Reflecting on 2016 and Planning for Next Year
The end of the year is a great time for personal and professional reflection as well as planning out what you intend to accomplish in the next year. Setting goals for the next year and self-reflecting on the past year helps create a sense of clarity on what to change and what to maintain.
Ask and Answer Questions
Be it for personal or professional gain, asking and answering questions about the past year can help you gain a better perspective on your level of growth. January and February of 2016 was a long time ago and without taking the time to really sit down and think about what happened in those months it can be difficult to recall what an impact they had on your overall year.
Start broad; ask questions like what have you learned this year? Or what was your biggest success? Answer these questions in a free write. Don’t hold yourself to any standard on how long the answers need to be or how coherent they need to be, let your mind go. You’ll find that as you write you’ll begin to naturally fine-tune your answers.
Once you feel you’ve answered the big questions, start to go smaller. What lessons did you learn? What will you do differently in 2017? Keep the free-write going.
Review Your Answers
Now that you’ve completed you’re free-write portion of the exercise look back over your answers and see how you can structure them into personal and professional lessons. These lessons can now be turned into a plan for the next year.
Planning Ahead for Next Year
Planning ahead can seem like a daunting task. There are many unknowns that you can’t account for. However, in your reflection process you likely realized that this past year wasn’t quite so different than the year before. We have more control than we realize, and thinking about how we want the next year to play out will only increase the control we have.
What do you want to achieve for next year? Get specific when answering this question, ask yourself how you can achieve this, write a detailed plan on how you will get yourself to your goal. Is there somewhere you want to travel? How will you prepare for this trip? What can you do to make your life simpler? Even if it’s just the little things like preparing lunch the night before, or setting your coffee-pot to auto-brew so your cup is ready when you wake up.
If You’re a More Visual Person
There are many downloadables that can help you with your reflection and planning if it’s easier for you to use an already structured guide. The Happiness Planner has printables for 2016 reflection & 2017 planning that touch on more topics than are mentioned in this post. If you are in need of more questions to help you hone in on your free-write. Graphcom has an excellent list for both the reflect and plan portion of the exercise.