Holistic Health & Wellness

Taking Stock: Your Past Year in Review and Planning for Your New Year Ahead

A new year. A time to take stock. 

Consider the content and meaning of your past year. 

What did you learn? What did you do? How did you live it?

Each year, at just this time, I sit with pen and journal, cup of tea and as much time as I can eke out, and answer the thought provoking questions found at the back of Sarah Susanka’s book “the not so big life: making room for what really matters.”

This annual process helps me to amalgamate my annual history and plan for my future year.

Take stock to determine that you are intentionally doing the things you want to do with your life. This is the time of year that you can spend time with your journal and consider the following questions.

Consider your past year:

  • How have I spent my time?
  • What are the results of the actions I have taken?
  • What events, realizations, and understanding have come into being?
  • What has inspired me?
  • What makes me grateful?
  • What were my sorrows and disappointments, and how have they changed me? 
  • What books have I read this year, and what impact have they had?
  • What movies and other entertainments have moved me, and in what ways?
  • What journeys have I taken?
  • What conditioned patterns have I recognized, and what experiences have allowed me to see them more clearly?

Then engage questions about your present: 

  • How am I different now from the way I was last year at this time?
  • How can I integrate the critical lessons of the past year into my life?
  • Are there any strategies, phrases, or questions that have particular significance for me right now? 
  • Are there any things I’m trying to force into existence right now? If so, what would happen if I stopped trying to make them happen?
  • To what part of myself am I giving birth?
  • What am I becoming?
  • Has my experience of time changed at all since last year? 

Then engage questions about your future:

  • Specifically, what is it that I wish to focus on in the coming year?
  • If I could sum up all my desires and longings in a straightforward statement spoken from the highest aspect of myself, what would it be?

Then I choose three words to focus my days (thanks Brendon Burchard) for each day of the year. I write these intention words on each daily journal entry and slip them into my iPod as a daily reminder too.

Consider the past, plan for the future, be present in the present. 

These questions help us to take stock of where we’ve been and help us plan where we’re going. When you’ve done this all, remember that living happens in the present. Practice being present.

Above all, we cannot afford not to live in the present.—Henry David Thoreau

May this be a useful jumping off point to a successful, satisfying 2020!


Teresa Wiedrick is eager to share the freedoms of the homeschool lifestyle with the skeptical, the intrigued, and the curious. Eleven years ago, she searched for arguments against homeschooling, and that search shifted her family’s next decade. She is a hearty advocate of home education, and encourages other homeschool families to live their charmed homeschool life, despite their challenges.

Yet, having homeschooled for more than eleven years, Teresa is very aware of the intensity and demandingness of this lifestyle. She has had much opportunity in honing her self-care practices and will soon release her book “Homeschool Mama Self-Care: Taking Care of Mama so she can Take Care of her Kids”.

She can be found on-line at Capturing the Charmed Life and on Instagram and on Twitter. She cannot be found on Snap Chat, because she is too old for that.

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