New Year Reflection Guidance
Including a link to a Google Sheet template for structured reflecting
Happy New Year! According to Larry David, we have three days to keep saying this to one another. So, here it goes again: Happy New Year!
If you’re like me and subscribe to personal development newsletters at the rate my dog eats his breakfast (very fast), I am sure you have been receiving several e-mails per day for the past two weeks with ideas for how to reflect on the previous year and set intentions for the new year. I’m hoping this newsletter will be a bit different, and also useful and practical. Below is a link to the template that I created for my new year reflections and intention setting. I started using Notion to do this in 2020, but transferred the template to Google Sheets to make it more accessible and easier to visualize all years together (and though I am obsessed with Notion, I admit that I am no Notion magician, so Google Sheets was easier for me).
Here is the link to the Life Edit Reflection Template.
Note: Please copy this sheet to your own Google Drive rather than make edits directly on the shared sheet.
So, there are two tabs in this Google Sheet…
Tab 1: Life Edit
In Column A, I include various segments of my life that I like to reflect on, but you are free to change these categories to whatever best suits your life.
In Row 1, I include categories of reflection: What is working in this area of my life? What is not working? What do I want more of in this area? What do I want less of? What are my action steps / plan?
I also include in row 1, a space to reflect on your progress in the middle of the year. I already put time on my calendar for the beginning of July 2023 to do this mid-year check-in.
This is my third year of doing this reflection and it is pretty interesting to review what I wrote this time last year. I’ve included the heading for 2023 to 2024 reflections so you can see how I break this sheet up year by year.
I’ve included my reflections on “self-care” for this year just as an example. You can simply delete my entry once you copy the sheet over to your own drive. Hopefully this is helpful. Again, this is just for you, so reflect intuitively in whatever way feels best for you and your life.
I have a history of struggling with my relationship with food and exercise, which is why I include “eating” and “movement” on there.
I also have a history of struggling with knowing my own style, which is why I include “wardrobe / look.”
“People” is meant to refer to my social life and relationships with family and friends, whereas “partnership” (for me) refers to my relationship with my husband. Feel free to change the wording on these or make them mean something more fitting — maybe partnership means your business partner, maybe you include a separate category for family or friends, maybe you include dating or romantic relationships more generally.
“Emotional Strategy” refers to how I respond to emotional situations. What are my emotional strategies?
An example from this year of what is not working under “entertainment” is pressuring myself to focus on prioritizing reading non-fiction books.
“Work” also includes career more generally.
Take your time in these reflections and try to be honest with yourself, but also compassionate.
Tab 2: Reflection Questions
This tab includes some additional questions that I like to reflect on each year. With these, I write my answers by hand in my journal without electronic distractions because I like the feeling of pen to paper.
This is where I set my “intentions” for the new year. I am not the biggest fan of “resolutions” because they feel too rigid for me (and one of my intentions each year is always to embody freedom and be less rigid…more on that in another post). This year, my intentions are to enjoy life day-to-day, do things for the purpose of experiencing rather than achieving, to take care of my body, and to meditate or practice breathwork daily.
While reflecting on these questions, please remember to be kind to yourself. Noticing where you may have fallen short does not mean that you’ve failed. This is an opportunity for intentional growth. Remember, you are a human and perfection is a fallacy.
Anyway, I hope this is a useful exercise. I would love if you would forward this to anyone who you think would also find this useful. And please share your experience with me — I would love to hear how this went for you!
Here is how my night last night ended…