The end of the year is a time of excitement and, for many, also a time of reflection. Personally, as the end of the year approaches, I am eager to make a fresh start, reflecting on what went well during this past year and looking ahead to what I hope to achieve next year.
For over 20 years, I have used the week between Christmas and New Year’s as my week of reflection, where I take time off work and plan for the next year. This is a time for me to assess both my professional life and my personal life and start the new year strong with a clear vision of what went well and what didn’t.
So how do I accomplish a concrete plan? Simply put, self-reflection. I ask myself the same questions year after year, write down my answers, and consider how they will impact the year to come.
- Am I using my time wisely every day?
- Am I taking anything or anyone for granted?
- Have I been living a healthy lifestyle?
- Have I been taking care of myself physically and mentally?
- Have I been letting things that are out of my control stress me out?
- Have I achieved the goals I set for myself last year?
- What am I thankful for?
- Who am I thankful for?
- What challenges did I face this year?
- What would I have done differently?
- What are my savings goals for next year?
- Do my beneficiaries need to be updated?
- Do I need to make any adjustments or contributions to my investments?
- View three credit reports and ensure the information is correct.
- Review all insurance policies and get a new declaration page with updated benefits information.
- Compile all tax documents and deductions for 2022. What information do I need for tax filing?
- What are the benefits of my credit cards? When do they expire? Do I have any reward offers?
- Evaluate spending for this past year and create a monthly expense list for the coming year.
- Do I expect to have any large purchases this year?
- Set up electronic filing for next year’s expenses.
- Update all passwords.
- Did I accomplish my business goals from last year?
- Gather and organize receipts.
- Reconcile business accounts and credit cards.
- Update vendor files.
- Back up computer(s) and cell phone.
- Are there any year-end purchases I can make for tax write-offs?
- Prepare any necessary 1099s to send.
- What are my accomplishments from this past year?
- What are my goals and visions for this next year?
This reset week is also the perfect time to reorganize and purge your space so you can start the year off completely organized. Start by gathering four boxes and marking each one: keep, donate, dispose, and shred. Then, go through each room in your home, take a quick inventory of items that are in the wrong spot or feel cluttered, and put each item in a box based on what you want to do with them This shouldn’t take more than an hour. At this point, now that the clutter is gone, it’s time to go deeper within each room.
- Go through your clothes and get rid of things you haven’t worn in the past year.
- Organize your kitchen and get rid of anything that is expired.
- Go through papers, and shred anything with protected health information on them.
- Get rid of documents, manuals, and warranties that are no longer needed.
- Go through your junk drawer(s). What can be thrown away?
When you complete the home purge, pack up the items to donate and take them to a donation center immediately. Also, make sure you get your donation slip to put with your tax documents for the year.
Resetting and reassessing these areas of your life is the perfect way to end the year and look ahead to the coming year. The holidays can be a busy time, so if you’re unable to tackle this checklist before the end of the year, January is the perfect month to set aside some time to reset, reflect, and prepare for the year.