Taking Stock: 4 Ways to Make Better Sense of the Past Year

December 27, 2016 Madeleine Homan Blanchard

Yet another year has sped by. Almost everyone perceives time as moving faster the more time they have been on the planet. Most of us get to this point in the year and sit, dull-wittedly, asking, “What just happened?”

So, now is a perfect time to take a moment to reflect on exactly that. There is an excellent structure for this that I have been using with clients for more than twenty years. I am pretty sure I didn’t make this up, but I don’t remember where I got it. What I did not anticipate when I started doing this exercise was the long term value of having these annual records. You think you will always remember everything—but I guarantee that is not true. The world is moving much too fast and we are processing so much information that making a record of your year is a wonderful gift to give your future self.

The activity must be done in writing and the structure is simplicity itself: you merely make a list of the following things:

  • What went really well—what were my wins for the year?
  • What did not go so well—what mistakes did I make and what were disappointments this year?
  • What/who am I grateful for?
  • What do I want to pay attention to in the next year?

That’s it. I recommend you start the document and then add to it over a short period of time—say a week. You will be surprised at what you have already forgotten that will bubble up.

There are a couple of ways to get even more out of this, but these are strictly for bonus points:

  • Ask your significant other, best friend, or children to do the same exercise and then set aside time to share your lists.
  • Pick up the phone and call, email, or text each person on your grateful list.

Happy New Year!


About the Author

Madeleine Homan Blanchard

Madeleine Homan Blanchard is a Master Certified Coach and cofounder of Blanchard Coaching Services. She is coauthor of Blanchard’s Coaching Essentials training program, and several books including Leverage Your Best, Ditch the Rest, Coaching in Organizations, and Coaching for Leadership.

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