How to Remember 2014 and Plan for 2015


Welcome to the day after Christmas! Each year between Christmas and New Years I walk through a simple exercise to help me think through the past year and plan for the coming year.  I originally learned this exercise from David Allen, author of Getting Things Done, and have customized it over the years. My wife and I both walk through it, and I use it with those that I coach as well. Allocating an hour or two over the next week to walk through this exercise will help you to start the new year well.

2014 Annual Review

Questions to guide you in your 2014 review and 2015 goal setting.

Consider the following areas as you answer the following questions for 2014 and 2015:

  • Physical

  • Emotional

  • Spiritual
  • Service

  • Fun
  • Creativity
  • Recreation

Completing and Remembering 2014

  1. Review your list of all completed projects
  2. What was your biggest triumph in 2014?
  3. What was the smartest decision you made in 2014?
What one word best sums up and describes your 2014 experience?
  5. What was the greatest lesson you learned in 2014?
  6. What was the most loving service you performed in 2014?
What is your biggest piece of unfinished business in 2014?
  8. What were you most happy about completing in 2014?
  9. Who were the three people who had the greatest impact on your life in 2014?
  10. What was the biggest risk you took in 2014?
  11. What was the biggest surprise in 2014?
What important relationship improved the most in 2014?
  13. What compliment would you have liked to have received in 2014?
What compliment would you have liked to have given in 2014?
  15. What else do you need to do or say to be complete with 2014?

Related: A Simple Way to Organize Your Week

Planning for 2015

  1. What would you like to be your biggest triumph in 2015?
What advice would you like to give yourself in 2015?
  3. What is the major effort you are planning to improve your financial results in 2015?
  4. What would you be most happy about completing in 2015?
  5. What major indulgence are you willing to experience in 2015?
  6. What would you most like to change about yourself in 2015?
  7. What are you looking forward to learning in 2015?
  8. What do you think your biggest risk will be in 2015?
What about your work, are you most committed to changing and improving in 2015?
  10. What, personally, are you committed to changing and improving in 2015?
  11. What are three goals you have for 2015?
  12. What is one as yet undeveloped talent you are willing to explore in 2015?
What brings you the most joy and how are you going to do or have more of that in 2015?
Who or what, other than yourself, are you most committed to loving and serving in 2015?
  15. What one word would you like to have as your theme in 2015?

What would you add to this? Please comment and add your insight!

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Related: 5 things you absolutely must do to have a healthy marriage



Posted by Brian Howard

My focus is to help YOU move forward one step at a time. I write about church excellence, personal productivity, and family leadership. I coach leaders, start churches, and help organizations break growth barriers. My goal is to draw on this experience to help YOU move forward in life, leadership, and productivity.

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  3. Brian, I just found your site. Great stuff. I just went through the process above. One question about the categories you gave at the beginning. Were you suggesting that in basically every question you try to answer it as it relates to each category? Or were you simply saying to keep those categories in mind as you answer? Also, a question about goals. I’ve heard people say to only set between 3-5 goals. How does that work when you’re seeking to evaluate/improve your life from many different perspectives (work, family, neighbor, service, mission, health, church, etc)? When I finished your exercise, I had probably 15-20 major things I could turn into goals. Is it best to work on all of them, or just to know that they are there and pick the ones you want to focus on most? Thanks!


    1. Andy, thanks for your feedback! Regarding your first question, you are free to interpret this in either way. I tend to just keep those categories in mind rather than answering the questions for each category. The who exercise takes me about an hour. However, I also write an annual life plan that addresses various areas of growth. I will likely write a post on this next week. Regarding your second question, I suggest you choose 5-7 goals for 2014 and focus on those. In my coaching practice, I focus on helping leaders think this through and implement them. In light of your questions, I am considering addressing these in a post next week


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