Five Lessons from My Year End Review [Ep.05]

Five Lessons from My Year End Review

In today’s episode I’m sharing my process for my end-of-year review. You can do a review at any time, it doesn’t have to be at the end of December. There are some tools and things to consider that make it effective and I’m diving diving into those for you. Plus I share 12 great questions for you to use for your review and I open the curtain on my review and the lessons I learned.

In this episode, I’m sharing:

  • The value of completing an end-of-year review
  • The process, tools and questions you can use to do your own reflection
  • The five lessons I’m taking from this year into the next


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Action Takers

I’m hosting a training in the new year to help ambitious women take action on the projects and ideas that have been waiting for them.

Learn the number one real reason you haven’t taken action and how to get past your procrastination WITHOUT more time management or goal setting!) Because if you’re like most, you’ve tried these and they haven’t worked.

The training will be totally free and hosted online.  To be at the front of the line click the link below to get notified of the details and dates when you can register. 

Show Notes Episode 6

As we reach the end of the year it’s a great time to reflect and I love doing an end-of year review during the holidays. I love carving out time just for me and reflecting on the past year. It’s not the only time that you can do a year-in-review. January, after the holiday hub-bub is a good time to do a recap. Another great time is around your birthday, which can also be a dividing line from one period to the next.

The Value of a End of Year Review

I’ve been doing an end-of year review for the past several years  and every year they’ve looked different depending on what I needed from the process.

I find the end-of-year review to be a really nurturing, engaging, and enjoyable experience. It’s not an onerous task of recapping everything that took place over the last year. I give myself permission to enjoy the process and make it a delicious time to focus on my own growth and learnings and hope and what I want for me and my year ahead.

The value of an end-of-year review is to identify where you are in relation to where you want to be next. Just like if you are travelling and you want to get to one place and you’re in another, you have to identify where you are. That’s why when you see a map and there’s no “You Are Here” circle it takes longer and is more difficult to orient yourself and navigate to where to go next. The end-of-year review gives you a checkpoint to evaluate how you’re doing and what, if anything, needs adjusting.

The Process and Tools 

For my review I complete it as a written review at the beginning of my journal for the next year. It doesn’t have to be written, you could use a voice recorder app on your phone or Otter or even complete a mental review. For me, I find the things I write down stick in my brain better. I also love to look back at past reviews and see the trajectory and patterns in my life.

My suggestion is to carve out some space and time that is unrushed, that feels sacred and dedicate it to your reflection. Try not to squeeze it in the cracks between other activities during your day. Invite yourself to a space and time that is delicious – a favourite chair or a coffee shop or soaking in a hot bath and have a beverage of choice – a tea or a sweet treat and indulge in the reflection and what it will produce for you.

I carve out a few hours and sometimes I break it up over several days or weeks, because once I start asking myself some of these questions my mind continues to work on them even when I’m not conscious of it. If this is a new practice for you and you’re not in a habit of doing a lot of reflecting I would suggest starting with a simple review using a few questions and making it very simple.

Obviously, if you’re going to do a review that’s going to have you looking backwards. The tools that I use to help me remember and recall what has taken place over the past year are my photos, my calendar and my journal. Now, again I don’t need to remember everything I did everything I did for 365 days, simply an overall view of things that have happened, lessons learned, actions taken, projects started and finished. 

Why You Need More than Your Memory

Do not rely solely on your memory because it’s notoriously unreliable Your memory is more tuned to things that happened more recently, so what happened 10 months ago will be much harder to recall than 2 weeks ago and you want an overall picture of the entire year. Your memory will also offer up the really the extremes things more quickly – anything that was a high-high or a low-low will come to mind. But our lives are made up of much more that are in the middle of the bell curve – things that we planned, did and moved on from.

For example, when I did my review I was reminded of the new bikes that we got this year – which when they showed up was very exciting and I was delighted and we loved them, but currently they are out of season and it one of those things that was out of sight out of mind. When I went back through photos it was something that came back to the top and offered a different perspective – I had not thought that I was outside or active nearly as much as what the evidence showed, so that was a delightful surprise.

