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.