How To Do A Personal Reflective End of Year Review

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Within a few weeks we are saying goodbye to 2023. Sometimes it feels like 2023 just began. 

The last weeks of the year is a great time for having fun and enjoying with friends and family. But it is also the time for reflection and contemplation.


Reviewing the year that has gone by has many benefits. When you start looking in retrospect you’ll see things in a new light. Reflection will help you give a new perspective.


Tips to do a successful annual review

Here are a few tips that’ll help you do a successful personal annual review.

 1.Take it slow

Reviewing an entire year is gonna take time. Try not to finish it in one evening. Plan out how you want to do the review. 


For example, you can block out 2 hours every Sunday for December for the personal annual review. Figure out when and where you want to do the review and block it in your calendar.

 2. Relax your mind and body

Before you start doing the review, make sure that your body is relaxed and the mind is free. 


Going for a brisk walk in nature or doing a quick meditation can be helpful. Or you can do anything that helps you relax.

3. Be in a place where you can alone

Make sure that you can be in a place where you can be alone with your thoughts. Try to avoid distractions that’ll affect the flow of your thoughts. 


Make sure that you have devices in do not disturb mode so that the notifications don’t distract you.

4. Do not filter your thoughts

Some memories are difficult to go through. Maybe you don’t feel comfortable looking back on the mistakes you’ve made.


But whenever you feel like stopping or skipping a few things, remember that it is important to review these difficult chapters of your life to make sense of what went wrong so that you can learn from them.

5.Get an accountability partner

When you have an accountability partner, you are more likely to finish the annual review instead of leaving it incomplete.


How to do a personal end of year review?


There is no right and wrong way to do it. Everyone has their method to do an annual review.


If you are someone who kept some kind of record of things example: your journal entries, rescue time data, to-do list data then you can use them to review your year.


The easiest, basic, and maybe the old-fashioned day to do an annual review is asking three simple questions 


a. what went right 

b. what went wrong

c. what lessons have I learned.


Ask these questions to yourself for all aspects of life such as work, family, social, health, finance, spiritual, personal and jot down your answers.


Try to write down a minimum of 3 -5 answers for each question and a maximum of how much ever you want.


Here are 2 examples that will help you get started.




Question : What went right? 

Answer : I could finally be a part of the project that mattered to me most, where I could make some change in society.


Question : What went wrong?

Answer : I neglected my health by staying up late and eating junk food as I had no time for cooking.


Lesson learned: I should find a way to achieve career goals without compromising on my health.




Question : What went right? 

Answer : I started learning piano something that I always wanted to do.


Question : What went wrong? 

Answer : I stopped learning in between as I started to give more focus to my work projects.


Lessons learned: I have realized that until and unless I don’t block out time and schedule it in my calendar I am not going to do it. I need to spend more time on scheduling things that matter to me so that those don’t get lost in the middle of making career progress.


Similar to this try to write answers for all the aspects of your life.


If you need more inspiration or references to get started check out these resources :


  1. James Clear has shared his annual reviews from 2013 to 2019 in his blog. You can check it out here.
  2. Ali Abdaal (YouTuber and a productivity expert) has shared how he does his annual review on his Youtube channel. You can check it out here.

Now that you know how far you’ve come and what you want to achieve in the New Year, use it to plan the year properly by choosing resolutions and goals that are in alignment with what you’ve discovered about yourself rather than mindlessly making the same resolutions year after year which you aren’t gonna achieve anyway.


If you want to do a more in-depth review of the year here are 21 reflective end-of-year journal prompts.


If you wish to go even deeper check out this blog post by Todoist.


The Next Step – Planning the New Year


Reviewing the year that has gone by will help you figure out where you are in the journey of life. And also, are doing enough to achieve your goals. In short, it will give you a new perception.


The next step is to use this information to plan your year properly. To make new year resolutions and goals that will help you move forward in life and become successful.

What I love to do is to choose a word of the year first and then make resolutions based on the word I chose. And then I make them into goals.


Reviewing your year is a great exercise to do. You will be able to enjoy its benefit only when you plan the New Year and execute them.


Here are a few posts that will help you with the same :


a. How to choose word of the year and implement it.

b. 12 simple New Year resolutions ideas





When you are reviewing the year you will have to walk down the memory lane which you might not be comfortable with. So make sure that you don’t turn this insightful process into the dwelling of your past mistakes. Remember that everyone makes mistakes and use this time to learn from them.


I hope that these tips will help you to complete your annual review successfully. Do share this with your friends and family or the one whom you want to make your accountability partner.


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