Look Back to Plan Ahead: How to Create a Year in Review For Your Best Year Ever
New year, new decade, who dis?
The first month of the year is always rife with so much potential, as many of us jump right ahead with our new year's resolutions. New beginnings are always so much more exciting when we're all embarking on new habits or things that continue to challenge us and help us grow.
In the midst of new eating habits, new workout regimens and other life hacks we aim to accomplish, it's also a good time to take a good look at the past year and see what we've done and reflect.
If you haven't been able to do a year-end checklist, it may also be a good way to see how you want this year to be so you can plan better. But what's a year-end checklist anyways? It's something that creatives can use to evaluate efforts in the past year and ultimately help achieve goals in the new year.
If there's anything that we shouldn't forget, it's that reflection and introspection are key to building a stronger basis for the work we set out to create for ourselves and for the world.
Here are five practical things to review, reflect on and work on:
1. Have you reviewed your finances?
No one like talking about their finances (unless it's your passion of course) but we all know it's a very necessary step. Closely monitoring our finances and knowing where we stand in terms of financial stability is always a good practice.
Take a look at how much you earned and how much you spent in the past year. Identify the allocation of your expenses, and evaluate which ones to reduce and maintain for the coming year.
List down your financial goals for the new year and come up with a list of priorities. Meet up with your accountant to make sure there are no problems with your taxes. Organize and compile all important receipts, records, financial statements and others. You can also have these scanned and saved digitally.
Doing all of these things puts you in a better position to manage your life as a creative, and gives you a better grasp of your finances.
2. Have you organized your files?
All of us know the importance of organizing and securing our files. Whether we'll need them as references to future projects or as attachments for our portfolios, knowing where we keep them is essential.
And because everything can be done digitally, being prepared for glitches, crashes and other unwanted incidents such as accidentally deleting them should be is a necessary step.
Backup all files. Store everything in multiple places: an external hard drive, cloud-based services. Create an archive folder for files you don't need anymore. In this day and age, there is little to no room for digital mishaps.
3. Have you done any assessments of the past year?
If you haven't already, take some time to reflect on your projects and creative pursuits. What were the past year's hit and miss? What areas did you excel and struggle with the most? Identify these things to know what went wrong and what went right. It's important to know what worked for you and your clients.
Making assessments will also help you figure out what areas you need to improve on, so that when you work on your goals, you can come up with more positive results in the next year while avoiding unnecessary steps and stress. Learn from past mistakes to keep doing it right, in a way that maximizes your time, effort and resources as well as those of your clients'.
4. Have you celebrated your wins?
In order for to truly create positive changes in the coming years, acknowledge accomplishments and celebrate victories.
Learn how to give yourself compliments, recognize the hard work it took to complete a project. No win is too big or too small as every effort contributes to the bigger goal.
Celebrating wins is essential to sustaining the work we do in the long run.
5. Have you expressed genuine gratitude?
There is no better way to end and start the year with gratitude. After accomplishing the things listed above, it's evident that there's a lot to be thankful for.
From the support from clients, partners, colleagues, friends and family, it is easy to find abundance from the communities built, from the experiences that have nurtured knowledge and growth.
Showing gratitude is essential and fosters a good sense of self, creates healthy relationships and creates better and stronger communities.
Here's to another amazing year! Let us know if you have more tips to add--we're eager to see how you wrap up your year and how you start a new one.