With just three days left in 2020, why not take time for a year end mindful review? Without a doubt many may prefer speeding towards 2021, never looking back. I understand that mentality given the unprecedented year about to close. Call me a hopeless optimist, but I believe 2020 offered us more than the negatives of a pandemic, racial tension and political drama. Regardless of what any year brings, a time of reflection provides reminders of good lessons learned, God’s faithfulness in trial and closure so that we can move on.
Welcome to Mindfulness Monday! Where we learn some easy ways to be more present “in the moment” at our jobs, in our homes, with our families and friends.
Learning to recognize God and what He has for us in each divine moment He offers. We acknowledge the belief that God is with us always.
We confess His presence is available to us, lifting our spirit and helping us with power and grace. Learning the art of “stillness” so we can hear His voice and view ourselves, others and our surroundings through His eyes.
Why do i need a year end review?
Taking the time for reflection at the end of the year offers you the opportunity for growth, gratitude and hope moving into a new year. So many of us do not transition well from one thing to another, leaving open loops and unfinished business behind us. Even daily, we often rush through our days, seldom taking time for reflection at the end of a busy day. We have no closure from what came before, but we move to the next activity, day or year.
Especially at the end of a difficult year like 2020, closure is crucial for enabling a good start to 2021. By performing a year end mindful review, you prevent hauling unwanted baggage into the next year. A year end review offers the opportunity of better understanding yourself, others and your circumstances.
what exactly is a year end mindful review?
A year end mindful review is simply a review process for the year, addressing specific areas of your life. This creates an “overview” of your life, and subsequently, allows you to directly impact how you think and feel. The end result is you cultivate wisdom, which plays out in wise actions.
This is a time of quiet reflection and evaluation of your current mindset, behaviors, spiritual habits and difficulties. Filtered through God’s Word with the help of mindfulness. A year end mindful review gives you insight to where you currently stand in the above mentioned areas. Providing opportunity to institute change and plan for the future year. Jesus reminded us in Luke 14:25-30, of the foolishness of a man who refuses wise assessment of his intentions. Jesus gave this example specifically regarding anyone’s desire to follow Him as a disciple. A year end mindful review helps us assess this very aspect of our lives from the previous year, and plan wisely for the new year ahead.
year end mindful review-the process
Accomplishing a year end mindful review can take as long or as brief a time slot as you choose. Depending on your personality, you can go deep with lots of analyzation, or stay in the shallows, no judgment here. The most important factor rests in how beneficial you find the practice. For some people, a brief review provides all the closure they need. For others a more intensive review helps them.
I recommend you make a date with yourself for the review, yes actually put it on your calendar. Whether you plan to briefly review or review in more detail, take it seriously and allow proper time. A journal comes in handy, and I will provide some downloadable worksheets.
Begin with a time of prayer using Psalm 139:23-24 as your guide. Seek the Lord as He reveals areas for gratitude and change. Then engage in at least five to ten minutes in a Mindful Check in, you can find instruction for this easy exercise HERE. I also recommend my Calming Techniques Guide for mindful breathing techniques and it’s FREE! Click below to get yours!
Begin With a Basic Overview
Creating an overview of your life provides the best beginning for your year end mindful review. Jot down the following life categories in your journal, and rate your satisfaction in each area with a number from 1-10, one indicating not satisfied, ten, very satisfied. Do this twice, once for how you felt at the beginning of 2020, and once for how you felt at the end of 2020.
- Spiritual Relationship and Growth
- Spouse/Significant Other
- Family and Friends
- Personal Growth
- Career (in the home or out of the home)
- Fun and Recreation
Try not to stay “in the middle”; the numbers 4,5,6,7 are “average” scores which doesn’t give you a clear enough view, nudge them one way or the other. Then answer the following questions:
- Comparing the beginning of the year with the end of the year, in which areas did you progress and in which did you decline? Why?
- Which one area do you want to focus on improving in the coming year?
Year End Review Analysis
Now that you have an overview, answer the following questions considering all of the categories as a whole, not separately.
- What are three of your biggest accomplishments in the past year?
- Which new things in your life are you proud of?
- What are three lessons you learned this past year?
- List any new skills or strengths you learned this past year
- What do you consider your biggest failures this past year?
- How did you grow personally through what you learned from your failures?
- List anything you feel is “unfinished”.
- If you could change anything from the past year, what would it be?
