A Short End-Of-The-Year List To Spur Self-Improvement

A Short End-Of-The-Year List To Spur Self-Improvement

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2016 is coming to a close. After an eventful year, most of us are happy to see it go and are looking forward to the start of a new year.

Now you’re spending your time making New Year’s Resolutions and planning the steps you’re going to take to make 2017 a better year than the previous one. While looking forward and planning is great, looking back on the previous year can be an ideal way to help you close that particular chapter and be more positive and productive in the coming year.

Here are four questions you should ask yourself before you start writing down your resolutions:

1. What Lessons Did You Learn?

When you look back on 2016, the first thing you should think about is what lessons you learned throughout the year. They don’t have to be expansive lessons or life-changing epiphanies, but little lessons that have changed the way you look at life or the world. Lessons like being mindful, facing your fears or learning that your credit card isn’t worth the debt all count as noteworthy lessons you may have learned throughout the course of the year.

Start your end-of-the-year list by sitting down and reflecting on what you’ve learned throughout 2016. Dedicate some time to looking back over those lessons and thinking about how they’ve changed your life.

2. What Accomplishments Did You Achieve?

We’re all proud of the things we’ve accomplished throughout the year. When you look back on 2016, what accomplishments are you the proudest of?

Did you move to a new city, buy a house, get a promotion or land your dream job? Maybe you published your first book — or finally sat down to start writing it. Or maybe you started a business that finally had its first profitable year. Whatever your accomplishments during the past year have been, and instead of touting who you’ve done things for, take pride specifically with what you’ve accomplished.

Once you’ve had a chance to reflect on your accomplishments for your end-of-the-year list, ask yourself: How can I take these successes and use them to carry myself into 2017?

3. What Personal Growth Did You Experience?

How have you changed in the past year? This might be the hardest item on your list to quantify, mostly because you don’t often notice how you grow and change.

This item on your end-of-the-year list often requires a lot of self-reflection, but it can easily be the most important thing you do before the new year begins.

When you look back at the beginning of 2016, how have you changed? Did you stop letting the little things bother you, or did you learn to take pride in your accomplishments?

There’s not a lot of advice to give on this particular point because how you discover your personal growth is entirely up to you. However, it is probably the best thing you can do to start off your new year on the right foot.

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4. What Progress Did You Make Toward Your Goals?

Setting goals is a big part of our daily life, and long-term goals are often spread out over months or years. If you have long-term goals, what progress did you make toward their completion? Even if you’ve only taken a couple of small steps toward your end-game, you’re closer than you were at the beginning of the year, and that’s something to be proud of.

Look back at the steps you’ve taken during the year and reflect on the progress you’ve made. Once you’ve done that, you’ll have a good foundation for the steps you need to take to continue your progress in the coming year.

They say hindsight is 20/20, and sometimes you need that perfect vision to see where you’ve come from so you’re able to better predict where you need to be in the coming year. Take the time to write your end-of-the-year list before you start choosing your resolutions for 2017, and you’ll set yourself up for a much more productive and positive year.


  1. Each year I make the same resolution: to be a better person than I was last year. It works!

  2. Good encouraging article. Thanks. Best thing I have done over the years is to write my goals and objectives down and place the list in the front of my diary. I then review my progress and tick off, comment on each throughout the year. Now, I’m retired that has not changed, I continue to make new challenges for myself. One big challenge this year is to get one of my grand daughters a paying job, in a near recession. Now, how hard could that be when she only scrapped though year 12 and failed several CIT units?

  3. Why does that remind me of the following pattern?

    decrease service
    decrease cost
    increase profits

    increase competitors
    decrease prices
    decrease profits

    decrease service further
    decrease costumer base
    cry for the moon

  4. Where self-service represents a genuine efficiency gain, then great. However it often on the contrary just means externalising costs onto the consumer. Say it takes twice as long to get something done through a voice recognition based telephone swiching system than if you were dealing with a customer service person (which is probably conservative, especially as the user interface design is usually poor). This means we are at “break even” if the customer and the customer service persons time has the same dollar per hour value. This is of course assuming that the voice switching system is free, whereas in fact this kind of tech is pricey. However customer service is a low-skill low-pay occupation (espcially if the call centre is in Mumbai), so the average customer’s time is worth more. Once the cost of the self-service equipment is taken into account the deal looks even worse. It may look good to the company though -after all they are not paying for the consumer’s time (although the comsumer’s employer is paying if they are calling from work). Hence we have once more instance of market failure resulting from companies externalising costs onto the public. IMHO customers should demand a choice, and should additionally demand some benifit (discount, credit, etc.) for giving up their valuable time to help the bottom line of the buisness they are dealing with. Meanwhile, pity the poor souls with thick accents trying so negotiate the average voice user interface system! Also, why does my local supermarket’s system always interpret my using a non-standard weight re-usable bag as an attempt at theft?