Your memory also offers up more negatives because those are more dangerous to you and your brain wants to keep those memories easily accessible so you don’t experience that again. Anything that didn’t turned out as planned or was a disappointment or painful will be much more quick to recall.  To compensate for that you may want to purposely seek out the positive and be on-the look out for the things that went well, the celebrations and wins that you experienced.

Create a Frame For Your Review

One thing I want you to know is that it is 100% in your power to decide the way you want to view and characterize this past year and ALSO how you want to view yourself and how you were over these past 12 months.

What do you want to be looking for as you do your review and reflect- that’s what you’ll find!

Your brain will search for answers to the questions you ask. Be mindful of the way you frame your questions – Your life is a reflection of the questions you ask. Want a better life, ask better questions. If you’re asking – why can’t I get my shit together? Why didn’t I get my shit together this year? You’ll come up with an answer (or many to that question) and it will reinforce some of the ideas you have about yourself. If you ask How did I grow this year? Likewise your brain will come up with answers for that. And the answers will fuel you forward or not. The responses will be encouraging and motivating or they’ll set you back and have you doubting yourself and shrinking away from what is really possible for you.

10 Great Questions to Start With

You can find lot of lists of questions for a end-of-year review on Google. I’m going to give you some of my favourites that can really shape and frame a great end-of year review in order to set up your next year well.

  1. What were the most meaningful and impactful elements of the last year?
  2. What am I most grateful for?
  3. What were the biggest wins from the year?
  4. What were the biggest challenges that I overcame?
  5. How did I rise from those challenges? And how did I change in the process?
  6. Who had the biggest positive impact on my life? Where, in which environments did I spend the most time?
  7. How did I spend my time and energy?
  8. What surprised me?
  9. What projects/ideas did I start, make progress on, complete or set aside? Are these still important or not?
  10. What are my biggest discoveries and learnings from the past year?

This is the part of the review that is the most valuable and where I’m going to dive into what I’ve learned and am taking into and building on in the next year.

The Five Lessons I Got from 2021 

Over the holidays I started leafing through my journal from the past year and what lessons that I learned as a result of this year, and I came up with 5 main ones that seemed to be the culmination.


The first lesson is that I ad to learn about failure and in fact I needed to redefine it. It turns out that at the end of this year I relate to failure in an entirely new way than I did at the beginning. Failure, for me, has lost all of it emotionality. I no longer have a fear of failure. I might have even said that failure no longer exist, but that sounds a little too much like toxic positivity. Instead I might say that failure exists and it holds no power over me.

I’ve come to realize that failure is a necessity of my growth and evolution. And in order to grow into a new space in my life I must fail to receive the lessons I need for my next chapter, my next evolution. I learned this lesson through the course of several disappointments events over the course of the year that I would have classified as failures and in retrospect have provided the lessons that fueled what I was capable of next


The second lesson I learned this year is about outcomes, and the outcomes I create are because of me and my actions. I’ve come to realize that I am 100% responsible for what I’ve created, in my life, my business – The good and the less than good. Taking responsibility for the results and outcomes that I have and that I don’t have has been a lesson from this year that I am excited to expand on as I take it into the next year.

This lesson has come from expanding my business and being further into my entrepreneurship journey, and supporting others as they grow in their business. It has become clear what outcomes are created and when they’re not – not because of hard work and effort, but taking responsibility and treating them like they are important.

Sharing without Worry

My third lesson, is not a brand new learning, but a lesson I’ve been refining the past few years and that is my ability to share myself and my ideas without worrying about what others will think. I began earlier in the year with my writing and later this year started this podcast.

While lots of people share online, not everyone is sharing new paradigms and perspectives that challenge the status quo. Or even sharing themselves and their voices in a full way and taking up space. Trust me when I tell you that it’s a vulnerable act and I’ve realized that not everyone is doing this. Now, this might sound like me tooting my own horn, and sure it is – my review gave me an opportunity to highlight what I am able to do at the end of this year that I wasn’t at the beginning and that is cause for celebration, it is cause for the tooting of horns.

This isn’t a brand new lesson to get over worrying about what people will think I didn’t wake up one day and create a podcast and start sharing, there have been stepping stones that have helped me build to this place, so that I could hone my skills and take the baby steps to reach this new space and broadcast these important ideas to support ambitious women.