In Depth Analysis
At this point you can simply close out the current year and look forward to moving into the new year, if you simply want a brief year end review. Spend some time mindfully appreciating your discoveries, and if it suits you, set a few goals for the coming year. Close in a time of prayer thanking God for His faithfulness in the past year and looking forward to His goodness in the next year.
If you want to go a bit deeper, working through the following questions for each category will yield many more insights helping you gain a fuller perspective.
Spiritual relationship and growth
- List three things that stimulated your spiritual growth and three things that stunted your spiritual growth in the past year.
- What new things did you learn this past year about God?
- What is your attitude towards God’s Word? Does it refresh your soul? Do you eagerly study it?
- Are you more sensitive to sin, repenting and confessing quickly?
- Are you more focused on pleasing God or pleasing people? Why?
spouse significant other
- What are the three most positive things about your relationship right now?
- In the past year, which areas of your relationship have improved? Declined?
- How has the past year affected your ability to mesh your individual relationships with God as a couple? What needs improvement?
- During the past year, did any new area of conflict arise? What is your plan for resolution?
family and friends
- For both family and friends, list which relationships flourished in the past year and why. *Keep the friends category to close friendships.
- For both family and friends list the relationships you feel were neglected over the past year and why.
- Choose 1 family relationship and one friendship that you will invest more time in developing in the coming year.
- Consider any personal goals you set for yourself in 2020. List the goals you achieved, unmet goals, and any goals that you removed during the year.
- Which goals are you most pleased having achieved? Why?
- Look over the list of unmet goals and goals removed during 2020. Determine which goals you will continue to work on in 2021.
- Are there any areas you haven’t worked on, that you would like to work on in 2021?
- What achievements towards improved well-being are you most pleased with accomplishing in 2020? This would include healthy eating, exercise, self-care, emotional and mental well-being.
- Which one area do you feel needs improvement?
Career-In the home or outside the home
- List three of your most positive achievements this year in your profession or in the management of your home and family.
- Which three areas do you feel should be improved in 2021.
- List one thing you can do in your profession or in the management of your home and family to redeem your time for God’s Kingdom.
fun and recreation
- Did you allow enough space for activities you enjoy and times of relaxation in 2020?
- What was your biggest obstacle in achieving a balance of work, responsibilities and recreation?
- List any activities or opportunities for recreation you would like to include in 2021.
Concluding the year end MINDFUL review
Close out your time of reflection and evaluation in prayer. Thank God for His faithfulness throughout the year, His provision, and the things you learned about Him, yourself and others. Express your gratitude for all He revealed to you in this evaluation, and especially seek His help for any changes you listed for 2021. Allow five to ten minutes of quietness before the Lord, as you gently place your thoughts of the year 2020 into His hands for closure.
Then spend some time in anticipation of the coming year of 2021. As you sit quietly, add some mindful breathing and allow thoughts to arise about 2021. Don’t judge the thoughts as good or bad, simply “notice” them. Perhaps anxious or fearful thoughts may arise, gently commit those to God. I often visualize placing them in His hands, which relieves the trepidation. Thoughts of excitement, anticipation, determination and hope may arise. Likewise, gently place these in God’s capable hands. Completing your time with a prayer of faith and trust that as God walked with you in 2020, He will again walk with you in 2021.
The Blessing of the year end mindful review
Spending time in a year end mindful review offers the blessing of “hindsight”. We all perceive more clearly looking back than we do looking forward. Whether you choose a brief review or a more in depth review, both afford you the opportunity of seeing God’s hand throughout your life in the past year. Many times we cannot trace His hand in the moment, but upon reflection, He reveals His wondrous works on our behalf. I find this especially encouraging as I look back on trials, failures and losses and see God’s redeeming work in my life and the lives of others in the very things I thought were defeats.
Perhaps an even bigger blessing comes from the realization that God was faithful. Seeing His faithfulness in provision, presence and protection in 2020, ensures He will go before me into 2021. Because He is the same yesterday, today and forever He will provide, protect, and be with me no matter what I face in the coming year. He will continue to redeem everything for my good and His glory. Now I can move into the New Year, armed with the blessings of a time of remembrance and confidence in the unwavering faithfulness of God.
“Your Steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.”
Please see below for downloadable worksheets with the questions from the Brief Year End Mindful Review and the In Depth Year End Mindful Review.