How to Review Your Year (Free Year-end Review Printable)

How to Review Your Year (Free Year-end Review Printable)

Table of Contents

As the year draws to a close, it's a moment to pause and reflect, a time to be both selective in our recollections and aspirational for the future. Hemlock & Oak's Year-end Review worksheet offers an effortless and structured way to capture these reflections. Here's why engaging with each section is not just a ritual, but a powerful tool for personal growth.

Cherishing Memories

What Five Memories do you Want to Cherish?
Our memories are the tapestries of our experiences. Reflecting on them is crucial for appreciating life's journey. Studies suggest that savoring positive memories can boost our mood and increase happiness.

For example:

  • Recalling a spontaneous road trip
  • The completion of a long-term project
  • The laughter shared during family dinners
  • A quiet moment to yourself on a walk 
  • An event that resonated with you


Expressing Gratitude

Reflecting on who or what we are grateful for enriches our lives with a sense of contentment and connection. Gratitude, as a fundamental aspect of psychological health, has the power to transform our perspective, enhancing our relationships and overall happiness. It encourages us to recognize and appreciate the positive aspects of our lives, even in the midst of challenges.

Here are some examples that might help you think of who or what you are grateful for:

  • Personal Relationships:
    • The unwavering support of a close friend during tough times.
    • Family members who provided love and laughter, enriching your everyday experiences.

  • Opportunities and Experiences:
    • A new job or educational opportunity that brought growth and learning.
    • Engaging in a hobby or activity that brought unexpected joy and fulfillment.

  • Simple Pleasures and Moments of Peace:
    • The tranquility of morning solitude that offered a calm start to the day.
    • Nature's beauty experienced during walks or quiet moments outdoors.

Acknowledging these elements of gratitude helps cultivate a more positive and refreshed outlook on life. It strengthens our relationships and builds a foundation of positivity, allowing us to approach future challenges with a balanced and appreciative mindset.


Reviewing Challenges

Setbacks are an inevitable part of life, but how we respond to them can make all the difference.  Reflecting on the year's challenges during a year-end review is a deeply transformative exercise that holds the key to personal empowerment and growth. It is an essential practice for fostering resilience, as it encourages us to confront our experiences head-on and extract wisdom from adversity.

By reflecting on our challenges, we learn to adapt emotionally to crises, protect against the harmful effects of stress, and build self-confidence. This reflection enables us to maintain a healthy outlook, even in the face of life's inevitable storms. This promotes overall mental wellness and readiness for future challenges​ [1].​

Ask yourself what challenges you faced. They can be specific (an incident at work) or vague (burnout and fatigue). 

For example:

  • Challenge: Burnout
  • Growth: Recognizing the need for balance and self-care.
  • Lesson: Self-care is essential for sustainability in our personal and professional lives. It's about making an effort to maintain our mental and physical health, which in turn resets my ability to contribute meaningfully to our pursuits and passions.

How have I Changed in the Last Year?
Personal evolution is often a subtle and sustainable process. You might notice a renewed confidence in your abilities, a more mindful approach to consumption, or a refined perspective on what truly matters.

What did I like about this year?
Acknowledging the positive aspects of the year helps us to identify what brings us fulfillment. Enjoying the success of a well-received project, the habit of regular exercise, or the simple joy of reading every evening are aspects that add to our quality of life.

What didn't I like about this year?
It's equally important to recognize what didn't resonate with us. Whether it was the stress from overcommitment, the discomfort of a stagnant routine, or the frustration with a particular habit, acknowledging these feelings is the first step towards change.

Celebrating Achievements

At the year's end, it's easy to dwell on the unachieved goals or the things we wish to improve. However, such a narrow focus can often spiral into self-criticism, overshadowing the many positive aspects of our lives. A healthier approach is to acknowledge and celebrate our victories and joys, no matter their size, which helps us foster a positive self-image and appreciation for our lives.

What are you proud of? 

Recognizing our own achievements is essential for nurturing self-respect and motivation. However, achievements do not necessarily equate to status-goals. Instead, the things that make us feel proud tend to come from our personal values.

Ask yourself what made you proud from the last year.

For example:

  • Making sustainable choices like reducing plastic use or biking to work
  • Providing support to friends through difficult times
  • Dedicating time to personal development or therapy 

Each of these achievements, whether they're actions for the greater good, gestures of kindness, or steps toward self-improvement, contribute significantly to our sense of self-worth and purpose.

What brought You Joy? 
Joy often finds us in the simplest moments, and its recollection can illuminate our overall outlook on life. It could be the spontaneous laughter shared with friends, the sense of accomplishment after organizing a cluttered space, or the tranquil moments of early morning when the world is quiet and the coffee is just right. Joy can also come from creative expression, like painting or writing, or the rush of endorphins after a rejuvenating jog. Reflecting on these joyful occurrences reminds us to cherish and seek out what truly makes us happy.

By putting a spotlight on what we're proud of and what brought us joy, we set the stage for a positive and fulfilling reflection, allowing us to step into the new year with an uplifted spirit and renewed confidence.

How did you practice self-compassion? 
In a world that often stresses achievement and productivity, practicing self-compassion is a refreshing act of self-care that can have profound effects on our overall well-being. Self-compassion means offering ourselves the same kindness and understanding that we'd extend to a good friend. It's about recognizing our shared humanity, understanding that everyone makes mistakes, and treating ourselves with gentleness during challenging times.

