More Year-End-Review

As an avid (compulsive?) planner, I tend to overdo things at times.  I’ve found I’m doing that with my end-of-the-year reviews.  I’m going to say, “ I tried various approaches”, as it sounds so much better! A hold-over from my career perhaps, but I do think a look back is helpful before a plan forward. And of course I need a 2022 plan!

In my Coasting to the End of the Year blog post (link here), I commented I would do additional look back including these great journal prompts I found:

  • What 3 words best describe your year? 
    • Moving, Belonging, Isolation (COVID resurge & Red Tide)
  • What 5 things are you most grateful for this year?
    • My hubby & best friend; My 88 year-old mom still doing well; Our (now primary and only) house in Florida (that view!); Financial security which allows us to live the life we want to live; Friends – new & old, near & far – you all don’t realize how much you keep me going at times.  (Hard to write just 5!)
  • What was your biggest accomplishment this year?
    • Getting the Big Move done with all the associated elements – guardianship transfer, selling place in Ohio, reducing inventory (not enough), setting up everything in new state, kitchen refresh and side yard/patio set up
  • What new skills did you learn / topics did you learn about?
    • Feminist writings – understanding our culture’s patriarchal basis, unearthing my feminine side, exploring Goddesses
    • Continuing to Put Positive Psychology into Practice with my 11 tenets and incorporating them into living my retirement lifestyle vision of active, connected, creative, and contemplative.
  • Did you form any new good habits this year?
    • Ooh – tough one.  I said I wanted to start in Florida as I meant to go on and did a summer new habit tracking.  I was trying to start weekly beach yoga, weekly beach walk, weekly new recipe cooking, monthly massage, and monthly jet-tub bath habits. These are not habits yet, but will still working on making them habitual! 

I also reviewed my tracking lists in more depth, deciding if I would keep tracking these items or not and what my new “goals” might be. Looking back at my three 2021 Lists:

  • Of 40 new recipes tried (goal 52), most are noted “meh” and a few were even noted “never again” disasters.  I’m still trying to find the optimal spicy brown Thai stir fry sauce.  I’ve made multiple variations of Chicken & Sun-dried Tomato in Cream Sauce that has become a go-to recipe.  Most surprising in my review, the two best new recipes (by stars in the margins) were Refrigerator Pickles and Peach Smoothies.  I will be keeping a new recipe list next year, but not the 52 goal.  My new goal will be 24 (two a month versus weekly).
  • I did read 100 books this past year (goal 52), probably due in part to the COVID-resurge and Red Tide isolation this past summer.  There’s a wide range – fiction & non-fiction, romance & mystery, book club books & book club attendee recommendations, and some random books from my book pile, which has been reduced to only 4 1-foot stacks.  I’m keeping a goal of 52, hoping that we will not be in a strong social isolation mode again. Fingers crossed!
  • My New Experiences List is one I really enjoy re-reading, although I’m just short of my 101 target (only 90).  It’s hard to pick my favorite things from here, but a few were seeing the Van Gogh immersive exhibit, finishing the Positive Psychology course series, all the Florida gardening activities, and Fun with Friends activities (mural tours, axe throwing, live theater, new restaurants). I was also really happy to see a few long-term items finally checked off like seeing an alligator in the wild locally, biking the Pinellas Trail, and doing some craft projects.  I’m continuing this list tracker and a keep a 100 goal for 2022!

Another review tool was my “Bullet Journal” review. I use a modified bullet journal approach because 1) I love lists and 2) I’ve found if I don’t write things down I completely forget them!  The Bullet Journal people recommend reviewing each page of your bullet journal at year-end, looking for what worked (triumphs/accomplishments), what didn’t (refinements/stops), what you learned, and what you are grateful for.  As I reviewed each page, I highlighted (again) some major accomplishments of the year and noted some new possibilities for 2022.  

I did a Tarot Card reading at the Winter Solstice.  I use tarot readings as reflections, not divinations.  This reading reinforced both the area of continued study I was thinking of focusing on next year and the framework I’m using for my retirement lifestyle vision.

I had two other (really long) end-of-year/next year planning workbooks sent to me from other bloggers (the authors of the workbooks are Beth Kempton & Susanna Conway) that I decided not to use.  I read through both and felt like my above reviews captured the 80/20.  (See, I can stop the compulsion a bit.)  Both are excellent if you want a step-by-step in-depth approach.

Of all these different approaches (the above and review of my 21 for 21 Action Plan previously posted), I found the most benefit for planning the year ahead doing the daily bullet journal review!   That review surprised me, and actually took less time than I anticipated when I started it.

Do you find year-end-reviews helpful as part of your retirement journey? What “tools” do you use if you do an end-of-the-year review?

Picture: me – First sunrise of winter.

