By Leo Babauta
Every year, I like to close the year by reflecting on my past year. I find it to deepen the learning I’ve made, plus it makes me more appreciative of the power of a year.
I reflected a bit on my past year in this post, but before that, I spent about an hour writing a journal entry on 2015.
It was a great practice. To really reflect on the year, I had to remember everything about the year. Here’s how I did it:
- I went through my travel in my Tripit account, making a list of all my trips. You might store your trip information in email or some other place, so you’ll probably want to do a travel search in that area.
- I looked through the files on my computer that were created in the last year. On a Mac, you go to the “All My Files” view and it’s sorted by date last opened. This gives me an idea of what I might have been working on.
- I reviewed my Amazon orders for 2015. This was interesting to see different books I’ve purchased, different interests (OK, obsessions) I’ve had over the year.
- I scanned my credit card statements, to look at any interesting purchases that stood out.
- I looked over journal entries, Google Docs and notes (using Evernote or Apple’s Notes program). This showed me various notes or things I’ve been working on.
All of this showed me what I’ve been working on, what I’ve been obsessed about, what I’ve been learning, what I’ve read, where I’ve gone, who I spent time with. As I looked over all of this, I took notes if something struck me as noteworthy. You don’t have to go through as much data, but it’s interesting.
Then I wrote up a journal entry on all of it, and reflected on what this year has been like for me. It helped me deepen my learning that seemed sporadic and unconnected until I reflected back on all of it.
This practice helped me to see what I’ve done over the last year, and it kind of amazes me. I would never have guessed that I’d have done all of that, I didn’t plan it, it just ended up being what I was moved to do.
I also was able to see how I’ve changed over the last year. In small steps, I’ve become a different person. The Leo from a year ago would want to be friends with me, I think.
I highly recommend this year-end practice, as a way to close out the year and say goodbye to all that you’ve been through.