book reviews / life aspirations / stuff that makes me think

taking stock: your past year in review & planning for your new year ahead

A new year. A time to take stock.

Consider the content and meaning of your past year.

What did you learn? What did you do? How did you live it?

Each year, at just this time, I sit with pen and journal, cup of tea and as much time as I can eke out, and answer the thought provoking questions found at the back of the book “the not so big life: making room for what really matters” by Sarah Susanka. This annual process helps me to conglomerate my annual history and plan for my future year.

You might remember Sarah Susanka’s book “the not so big house”, as I shared guiding principles that I used to plan and build our home. Previous (and highly engaged) posts found here:

But in Susanka’s book “the not so big life”, I get a chance to think through what matters. And what better time of the year to take stock then now?

Thinking about your past year:

  • How have I spent my time?
  • What are the results of the actions I have taken?
  • What events, realizations, and understanding have come into being?
  • What has inspired me?
  • What am I grateful for?
  • What were my sorrows and disappointments, and how have I been changed by them?
  • What books have I read this year, and what impact have they had?
  • What movies and other entertainments have moved m, and in what ways?
  • What journeys have I taken?
  • What conditioned patterns have I recognized, and what experiences have allowed me to see them more clearly?

Then engage questions about your present:

  • How am I different now from the way I was last year at this time?
  • How can I integrate the key lessons of the past year into my life?
  • Are there any strategies, phrases, questions or flags that have particular significance for me right now?
  • Are there any things I’m trying to force into existence right now? If so, what would happen if I stopped trying to make them happen?
  • To what part of myself am I giving birth?
  • What am I becoming?
  • Has my experience of time changed at all since last year?

Then engage questions about your future:

  • Specifically, what is it that I wish to focus on or experience in the coming year?
  • If I could sum up all my desires and longings in one simple statement spoken from the highest aspect of myself, what would it be?

Then I choose three words to focus my days (thanks Brendon Burchard) for each day of the year. I write these intention words on each daily journal entry and slip them into my iPod as a daily reminder too.

Despite these futuristic, planning intentions, we must remember that living happens in the present:

“Above all, we cannot afford not to live in the present.

He is blessed over all mortals who loses no moment of the passing life

in remembering the past.”

Henry David Thoreau

May this be a useful jumping off point to a successful, satisfying 2019!

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2 thoughts on “taking stock: your past year in review & planning for your new year ahead

  1. This is so awesome, thank you! Really excited to start up homeschooling after a huge Christmas break, preceded by Reno’s and decluttering…back to the books and back to learning! My fave new homeschool resource book is “Uncharted Territories: Adventures in Learning.” It is chalk full of highly engaging and flexible learning prompts.


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