The start of the new year is an ideal time to take stock and reflect. January 1, the 1st of every month, or the start of a new season are temporal landmarks. This is when many of us set goals or recommit to goals.
A review of the year gives you insights on how to move forward in the next. It’s better to do it in the first week of the year, but no later than before you start planning for the upcoming months.
1. How much time to invest in the Yearly Review.
2. You get to decide where to review your year, such as at the dining table, at your work desk, on your couch, or outdoors if the local weather is ideal.
3. The Peak End Rule is a cognitive bias that affects our memories and shapes our behavior. We remember fragments of an event or experience. The fragments are the peaks, the pits, and the beginning and ending.
4. Don’t rely on just your memory when you do your review. Go through your personal records, like journals, planners, calendars, notebooks, videos and photos.
5. The 12 key questions to kickstart your year:
Question #1: What made you feel the most joy?
Question #2: What made you feel the most discontent?
Question #3: What was your biggest win? How did you celebrate it?
Question #4: What was your biggest setback? How did you recover from it?
Question #5: What do you wish to do or experience more? What would happen if this came true? How can you make it come true?
Question #6: What do you wish to do or experience less? What would happen if this came true? How can you make it come true?
Question #7: Which habit or activity renews your energy the most?
Question #8: Which habit or activity drains your energy the most?
Question #9 What did you do to make life for your [spouse, partner, child, sibling, parent, friend, colleague] more easeful?
Question #10: What did you do to make life for your [spouse, partner, child, sibling, parent, friend, colleague] more difficult?
Question #11: What did you receive from each person that made you most grateful?
Question #12: What was the biggest lesson you learned and are afraid to apply?
6. If these questions do not resonate with you, be sure to come up with your own to reflect on the past and plan for the future.
7. Remember the 80/20 Rule: 20% of what you do creates 80% of the results – either 80% of your joy or 80% of you discontent.
8. The huge benefits of reflecting on the past before you plan for the future.
9. Asking the right questions will lead to more informed answers. Sometimes we avoid questions because they are inconvenient and they hold us accountable or responsible. But if we don’t bring them to the surface, they will linger and keep us from growing and making good decisions.
If you’re a visual learner, watch the video on our new YouTube channel, The Incrementalist – A Productivity Show!
- Dyan Williams, The Incrementalist podcast, Ep. 8, How to Plan Your Ideal Week
- Dyan Williams, The Incrementalist podcast, Ep. 19, Create Peak Moments for a Meaningful Life
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Dyan Williams is a solo lawyer who practices U.S. immigration law and legal ethics at Dyan Williams Law PLLC. She is also a productivity coach who helps working parents, lawyers, small business owners and other busy people turn their ideas into action, reduce overwhelm, and focus on what truly matters. She is the author of The Incrementalist: A Simple Productivity System to Create Big Results in Small Steps.