And hell, if I don’t celebrate myself who will? Who else knows the transformation that I’ve gone through this year to be able to launch and share myself on a podcast? Don’t get me wrong – It’s still scary to share my thoughts and ideas with you in this way AND it doesn’t prevent me from being here in this arena any more.

Emotional Sophistication

Which leads me into lesson number four which is what I’m calling emotional sophistication because this was not a year of ups. I definitely had highs and some significant celebrations and wins. But not exclusively – I had some low lows and struggled with – significant disappointment and heartbreak that I had to learn to manage in new ways. Ways that supported me and what I want in the long-term.

This, again is not a brand new learning, it’s not to say that I was throwing temper tantrums at the beginning of the year. I learned a ton about what emotions are, how to think about emotions, and how my emotions feel and work not only in my body, but in my life.

Taking Action

And that leads me right into my fifth and final lesson, which is that I have to take action to learn and grow and create new things in my life, to create new circumstances. If I think I have to wait before I take action then I am creating the conditions for waiting. I learned I am more capable of taking action despite circumstances and taking action is critical to being able to move forward in my life with what I want. I saw in big ways how taking action creates new evidence of what’s possible for me and my future.

The clearest way that this lesson showed up this year was that I Raised multi six-figures to buy a business this year and the amount of self-doubt that I had to overcome. Things like “you’ve never done this before” and “How do you think you’re going to be able to do this?” and all the self questioning and self-doubt that came from my the fact that I’ve never done this before in my past, so I had no evidence that I can do it now. Every day I had to get up and take some kind of hard action, hard action, this wasn’t challenging labour, it was overcoming the self-doubt and overcoming my fear of what will happen. What if I can’t? What if it doesn’t work out? What if I’m not cut out for this?

I’m not into the fake it to you make it idea because I don’t know that I can fake it to myself. I know what’s true and the fact that I haven’t done it before and I can’t fake. For me it was having to acknowledge these valid concerns and fears and to take small incremental action any ways so that I could create something new. This is the lesson I’m most excited to take into the new year to see.

Overall, the lessons come together to create a picture for me and it’s a picture of courage. You know the only way that I would have been able to have a picture of courage was because things were challenging and not everything came out roses. It doesn’t take a lot of grit and gumption to keep taking steps forward when things are smooth and easy. Every year shows us new things and helps us see things in new ways if we take the time to look.

Looking Forward

Once I finish my review it sets me up to start to look forward and identifying what I want for the next year. I start by thinking about what I’ll be reviewing at the END of next year. So I jump to a year from now and look back to today and think about what I want to see in my journal, photos and calendar.

I come up with a theme for my year and several commitments that are the lines that keep me on the road. My commitments are how I want to feel and be as I go through the upcoming year and help me keep my intentions. From there I get granular and decide on several projects that will help me maintain my commitments and get to the end of the year with more new growth and lessons.

What’s Next

For the last few years I’ve been collecting and honing lessons and ideas and this year it’s time to collate those lessons and share them. I’m hosting a training to help you take action on the projects and ideas that have been waiting. This is going to be for women who have something they’ve been wanting to do and haven’t yet done. For those who say they’re not using their time the way they really want to or on the things that are important to them. They know this can’t wait any longer because this project or following through on this idea is going to make a difference for you, your family, your home, business, community. For many, it’s been on their to-do list for more than six months and the time management strategies or productivity hacks haven’t helped. If you’re feeling like a distracted multi-planner who has made plans but gets distracted and can’t follow through on them then I have a training coming up in the new year to help you.

It’s going to help ambitious women, like you take action on the ideas and projects they say the want to do…. but aren’t doing (WITHOUT more time management or goal setting!) because these haven’t worked. and it’s going to be totally free. If you want to be the first to know about the details about this upcoming training head over to 

I hope through this episode I’ve been able to illuminate the value that I get from doing a end-of-year review and I’ve shared the tools and questions you need and that you feel encouraged to do your own reflection and celebrate your growth and find the lessons that you can build on in the next year.


Hey! I’m Amanda Jane, host of More Ways.
As an alternative productivity enthusiast, I love helping people spend their time on what matters. 

It’s my passion for coaching and connecting that brought me to start a podcast, and I founded More Ways to help more creative, ambitious women like you, focus on progress and purpose.