21 thoughts on “More Year-End-Review

  1. I am not the planner/tracker that you are but I do like to set a few goals (whether I reach them or not is a whole other thing 🙂 ). I like to look on my year by going through the photos on my iPhone. I find a lot of memories to smile about and not just a few events that I had completely forgotten about. Since I take a lot of photos, it really does provide me with a “year in review.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I chuckled about looking at phone photos for the yearly review. It’s a great idea…. but. I really am trying to take more photos! But, for my recent gratitude post, it was slim pickings and even finding a new picture for the weekly blog post is sometimes challenging. Maybe weekly picture taking should be a new goal for 2022 for me?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice work, Pat. It sounds like you’ve done a thorough review of the past year and looking ahead to the new one. I love looking back through my gratitude journal. I use it to write down three good things that happened each day. I also write down anything momentous that happened, even if I can’t qualify it as “good.” After I write, I typically look back at what happened on this day in the previous five years. Perhaps tonight I will take the opportunity to look back through 2021. Good luck with your goals for 2022. Enjoy the journey!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Christie, The way I keep my journals, they don’t make it easy to look back to same date in previous years… but that is such a cool idea! I didn’t look back at my daily gratitude lists (i also do three a day), so maybe I’ll add that in next year. Thanks for the idea. Now, I’m wanting to focus looking forward a bit.


  3. 2021 was a year of transition for you and you’re to be commended for your accomplishments. I keep a daytimer in which I record to-do lists, books read, menus, to-be-read/listened to lists, track exercise & sound therapy & tai chi chih. I find the pandemic response curtails the list of things to do in terms of socialization and new experiences although there’s a running to-do list around here. In the words of my SIL, there’s always a list of things left undone. I laugh at the to-do lists; I actually crossed off some to-dos from 4 yrs ago in 2021 (most notable – completed firepit; painted the porch; clad outbuildings). Like a recipe, the list is more of a suggestion. I’ve only read 19 books in 2021. I aim for 1/month. The daytimer is reviewed in December and I highlight the year in a short synopsis (1 paragraph) to those I send Christmas cards to. I also keep a gratitude jar in which I place a weekly gratitude. This motivates me to concentrate on the positive vs negative. A word of the year also helps me to set intention. Overall, I strive to live life purposefully – do life so life doesn’t do me. Happy New Year.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I adore the “do life so life doesn’t do me”! You’ve given me a couple of things to ponder – like keeping track of my weekly menus (they tend to be tossed out). And don’t we all have some things on the to-do list forever?

      BTW – I don’t watch any TV and have few hobbies, so reading is my go-to. I get lost in books and hours will pass!


  4. Hi Pat, I’ll be retiring at the end of March and I’ve been thinking (over-thinking really) about what my days will look like in retirement. Your blog has really helped me be more intentional about what I want my days to look like versus just letting them happen. I’ll be putting together a 2022 plan to be sure I have something planned for each month and build up from there. Thank you for sharing all your plans and reviews, it helps so much 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sharon, if you’re a structure girl like me, this will help. But please don’t force it if you are not – I know a number of folks that are much more spontaneous, and have very little planned out letting things just happen … and they love that about retirement. And I encourage you to also leave time to just be, to be flexible with the plans if something comes up unexpectedly, and take time to just slow down. That was hard for me but now, I’m fine if lunch runs long or I end up chatting with a neighbor (unplanned) for a while. Happy retirement!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for the additional insight Pat! I’m a structure girl but only when I’m doing things for others – when it’s just for me (like exercising or planning healthy meals) I am more likely to ignore/forget structure. I’ve decided my word for 2022 is EMBRACE – embrace less responsibility, free time, travel, walking daily. Here’s to new beginnings 🙂


  5. Pat you’re always so intentional in all you do. I’m so impressed with your end of year wrap up. I’m still in Christmas mode because our family Christmas ended up being on Dec 27th this year. I’m just cruising along towards the end of the year being grateful for all the big and little things in my life. Happy end of the year and may 2022 be a fantastic one for you x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leanne, I hope your time with the family was wonderful. Now that it’s 2022, I’m going to get intentional on making it a fantastic year – the first full one in our new home.


    1. Thanks Janet! I never thought it was that big a deal. What I actually like about the way I track things is being able to look back at what I did – things I cooked, read, did. It’s not really the number, it’s the reliving the fun moments.


    1. Tom, I don’t watch TV, go to movies, nor listen to podcasts. So reading a lot of books is how I spend my time. When everyone is talking about what’s on Netflix, I’m clueless!


    1. I heard about the 52 New Things a few years back – from a fellow blogger (cannot recall who) and loved the idea. My first year, i blew it away. It was also trying lots of new things in retirement too. But it keeps me open to new things – and that’s been great.

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  6. I use Evernote. I track things like household projects, fun things I want to do, healthy habits. I typically beat myself up about the things that I did not do-which is silly (particularly the last couple of years) I love your inclusion of a jetted tub bath once a month. We redid our master bath several years ago and included a jetted tub with a heated backrest. I need to get more intentional about using it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Beth – I’ve also had to stop beating myself up about things that are on the list for a long-long time. Some I’ve just had to say – not gonna happen. Some get intentional about – like committing to a monthly massage and jet tub bath. Happens most months now!


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