Taking Stock of the Past Year

by Julie Boll  - November 16, 2022

Is an “end-of-the-year” feeling sneaking up on anyone else? Holiday advertisements are out in full force and I can feel the busyness of the season creeping in. It might surprise you then what I’m recommending you do despite it all, but I’ll provide the tools to make it painless. The assignment: in the next 2-3 weeks, dedicate time for reflection and taking inventory. 

This practice is something I do at the end of each year, but also throughout the year with many clients. I recently coached a client through their end-of-the-year inventory. When we wrapped up, I asked, “What was the value in answering these questions?” She shared,

“Looking back, celebrating, and remembering how much I’ve done gives me momentum for the future. Reflecting on all the things I’ve done made me proud and it is really helpful as I plan for next year. It was also a good exercise to review what did and didn’t serve me well.”

The review process is easy. I’ve included the process below. First, a few benefits: 

  • It helps build confidence. It’s a reminder of just how much you’ve accomplished this year. Our inner voices can tell us we did not do ‘enough’ sometimes. Often a step back and clear view silences that voice and helps us measure success and growth in meaningful ways.
  • A healthy way to celebrate wins. It’s a full assessment of financial and professional milestones. Not every goal achieved hits the bottom line. Sometimes learning or honing a skill sets you up for future success. Other times, bowing out of something and saying, “no” is a huge accomplishment. 
  • It allows you to process your learnings from the year and be intentional about incorporating them going forward. We can and should take time to learn from our past. This learning is invaluable in our lives going forward. 

Getting Started

  1. Partner up. Invite someone to do this with you and schedule a time to debrief with each other and celebrate your wins.
  2. Plan for it. Block out two, 90 minute time slots on your calendar to walk through the entire process. The time between sessions is helpful to tease out new thoughts and insights.  Be sure to find a comfortable place to work, free of distractions for the duration of your session. 
  3. Commit. View this as an investment in yourself and your future. These three hours will shape your year moving forward and significantly reduce decision-making fatigue. Gaining clarity on where you’ve been, what matters to you, and where you are going is productive and strategic. Resist the urge to put it on the back burner. 
  4. Come prepared. Get a notebook and write answers down as you go. You can summarize later in a digital file, but the physical act of writing requires you to organize your thoughts in a way that can be helpful for reflection.  

Taking Inventory

Note: Not all of these questions will feel relevant to you. Give yourself permission to select and respond to only the ones that resonate – and leave the rest. 

  • Milestones. Go back through your calendar and write down the major moments, milestones, and memories that happened each quarter both personally and professionally.
    • January-March
    • April – June
    • July-Sept
    • October-December
  • Success and Growth
    • What am I most proud of personally and professionally?
      • Personal
      • Professional
    • What activities brought me the most joy? (Personally & Professionally)
    • What new skills or habits did I develop?
    • What were the biggest obstacles I overcame?
    • How am I different? 
    • What goals didn’t I accomplish?  What got in the way?
    • What do I wish I accomplished?
    • What was the smartest decision I made this year?
    • What did I discover this year that I want more of next year?

“Success in the knowledge economy comes to those who know themselves- their strengths, their values, and how they best perform.”

Peter Drucker

Hindsight is a great gift we should not take for granted. Practicing this end-of-year inventory will help you capitalize on the triumphs and challenges of the past year to set you up for more success and clarity in the future. 

If you would like to learn how we can use your inventory and learnings in a coaching relationship to define, plan for and achieve your goals, let’s talk!

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