January 1st is a week away! While looking forward to the new decade, let’s not forget to also look back. It’s prudent to do a “year in review” because it gives you some perspective on the last twelve months. Here are some ideas to get started.
1. Take a look at last January’s New Year’s resolutions.
What were your resolutions last time around? Did you meet them? If you did, great! If not, don’t fault yourself—just take a second to think. Why didn’t you meet them? Did you get too busy, or did they end up being too ambitious? This sort of reflection can help you calibrate your resolutions for this year so that they aren’t too unrealistic. What sorts of things mattered to you last year? Do they still matter now?
2. Write down some of your achievements.
What did you achieve this year? It doesn’t have to be something huge, like winning an award. It can just be something you’re personally proud of, like volunteering one weekend or helping your sibling with homework. Making a list of all such accomplishments—big and small—can help you feel reinvigorated about your motivation and capability.
3. Write down some lessons you learned this year.
Did you go through something difficult that ended up teaching you a bit about yourself, or about life? Did you have a sudden change of perspective, or a change of heart, due to an event, an interaction, or otherwise? Think about what left an impact on you and spurred some self-development. If you write it down, you can look back on it next year and think about how you’ve grown.
4. List any milestones you hit this year.
Did you get your first job? Did you take the SAT or ACT? Did you take your first AP class? Milestones—your first time doing anything—are always momentous. In retrospect, you can gauge the way you approached this new thing. Were you scared? Or unbothered? How did you prepare for it? This can give you some insight into how to prepare for other upcoming milestones, like submitting your first college application or moving away for college .
5. Brainstorm some of your hopes for the next year.
Do you have any unfinished projects—things you’re working on now that will continue into the new year? What do you hope to achieve? It can be helpful to chart it out month-by-month, or in three-month blocks, to give yourself a preliminary time frame.