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The time right now is among my personal most enjoyable times of the year. Between Christmas and New Year’s Day is the perfect time to really reflect back on the last 12 month and then go ahead and plan next year.

Of course, you can do this review/planning process any time of the year.

And in fact, if you haven’t done a yearly plan so far, I would highly recommend that you start doing this review & planning process now for this and the coming year. You will be amazed at what this reviewing & planning can do to your overall sense of direction and practical achievement. It will take under 1 hour and it will be way worth it.

For me, this process is one of the biggest sources for what I would call my personal successes. It is a 2 step process of I. Reviewing and II. Planning.

Phase I. Review

What I first do is writing a review of the whole past year. This is a summary of what happened and what was important to me. I start this as a free writing exercise and then try to focus on my life areas: especially on the Big 7 life areas:

  1. Relationship
  2. Business
  3. Body
  4. Mind
  5. Spirit
  6. Social (Friends & Family)
  7. Finances and Possessions

Since I usually have done this process the year before as well, I will then review my goals and achievements of the past year. I will see the personal developments that I’m proud of and I will also notice the changes that I didn’t like.

This process of self-reflection helps to notice the changes in your life and it also creates clarity of what needs to change in the coming year (but more on that in Phase II).

If you want to have some more inspiration and guidance for the Review part, start with asking and answerring some questions like:

What have you learned this year?
What were your biggest successes?
Have you hit your goals for the year?
What was the biggest surprise?
What do you want to follow along with in the coming year?
What do you want to end?

Follow up with questions that lead you to summarize and lead you to understanding on a broader level:

Are you happy today?
Are your loved ones happy?
About what are you happy?
For what are you grateful today?

After your review it’s time to keep this momentum of the insights from the last year. Now you can channel these ideas and emotions into your plan for the next year.

Phase II. Plan Ahead

This is the exciting phase of planning the next year. Right after your review of the last year you will have a lot of things you want to improve.

Most of it will come naturally now. Write this down. Then again, I would suggest to focus on your life-areas (see the Big 7 above) to make sure that you create true balance in your life.

So I personally start with my relationships. Then I go to my business, then to my health and so on.

These questions may help you:

What are the areas you want to expand on in your life?
What specifically do you want to achieve next year?
What dream to you want to fulfill next year?
With whom do you want to (re-)connect?
How can you make your life more simple?
Where do you want to travel?
How can you achieve these?

Some Final Tips

When you write your yearly plan, try to find some solutions to where you identified problems in the last year. Then try to focus on things that fulfill you emotionally. This will make sure you’re looking forward to what you plan. Also find some things that really get you outside of your comfort zone, one new thing.

Finally, I would use this plan to write some short and precise goals for the year. Personally I also create a mind-map with my 7 big life-areas and the goals I have in those.

So get going now!
Good luck and have fun!

8 comments

  1. Dan Garner December 28, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    Hi Myrko,

    I love your questions for self reflection.

    I’m going to use some of them myself. As for plans, I’ve got a new routine that I use now and just blogged about this morning . It’s called’In place of resolutions’,

    Thanks for your suggestions.

    Dan @ ZenPresence

  2. Myrko Thum December 28, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    Dan, building new routines / habits are powerful changers. It’s interesting since those don’t focus as much on the end result but more on the process.

  3. Paddy December 28, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    New year preparation: Had a dream last nite. Go to cave by boat. Cave has many rooms and is hidden from mainstream life, lots of old material stored hoarded lots of sleeping rooms and it has a secret entrance on to a village st. It is discovered by the authorities so I set fire to all the material in it and it is no longer a secret. On waking I recognise the dream for what it is. Letting go of the past and moving to things new. But mainly letting go of all the junk of the past. Walking down to the shops for the morning paper, I am presented with the fresh young black feather in the photo here. My totem is raven so very clear that it is a fresh journey for me.
    So then Myrkos new blog comes in about planning next year perfect timing. I will work through it to help my clarity for 2013. I shared all this with my closed mens group on facebook.
    I would like to share a quote that has impacted on me in the latter stages of last year:
    ‘If you want something you have never had, then you might need to do something you have never done before’ use it for 2013. Warmth Paddy

  4. Myrko Thum December 29, 2012 at 8:54 am

    Interesting dream Paddy, I wish you a great 2013 – and thanks for sharing it with your friends on facebook!

  5. Harry @ GoalsOnTrack December 29, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    Myrko,

    These are great questions for doing yearly review and future planning. When thinking and planning for reaching our goals for the new year, I think there are four areas or main aspects we can focus on:

    1. Plans: what strategic plans and action steps for what we need to do, when and where, etc.
    2. Skills: what skills and knowledge we need to acquire or get better at in order to reach the goal
    3. Resources: what external help we need to reach our goal: mentors, contacts, help, support, opportunities etc.
    4. Personal development: what changes we need for ourselves, our attitude, philosophy, thinking, and habits, etc.

    To make next year better, we must get better. To have more next year, we must become more. Everything starts from us.

  6. K-Dog December 29, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    I will have to sit down and take this on board, try to hard -wire some new habits and goals into my everyday living Myrko!
    This is a great site, so keep up the good work! One thing I would like you to include somewhere in the website, (which is probably linked more to the the previous guest post about art and music etc) – a sort of repository of uplifting books,music, movies, you tube clips, websites etc we can turn to for inspiration. Sometimes there just seems to be a mental block trying to take the next step…or you’re having a bad day – and then you could say..’ah! such and such has recomended the following clip, quote,movie…I’ll try that!’…so many times a scene in a movie or a beautiful piece of music has lifted me from a bad mood….so it would be great when you’re having ‘a block’ to have a suggested library to turn too!
    Happy New Year to all and once again keep up the good work!

  7. Myrko Thum December 29, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    Harry @ GoalsOnTrack, thanks for these additions.

    K-Dog, I’m currently thinking about an area of things that I recommend for personal development. So this may include some of your ideas!

  8. Manjunath ajoor September 29, 2013 at 2:20 am

    thanks i real inspired by your articles.

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