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The best way to plan for the future is to look at your past and do a life audit. Reflecting on what went well in the past year and what didn’t go as planned is going to help you when you start goal planning for the next year.
This post is going to walk you through my end of year life audit. Don’t worry it isn’t as complicated as it sounds. It’s really just a simple but thoughtful evaluation of how your year went.
Grab yourself a pen, some paper, and maybe a nice drink. Come to the process with an open mind and open heart and I promise it will be worth your time.
I’ll be answering the life audit with you as a way to guide you through this exercise.
What have been your wins for the year?
These wins don’t have to be huge. It’s okay if you didn’t cure cancer or end world hunger. In fact, most of your wins will seem small. But even the smallest wins can have a huge impact on your life
Even if you had a bad year, you have had wins. It just might take some additional time for you to think of them. Once you think of one, it opens the door and your list will grow.
My wins for the year are spending more time with my family despite having a busy schedule, putting travel on my schedule, and realizing I want to live a more intentional life.
None of those things are huge on their own. But for me, they are truly life-changing.
How have your goals gone?
Now that you have listed your wins, you are going to want to look at how well you did with your goals. Did you crush it this year by meeting all of your goals? Or were you not as successful in reaching your goals.
If you didn’t do well with your goals, this isn’t a time to berate yourself but a time of reflection. Why didn’t you reach your goal? Did you pick something unrealistic?
If you crushed your goals, you’ll want to look at what led to your success. Did you have a detailed plan? Or did a friend keep you accountable?
Last year when I was setting goals, I wanted to be less Type A and more go with the flow. So I decided to only pick a word and let it guide me for the year.
I chose the words wellness but I didn’t make a plan to improve my wellness. So I shouldn’t be surprised that I had the worst year with my mental and physical health.
I do so much better when I use my detailed goal planning method. So no more unstructured and vague goals for me.
What do you want to change?
So you have your wins, you’ve reflected on your goals, now you need to think about what you want to change. How can you make things better for next year?
Answering this question is the last step in the life audit process. It will help you sum up your audit but also lay the foundation for the goal-setting process.
This year I realized I have huge issues with stress and anxiety. I need to change how I manage my anxiety since it has a negative impact on me and my family.
I also want to change how I connect with people. I want to make more connections with like-minded creative entrepreneurs in real life. Having internet friends is nice but having in-person relationships are more rewarding for me.
What comes after the life audit?
Now that you have answered the life audit questions, you should have some detailed notes about your year. Use these answers to guide you through your goal-setting process.
By understanding what you value (wins), knowing what it takes for you to succeed (goal evaluation) and identifying areas that need improvement (changes you’d like to make) you are already on your way to a fulfilling new year.