How to Review Your Year

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well friends, we are in the midst of the last day of 2015! i get a similar feeling at this time of the year as we kiss one year goodbye and greet the next one. i am a huge fan of processing feelings/emotions/events/basically everything (once a social worker, always a social worker) so i find that in order to feel a sense of closure for one year, i need to process it.

so, how to review your year to prepare for the next? i have some handy-dandy questions for you to answer on your own and then with your spouse!

How to do a year end review

for me, this starts with reviewing photos (as we did with the top 15 photos in 2015 – there is still time to join us!). photos allow me to relieve the emotions and adventures captured so it helps me remember much of what has occurred in the past year. i mean, how else would you remember all of the amazing food you ate?!

after i’ve scrolled through photos, there are two parts of the processing process for me: the first part is done on my own and the second part is done with my husband.


these are a few of the questions i ask myself. this reflection is done when i’m alone, in a good mental space and sipping on something that makes me happy.

  • how fulfilled did i feel this year?
  • what do i want more of? (i use ‘the desire map‘ to pinpoint this)
  • what do i want less of?
  • am i living a life i am proud of? why or why not?
  • what will i not compromise on?

i lucked out and had a gorgeous environment for my processing this year! my husband gave a training in seattle, washington and we had a spectacular view so i answered these questions while he was out doing his training.

year end review


after the self-processing is done, my husband and i sit down and review our year together. these area  few of the questions we ask/answer.

  • what was the most surprising thing that happened this year?
  • what is one risk you wish you would have taken?
  • what is one thing you are most proud of this year?
  • what did you struggle with?
  • how could i have supported you more?

we team-processed over a glass of malbec and delicious food at purple in seattle, washington at the beginning of december! this happened to be the same restaurant we ventured to almost exactly 3 years ago as we were toying with the idea of becoming full-time entrepreneurs! it was a super romantic and dark setting, lovely for the ambiance and less helpful for photos.

Year end

i know this takes some mental planning to get in the zone of processing your year, so if you don’t feel like today is the right day, save this for another day this week. yes, we all know 2016 starts tomorrow but it’s not an “all-or-nothing” situation. if you do this on january 2nd or 4th, that’s okay!

How to do a year end review

after you’ve processed this year, now you can take that information and put together a plan to have more, less or a completely different new year! in order to move forward, you must acknowledge the past to have a clearer future.

previous posts that you might find helpful is how to pick a word of the year and how to set goals (even if you usually hate them).

i am always looking to add to my list of questions or ways others process their year. what do you do to close one year in order to start the next?


  1. Sheila

    December 31, 2015 at 10:32 am

    Hey Chelsea, This was a well-timed post. My family and I were just wondering how best to celebrate today and the coming year. I’ve jotted down some great ideas from your post. We will have new pictures on the wall, self and team processing, and maybe even each come up with our own word of the year. Thank you!

    • chelsea

      January 2, 2016 at 9:52 am

      i hope you and your family found the questions helpful and you have started off 2016 with a bang! love that you do this as a family, sheila! would love to hear your word of the year if one was developed! happy 2016!
      chelsea recently posted…How to Review Your Year

      • Sheila

        January 4, 2016 at 10:59 am

        The questions were a great tool for our New Year’s Eve discussion. Very thoughtful and helpful. Thanks and Happy New Year to you!

  2. Paula Howley

    December 31, 2015 at 5:31 pm

    I love processing the year too Chels- I started last night and will be continuing tonight. I even bought a pizza so I don’t have to cook dinner.

    I’m going over my journals of the last 2 years because I really need to observe my evolution, as difficult as this year has been. I read and take note of patterns, goals realized or completely changed, all that.

    My word this year is NOURISH. Last year it was Release and boy did I ever release. I mean, I had no fucking idea, you know? lol But I did.
    This year is going to be my year of Self-Care and nourishment in body, mind and spirit. I plan on being kind to myself- it might be the first time ever.
    I am happy.

    Good luck to you honey- and THANK YOU so much for my Christmas card! It came today- SUCH a lovely, wonderful surprise! (and you even remembered my ginger ale and chips! which btw, I’m having tonight- first time all Xmas- PAR TAY!!!)

    The New Wifestyle really came into it’s own this year and so did you. Congratulations you capable woman you! Can’t wait to see this year’s word!
    Paula Howley recently posted…Singing Bird from the Mosh Pit of Despair

    • chelsea

      January 2, 2016 at 11:09 am

      so glad you have been processing paula! that’s why we just GET each other 🙂 hope the pizza was delish.

      dang – nourish is SUCH a great word, paula! i have goosebumps for you. so glad you are focusing on self-care this year because it does sound like 2015 what an intense one. kindness to one’s self – so simple yet so hard to extend.

      thanks for your comment on TNW and ME coming into ourselves – it feels like that to me too and even more to come! xox

  3. Pingback: Why a 'Word Of The Year' is so Powerful • the new wifestyle

  4. Nina @ Hugs and Lattes

    January 4, 2016 at 11:02 am

    I love these questions! Just wrote them down to go through them with Pai on date night tonight. Tonight we are setting down and framing our goals & things we want to be this year. Something Pai and I did a few weeks ago was go over a list of questions I asked him when we first started dating. I love questions like these because it involves intentional conversation and self-reflection! Thanks for sharing. 🙂
    Nina @ Hugs and Lattes recently posted…Things to BE in 2016