The Year In Review

At the start of each new year, I like to spend about an hour reviewing the previous year in my journal. I look at each category of my life and write a paragraph or two about it. This includes what went right, what went wrong, and what I’d like to do differently in this area for the upcoming year. Then I give each category an overall rating on a scale of 1-10 for how well I think I did. Here are the categories I currently use:

  • Physical
  • Mental
  • Work/Career
  • Financial
  • Marriage
  • Family
  • Emotional
  • Spiritual
  • Social
  • Personal Development
  • Fun

What I like most about this is that I can go back to previous years and look at this same review to see what has changed. For example, 2003 was an overall disappointing year for me; I did well financially, but all the other areas of my life suffered. 2004 on the other hand was a tremendous year in almost every area. I moved to a new city, transitioned to a new career, started this new web site, lost 17 pounds, joined Toastmasters, and made many great new friends. In looking back I can see that even the seemingly great years have at least one area that lags behind, and the tough years almost always see a positive spike in some area.

These different categories are all highly interconnected. It’s usually the weakest areas that have the ability to hold back the strongest. For example, if my health isn’t great, that will hold me back financially because I won’t concentrate well enough or have enough energy. So sometimes what seems to be the cause of a problem isn’t the true source. Even if you don’t do a full review of your own, I encourage you to at least give each category a 1-10 rating. Then take a look at the weakest areas and see if they could be holding back your strongest ones.