My favourite reflection guide

My favourite reflection guide

Tis the season for reflection, as Christmas ends and we draw closer to 2016, there’s going to be plenty of talk about 2015, how it went, what went well, what didn’t go so well, new years resolutions etc.

My favourite reflection tool has been Mathias Vestergaard Annual report 2014. He gives a brilliant and simple guide for creating your own annual report (reflecting on the previous year)

“You will need five sheets of paper (or five pages in your favorite notebook), a good pen and a great cup of coffee (optional).

Step 1: what happened? Make a timeline of the past 12 months and add the primary things that happened this year. Travel, important milestones, career changes, family. You can use your journals from the year, your calendar, Twitter and Facebook feeds and whatever else that might help you. You don’t need to write anything about it right now. Just get the facts laid out. If you count less than 10 things, then you are probably being a little too strict about what counts as a significant. If you have more than 30 things, leave out the least important.

Step 2: who were in my life? On a new page: Make a map of your people. Start anywhere and draw a little stick figure and give it a name for each person that was significant in your life this year. There might be a group of your closest friends. A group of your co-workers. Who were the new people that came into your life? As in step 1, try to just focus on the facts. 

Step 3: how did it feel? On a new page: With the facts out, now it’s time to go a little deeper. Pick one of the elements from step 1 and try to remember a little bit more about what happened and how it felt. How did it feel when it happened and how does it feel now, with a little bit of time in between? Big challenges might have felt super scary when you were in it, but now that you look back on it, it actually feels great. Try to capture both feelings. Repeat for at least three other events from step 1.

Step 4: what have I learned? On a new page: Try to make a list of the five most important things you’ve learned or discovered in the past year. How did you discover it? What allowed you to capture it as a learning? How has it changed your view on life, the world or whatever it relates to? Step 5: Look ahead. On the last page: With 2014 over, the last step is to look ahead for 2015. You can make this quite complicated but actually try to not overthink it: just draw the three most important people, two concrete things you really want to do, and one word that describes a good attitude. Don’t think about it. Grab a pen and see what comes out. I also highly recommend my friend Chris’s approach to redesigning your new year’s resolutions. Read it here and be inspired:

I’ll also be adding a mapping of  what I want my life to be like in 3 years, 5 years and 10 years. I was speaking to my Dad today, he asked me “have you thought about your long term goals?” and I realised I haven’t thought about that in a long time, I’ve been in present mode.

I’ve also decided not to do New Years Resolutions (I never stick to them so why start the year failing?). Instead I’m choosing three principles I want to live by in 2016. I’ll be posting them soon so you can help keep me on track :).

Let me know how your annual report/ reflection goes!

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