For greater than a decade, every year, I’ve been assembly with two pals to do a “look again/look ahead” train.

Typically we break this train into two conferences; this yr, we did each elements in the identical assembly.

How will we conduct this “look again/look ahead” train?

  • Meet in particular person, if doable
  • Have a pad of fine paper and good markers at hand
  • Deliver look again/look ahead pages from earlier years

I discover this train terribly priceless, but when I’m being sincere, I don’t assume I’d do it by myself. It takes a number of hours, a whole lot of onerous considering and soul-searching; I’m unsure I’d carve out the time to do it yr after yr if I wasn’t doing it with pals. Accountability!

As a result of the three of us do it collectively, we don’t neglect to do it, and we find time for it. Additionally, we take time to speak about our insights and observations, about ourselves and one another. That dialog can also be extraordinarily priceless.

Every of us does this train barely in a different way, so I’ll describe how I do it.

As an illustration, I take advantage of this train to discover my work life. I be aware essential private milestones, however for context, quite than to carefully observe what occurred.

Look Again at 2023

To do the “look again,” to jog my reminiscence, I reviewed my “23 for 23” listing and my digital calendar.

On one web page of fine paper, in separate bins, I famous:

  • My one-word theme for the yr: for 2023, “Wave”
  • My annual problem: #GoOutside23in23
  • Private milestones: resembling celebrating my in-laws’ anniversary, giving the graduation handle for my daughter’s high-school commencement, jury obligation, Justice O’Connor’s demise
  • Journey: each private and work, together with holidays and conferences

Most of my entries are associated to artistic initiatives I’ve labored on, in order that they every have their very own field; for example:

A few of my bins are extra idiosyncratic, for example:

  • Didn’t work: I famous issues that didn’t work out, or that failed altogether; for example, I attempted to determine an thought for an audio-book from my materials, and haven’t cracked that but
  • Realized: I made a listing of issues I noticed; for example, I noticed that going to conferences could be very helpful for me, and must be extra of a precedence; I additionally realized that I wish to spend extra time studying social media (sure, extra)

On the finish of the “look again” half of this train, I at all times say, “Wow, I can’t imagine all the things that occurred this yr.”

Creating this type of “ta-da” listing is basically priceless. I’ve discovered that I can change into very targeted on all the things that I wish to do sooner or later, or on the issues that I’ve been struggling to perform.

I get very energized by reminding myself of all of the issues I have executed.

Look Ahead to 2024

No shock, my “look ahead” is much less particular and extra aspirational.

For 2024, on one other web page of fine paper, I included all the key classes that I used to “look again”—additionally my one-word theme of “Revisited” and problem of #Write24in24—in addition to classes resembling:

  • Anniversaries: 2024 marks a milestone date for my marriage, my youngsters’s literature studying teams, and The Happiness Undertaking e book
  • Paperback: the paperback of Life in 5 Senses
  • Adventures: My “24 for twenty-four” listing consists of “Go on 2+4 adventures” so I’ve a field with doable adventures
  • Admonitions: I wrote sure phrases in huge letters, resembling GROW ALL and CONVENE and WATERCOLOR
  • Main to-dos: I listed objects resembling “Replace my workplace” “New product”
  • Huge Objectives: for example, doing one thing for TV, writing sometimes for outdoor shops, image e book
  • Secrets and techniques of Maturity: I wish to make progress on this subsequent huge e book mission

Simply because the “look again” helps remind me of what I’ve completed within the earlier yr, the “look ahead” helps me articulate what I wish to accomplish within the new yr.

Placing all of it on one web page, within the briefest doable kind, retains this train manageable. It additionally means it’s straightforward to maintain a file useful of all of the earlier years’ sheets.

I’m struck by how typically a theme will repeat yr after yr earlier than it lastly will get resolved; however, generally a theme that appeared necessary at one level will vanish.

These pages give me an actual feeling of each continuity and alter—in my pursuits, values, strengths, and weaknesses.

How do you look again and look ahead in your work life?

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