Annual Reflections

My six-part annual review practice

Annual Reflections
Evening Calm by Paul Signac 1891

Hey friends,

I hope this message finds you all well and enjoying a peaceful break after the holiday madness. I know I'm still recovering from my annual food coma - anyone else? But seriously, I hope you're all taking some time to relax and recharge before the new year.

I'm a big believer in the power of reflection, self-improvement, and self-actualization. That's why at the end of each year, I like to take some time to reflect on the past year and set intentions for the new one. And since I know many of you are also looking for ways to grow and better yourselves, I wanted to share a little about my annual journalling process in this newsletter.

I first started annual journalling in 2016 by answering these five questions:

  1. What was your biggest failure(s) of the year and why do you consider it a failure?
  2. What was your biggest missed opportunity of the year and why did you miss it?
  3. What was something you deeply regretted and why?
  4. What was your best achievement and why?
  5. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

My annual journal has now developed into a six-part exercise, which I usually complete across a few days. It starts by systematically reviewing the past year and then reviewing learnings, making a life assessment, setting intentions, planning for the next year, and performing a freehand writing exercise. You can find the full template for my annual journal in Notion here.

Please note, the idea is not to answer every question in detail. Instead, I recommend you view my template as an á la carte menu designed to probe you to uncover any loose threads, develop lost ideas, reconnect with yourself, and gain deeper self-awareness and direction. If this feels unnecessary or like a waste of time, I'd recommend at least completing the five questions I noted above! I'm happy to say 2022 was the best year of my life, as were many of the preceding years. I'm confident that my annual journalling practice has played a role, and I truly hope you'll give it a shot!

Feel free to share any feedback with me on email or Twitter DM.