How I Use a Personal Year End Review to Transform My Next Year

We own our life, at least for the most part. But we often leave that control to outer factors and just do things on autopilot.

It wasn’t until I defined clearly how I didn’t want my life to look like, that I actually started heading in the right direction.

It wasn’t till I was absolutely done with doing freelance writing for clients that I began treating my blog like a business more than ever. Soon after, I completely replaced my freelance income with my blogging income.

I might be writing more about business and blogging than ever now, but that doesn’t mean I’ve left personal development behind. In fact, in the last few months, I got back to dedicating time to success practices regularly. You’ll see what changes I’ve made exactly later in this post.

In the last days of 2019, I want to bring your attention to the most important thing you should be doing.

No, it’s not setting goals for 2020. That comes next.

First, you need to review your results (plus, what caused them and whether it’s exactly what you wanted) from the past year. 

That’s a fun thing to do but also challenging. Most people don’t like to look back and prefer to imagine a future where all their goals become easily achievable. However, let’s not forget that most New Year’s resolutions fail and there are some solid reasons for that.

One of them is that people set random (and big) goals without analyzing their past and current situation. 

The exercise I’m about to discuss is inspired by Natalie Bacon’s Year End Reflection. Check out her post too. She’s an incredibly successful woman who started from nothing but now runs a 6-figure online business, became a life coach and reaches and inspires a ton of people.

Your Year End Review

Your Year End Review is about the actual results achieved in the key areas of your life over the past year.

In the article I shared with you, Natalie teaches how to evaluate

  1. Your results.
  2. The top emotions you felt.
  3. Whether you’d remake your decisions.
  4. The lessons you learned.

For these aspects of life:

  1. Health (physical health, mental health, emotional health)
  2. Relationships (family, kids, spouse, bf/gf, coworkers, friends)
  3. Money (earned, debt, saved, etc.)
  4. Job/career/business
  5. Environment/home/organization (your space/your office/your clutter etc)
  6. Personal/spiritual development and religion
  7. Hobbies/fun
  8. Contribution/service

Your list of top life categories will vary. Before I started listing the results from 2019, I first carefully narrowed down the aspects of life I truly care about.

Here’s my list for the year end review:

  • Life Design (how the days are structured, better home/office situation, the place I live in, doing things my way, setting more limits and achieving more freedom, traveling)
  • Love (partner, family, close friends)
  • Personal Growth (habits, productivity, money management, discipline)
  • Business
  • Health
  • Contribution/service

Now, to get more personal, let me share what I did (that matters for me) in each category:

Life Design 

  • Better living situation than ever, new home in a great area of my favorite city, with social life and professional environment.
  • More freedom and flexibility in my work (more on why and how in the Biz category).

Personal Growth

  • I got back to reading personal development books, having morning routines, meditating, listening to motivational stuff, and simply practicing more self-care.
  • I increased my savings.
  • Started managing my money better.
  • I let go of a lot more than I knew I could and it freed me mentally.
  • I learned how to process negative emotions.
  • I became even firmer, clearly stating what I want and how I do things regardless of whether or not others can criticize or get offended. Turns out, people actually show way more interest and respect this way (but only when this is done without expecting this as a result, but doing it genuinely).
  • I refused to live in an illusion and demanded to know things (which concerned me) the way they are. Facing the truth is part of my progress.

Business

  • No more freelance work, only working on my projects. 
  • More passive income. 
  • Investing more back in my biz. Learning from blogging courses, using a great hosting, email marketing provider, platform for courses, and more.
  • Doing more of the right things: Figuring more out about the specific audience and niches to cover, products I don’t wanna make and those that are the best use of my time, etc.
  • Networking: I reached out to some of the top bloggers online, exchanged emails, interviewed them, became an affiliate for their course, or else.
  • A whole new traffic source – Pinterest.
  • I completed and am slowly starting to sell more confidently my premium blogging course.

Love

  • I had some challenges in my relationship and decided to work hard on it instead of simply giving up.
  • I learned a ton of life lessons about love and family life this year and have a vision for the future.
  • Along that journey, I learned what I’m willing to sacrifice and what and who are truly a priority for me.
  • I loved unconditionally someone who isn’t my family, and will continue doing it.

Health

  • Making the most of the dutch healthcare system.
  • Regular checkups for important things and overall health.
  • Had low iron levels a year ago and since then I’ve added certain products to my weekly menu so that’s better now.
  • Kickboxing became part of my life (although I’m currently avoiding it for some time due to an injury)

Contribution/service

This is something to include in my yearly goals. For now, I just make a donation around Christmas for a trusted charity in my home country.

Goals for 2020

Natalie encourages to also analyze the emotions that go together with these results and see which emotions you don’t want in your new year.

The main point is to first reflect on the past year with your year end review before you take a look into the future.

In 2020, I know I want to stop some habits and start new ones, get rid of limiting beliefs and replace them with a growth mindset, start earning more from affiliate marketing and selling digital products than from ads and sponsored posts.

Easier said than done, but that’s where things like planning, removing temptations and negative influences, and discipline come. 

I’m not going to walk you through the process of setting goals. As long as you set one you really want, give it a deadline and decide how to measure it, you’re good to go.

The challenges with following through are more often related to motivation and consistency. With motivation, however, comes consistency.

To make sure you stay motivated and actually reach your vision, I’d recommend another exercise by Natalie Bacon, A Future Self Letter.
I went through it and will actually write it down these days. I recommend you do the same. A change in perspective never hurts.

So that’s how to use a personal year end review to have a strong end of 2019 and kickstart the new year! Good luck with this exercise.

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