Reflect on how you've practiced self-compassion over the past year.

For example:

  • Allowed yourself to take guilt-free breaks, understanding that rest is not idleness but a necessary part of productivity and creativity.
  • Spoke to yourself with kindness and encouragement during setbacks, replacing self-criticism with supportive self-talk.
  • Engaged in activities that nourish your soul, such as meditation, walks in nature, or enjoying your favorite hobbies, acknowledging that these moments are just as important as work-related achievements.
These acts of self-compassion reinforce the idea that our worth is not solely tied to our output. By fostering a compassionate inner dialogue and treating ourselves with respect, we lay the foundation for a more supportive and fulfilling relationship with ourselves.

Recognize Three Positive Things about Yourself
Acknowledging our intrinsic qualities is a powerful affirmation of our individuality and self-worth. Reflecting on the positive traits we've demonstrated over the past year helps to solidify our understanding of who we are and what we are capable of, which can help grow our self-confidence.

Consider three positive aspects of yourself that stood out this past year.

For example:

  • Your resilience in the face of adversity that happened during the year
  • Your kindness towards others, even when you were not feeling your best
  • A flair for creativity that manifested in new hobbies
  • Innovative problem-solving at work
  • Keeping in contact with friends and family 
  • Staying true to yourself even when you were challenged 
Each of the qualities that you list reflects a facet of your character that you have cultivated. And don't worry, this is not about self-aggrandizement: it's about honoring the growth you've experienced and the strengths you've honed.

Reviewing Values and Intentions

As we approach the new year, it's a time to reflect on the core values we wish to embody and the intentions that will guide our actions. This isn't about setting resolutions that are easily broken, but rather about grounding ourselves in values that resonate deeply with our sense of self and aligning our goals with these principles.

Consider these questions for the upcoming year:

  • What values are most important to me?
    • Mindfulness: Intending to live more in the present, engage fully with the task at hand, and appreciate the current moment.
    • Empathy: Aiming to understand and share the feelings of others, to strengthen personal and professional relationships.
    • Integrity: Committing to honesty and strong moral principles in all aspects of life.

  • How can I live these values through my intentions?
    • Incorporating daily meditation or journaling for mindfulness.
    • Practicing active listening and being present in conversations to foster empathy.
    • Making choices that reflect my true beliefs and standing by them, even when it's challenging, to uphold integrity.

By clearly defining our values and setting related intentions, we create a roadmap for the year that not only outlines what we aim to achieve but also illustrates who we aspire to be. This thoughtful approach ensures our actions are infused with purpose and meaning, setting the stage for a fulfilling and intentional new year.

Reflecting on Boundaries

Assessing our boundaries is a crucial step in maintaining balance and respect in our lives. It involves recognizing where we might have allowed our limits to be overlooked or neglected in the past year and setting firmer, healthier boundaries for the new year.

  • What boundaries did I let slip last year?
    • Personal Time: Perhaps you often worked late hours, encroaching on your personal or family time.
    • Emotional Space: Maybe you found yourself consistently overextending emotionally in relationships or situations.
    • Digital Detachment: It's possible you struggled to disconnect from digital devices, impacting your mental well-being.

  • What new boundaries will I set for myself?
    • Prioritizing 'me' time: Setting specific hours for work and dedicating the rest to personal care and family.
    • Emotional Boundaries: Learning to say 'no' or stepping back when situations demand more emotional energy than you can or want to provide.
    • Digital Well-being: Implementing a digital curfew each evening or designated tech-free times to promote mental health.

Reflecting on and resetting our boundaries helps us reclaim control over our time and emotional energy. By setting clear and respectful limits, we create a healthier, more balanced life, allowing us to thrive both personally and professionally.

Narrowing it Down

The question, "If I could only do one thing in the new year, what would it be?" invites us to hone in on what truly matters most. It's about pinpointing that one goal or aspiration that stands above all others, reflecting our deepest desires and priorities. This focused approach simplifies our intentions, clearing the clutter of numerous resolutions to reveal what genuinely resonates with our core values.

For example:

  • Committing to a Sustainable Lifestyle:

    • Perhaps this is the year you decide to significantly reduce your carbon footprint, an effort that might include adopting a plant-based diet, minimizing waste, or choosing eco-friendly transportation methods.
  • Nurturing a Supportive Relationship:

    • This could involve deepening a bond with a family member or friend, dedicating time and energy to improve communication, understanding, and shared experiences.
  • Pursuing a Long-Held Dream:

    • Maybe there's a personal ambition you've shelved for years, like writing a book, starting a business, or traveling to a dream destination.

This singular focus can be incredibly powerful, providing a clear direction for the year and helping to align our daily actions with our most profound intention. It's about selecting one path that feels most vital and fulfilling, ensuring that our energies are concentrated on something that truly matters to us, promising a year of meaningful pursuit and personal growth.

Download the Free Year-end Review

Take a step towards a more mindful, refreshed, and intentional year ahead. When you sign up, we will send you the download as well as other marketing emails related to our products, ethos, and company. However, you are welcome to unsubscribe at any time. 

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