These tips are focused on end of year review – but they can be applied to any time you want to step back and reflect on your situation.
The end of the year is fast approaching – why not take some time out to reflect on the year that was, before jumping into plans for the next?
This is great to do as an organisation or team but also personally. I find it helps not to rush this, so if you can, step out of the hurly burly and take some quiet time for yourself to get in a reflective mood. I also find that it’s good to suspend some judgement and just let myself notice what has happened in the past period and how I feel about it, without being too critical.
Here’s some different ways to approach end of year reflection…
Take some time by yourself, in a comfortable place, to write your responses to some prompts. Pick the ones that resonate from the list below, or add your own.
- Some of the things I did this year…
- My proudest achievement…
- The most fun I had this year… The time I felt most alive…
- A lot of the time this year I felt…
- My goals for this past year… (Personal or political)
- How I went pursuing or achieving goals…
- Things that happened and how they impacted me… (Big political shifts, environmental changes, movement developments, family issues etc)
- What people appreciated about me and my work this year… (What did they say? Keep a record as your own personal testimonial to help you remember).
- How I changed or grew this year… (What did you learn? What new skills do you have? What do you think differently about now?)
- My activism/work was supported by… (Who supported you this year? What opportunities did you access? What decisions did you make that enabled you?)
- How I was connected this year… (How have your networks developed? What relationships have deepened? What collective action were you part of?)
- What got hard this year…
- What I want for the new year… (What do you want to take with you from this year – or let go of? What attitude do you want to have?)
A bunch of these would also make good dinner conversation starters.
You can also use the Activist End of Year Review worksheet – just make a copy and fill it in with your responses to the prompts.
Art and metaphor
If you were to draw a picture to represent the past year what would it look like? What colours would you pick? Hard lines or soft? Crack out the pencils and crayons (and if you like art based activities you might appreciate these tips for managing anxiety).
The metaphor of a river can be rich for reflection. If the past year was a river how would it flow? Were there parts where the water trickled gently, and scary or exhilarating rapids? Forks in the river where you made a significant choice? Bends where you changed direction? Try drawing a river for your year.
If this year was a movie or a book what would it be called? Who would the characters be? What genre would it be? What would be the key dramatic moments or plot twists?
If you were to program a playlist to represent the year, what songs would feature, in what sequence?
Scrapbook your year! Take a page or spread for each month and paste in photos, media clippings, rally fliers, and whatever takes your fancy. Take inspiration from women’s suffrage scrapbooks and more recent feminist and queer scrapbooking, or go all-out and make a Radical Self Love Bible.
Do something intentional to mark the end of the year and the transition to the next one. Perhaps some time alone in nature. Say a prayer or do something else connected to your faith if you have one. You could pick a small object to represent what you cherish about the past year (or your hopes for the next) or buy yourself a present. Of course, there’s the big shared ritual of New Year’s Eve.
Do what works for you. I like to clean my desk and do a bunch of recycling, it’s therapeutic!