Can you believe that we are coming to end of 2014 already? Seems crazy that the holidays are here and soon we will be saying goodbye to this year.

Whatever this year has been like for you, now is a great time to review 2014, take the lessons and seeds of wisdom and gently but intentionally release the year (ready for the next one).

Why review and release the year?

Most of us have little understanding of time and intention, and so end up with time passing wondering where the hell it went.

One of my teachers once said to me that life is meant to be lived forward and understood backward i.e. gaining the benefit and wisdom of hindsight. The seeds of wisdom and truth are always there in our story, but we find it hard to see them at the moment we are in them.

So, one of the things that I picked up from very mundane project management was to do a post-project lessons learned. This allowed me to see what had happened, and the see what I might want to carry forward or do differently.

Also, by consciously doing a ritualised activity or process at the end of the year allows you to symbolically leave behind all the stuff that didn’t work so that you can somewhat start the new year afresh. It may not be quite as simple as that in reality, but in our heart and mind, it allows us to draw a line under the year.

Personally, I like to do this exercise around now…just before Xmas when I have most of my stuff done and I am beginning to slow down and enjoy the season.

The simple version

This doesn’t have to be complicated. The most simple version of reviewing the year goes like this…get some paper, maybe a journal and ON PAPER (or computer), write answers the following questions:

  • What went well this year?
  • What didn’t go so well this year?
  • What would you do differently next time?

There you go! That’s it. You can write in long form or by bullets. Whatever works for you.

There is a lot that can be gained from this simple version. The point is simply reviewing and reflecting is more than most people do.

The even better version

Ok, this one is slightly longer, but as with many things in life, you get out what you put in! Again, this is a written review exercise because the act of writing something down crystalises it and makes it real. Simply talking this out doesn’t have quite the same effect…nice conversation at the time, soon forgotten!

There are some really juicy questions here and some real good material for you to get your hands on. This is really worth giving some time and focus to, rather than just going through the motions.

My suggestion is to put aside 1–2 hours, switch off the phone and go somewhere quiet where you won’t be disturbed and can think. When you write, write the first things that come into your head. Your amazing mind usually knows what to bring up to be looked at.

Happenings

  • What happened this year?
  • If this year were a song, film or a book, what would it be?
  • What were the 2–4 big themes of the year?

The Good

  • What were the great points about 2014?
  • What were you accomplishments in 2014 this year? What were the victories, big and small?
  • What A-HAs, mindset shifts or big wisdom did you get this year?
  • What did you learn about yourself this year?
  • What are you proud of?

The bad

  • What were the challenges of 2014? How did you overcome them?
  • What areas of your life were crazy making or out of balance? What can you do to change them?
  • What do you need to rant about or express to get clear and feel complete with 2014?

The wise

  • If you had to distil your life lessons from 2014, what would they be?
  • What are you going to do differently next year?

You can of course not do this and go stumbling blindly into 2015 (can you guess that I think you should do this?!?! :-)). Your life is amazing though, whether it seems good or bad…and just taking that time to review can be the difference between having an ok, a good or a great 2015.

So, give YOURSELF the gift of time and space this holiday season, find the gold in your story and have a wonderful end to 2014!

[reminder]What are your best lessons of the year?[/reminder]

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Image credit Angelo DeSantis via Creative Commons on Flickr