartmentalize.
- How to be a better coach.
- How to stop dating men who don’t have the same long term vision as me.
- How to have the type of relationship I’ve always wanted.
- How to grieve.
What lessons did you learn?
This step is super fun to think about. You’re always learning.
5 Questions To Ask To Evaluate Your Year
Once you’re done with the steps above, you’ve completed the process of doing a year end reflection.
To kind of sum it all up for you in an easily digestible way, I created a list of 5 questions you can use going forward as a short cut…
Question 1: Are you a different person now than you were a year ago? Have you evolved more and grown tremendously? Are you living deliberately?
This means you are: 1) planning, 2) managing your mind (thought work), and 3) not escaping (using false pleasures for happiness). If you are escaping a lot (overeating, overworking, overdrinking, overspending), you are on autopilot.
Question 2: What results did you create this year?
Question 3: What were the emotions you experienced the most this year?
Question 4: Would you remake your decisions?
Question 5: What lessons did you learn?
I just love these questions. They’re amazing.
Thinking About Next Year
As you finish reflecting about this past year, think about what you want.
What do you want next year to look like?
You can want ANYTHING.
You can want fancy things and to look pretty.
It’s not superficial.
Be courageous enough to want it.
A Final Note!
A life lived intentionally is a fuller, richer life.
It doesn’t make you better than anyone else, but it does lessen your suffering and increase your well being.
When you do it right, you’ll blow your own mind.
This is my wish for you.
Reflect on the past. Evaluate your results.
Decide what lessons you learned, and take them with you into next year.