Completing a Year End Review In Your Bullet Journal

December 12th, 2020

As soon as we approach December, I like to capture some thoughts about the year gone by. The end of the year always approaches so suddenly and it catches me by surprise... even though it happens every year!

Thinking about the year you've had is extremely important, and if you dig deep enough you realise that there is so much to be proud of and grateful for, despite the setbacks.

We are programmed to remember negative events much more than positive ones, so we can easily miss all of the good stuff, if we don't take a moment to slow down and reflect on it.

Now is the time to take the opportunity to be kind to yourself and appreciate everything about the past year.

I did a mid year review, which was more of a detailed look at goals that were met, on track or changed. I also captured what I was feeling and what I wanted to improve. This was really useful at the mid year point because you can make any changes you need to make for the rest of the year.

Mid year review

My year end review this year was much less structured. The most important thing at this time of year, is to just take the time to reflect and feel gratitude.

Before jumping into setting goals for 2021 yet, we need to prepare ourselves mentally and emotionally for the end of this year and the beginning of new one.

To achieve this, my year end reflection was focussed on:

  1. appreciating successes and

  2. understanding improvements

I come across hundreds of reflection prompts in videos and blog posts which just ends up overwhelming me, so I wanted to keep it simple and precise.

Triumphs

Appreciating your triumphs is the best way to set yourself up for success for the following year. Focussing on this, puts you in the positive state of mind that helps you look ahead and plan for the new year.

This is when all of the journalling that you've done throughout the year can really help. Everything we've learnt and experienced throughout the year is in our journals.

I recommend flicking through and having a look at the past year in your journal if you have one. If not, look through your calendar (digital or not) or any notes you've made throughout the year.

Start thinking about what you're proud of, and what went well.

Triumphs can be achievements or even things that have given you joy. They're all worth mentioning because they are what will give you the positive energy you need when setting up your intentions for the new year.

My triumphs range from practical accomplishments like setting up this channel, my blog and my newsletter. To family things, like the quality time we've had together, or my son starting school. I also have behaviours that I'm happy about, like choosing progress over perfection. Or things that have given me joy, like reading books and journalling consistently.

Refinements

The second part of the exercise is about what you want to improve, to help remove the excess from your life. Again look through your journal for clues and reflection prompts. You might find clues in your weekly or daily logs or any other lists you wrote throughout the year.

Think about the things that haven't served you as well as you would've liked. By removing projects or activities that haven't worked for you, you can create space in your mind and your life, to invite in creativity, new ideas, opportunities and mindfulness.

Think about the things you should've said no to. And I don't necessarily mean no to other people, but to yourself too. I know there were certain projects and activities that I should've said no to from the start...just to myself.

This then comes together to form your refinements list.

Year End Reflection Spread

I don't really like to look at things like this as wins and losses, because life isn't just black or white. The definition of refinement is the process of removing unwanted elements from a substance, or the improvement of something by making small changes... which is exactly what we're after here.

Thinking these things through can really help set the tone for the following year. And it's important to start the year with a positive frame of mind. That, combined with the "new year fresh start" spirit, can set off a chain reaction of positive events and activities in your life.

As you know I do a lot of reflection spreads in my journal already like the wheel of life exercise for finding balance, that I did in one my YouTube videos. So all of this allows me to have quite a simple year end reflection, because I've been doing it throughout the year.

I've found it really helpful just keeping this year end reflection simple, rather than having an overwhelming amount of information to work through.

I hope it works for you too.

If you're interested in seeing me set up my year end reflection spread, to get you in the mood to do your own, here's the video:

With love,