How to Evaluate the Closing Year and Plan for the New Year

Reviewing the past and planning for the future are essential parts of getting things done and finding balance in our lives. Here’s a simple 3-steps-in-a-nutshell plan:

1. What did you accomplish this year?

2. What do you want to accomplish next year?

3. How will you make it happen?

And here’s a more thorough approach that I use and that I teach in my downloadable course, How Do You Do It All. (Use this coupon code for a $20 discount on the complete course: 7tools20)



1. Evaluate the closing year by reviewing your personal, family, business, and ministry activities and accomplishments.

If you have been keeping a weekly goals document, you can begin by cutting and pasting from it into an annual evaluation document. The main difference is that the weekly one is chronological (and more detailed), and the annual one is more topical.

If you don’t have a weekly goals record for this year, just review your calendar or any other records you have.

a. Personal – On this page include things like exercise, spiritual growth, hobbies, things you did just for fun (not including family activities), etc.

b. Family – Include family-wide activities such as field trips and travel, as well as a sub-category for each child’s major accomplishments and activities.

c. Business – Summarize your business activities for the year. The details will vary depending on your business, but you might include categories like sales figures, clients served (either number of clients or names of individual clients), projects completed, products created, speaking engagements, conferences attended, education (such as teleseminars and home study courses), etc.

d. Ministry or Charity – How have you given back? Have you served in your church, volunteered at a food bank, counseled a hurting friend, helped hurricane victims rebuild, etc.?

e. Reading – I cut and paste this from my ongoing list of books I’ve read. This might be overkill for some folks, but I like to see everything for the year in one place.

2. After completing the annual review document, compare it to your goals for the year to see how well you’ve stayed on track.

What goals did you reach? What fell through the cracks? Did your priorities change over the year?

If you didn’t write goals for the year, just assess how productive your year was and use the data to help set a direction for the following year.


1. Review your Big Dream. Has it changed? Do you need to add or subtract items? Use this long-term vision to help set your yearly goals.

2. Write down specific, measurable goals for the coming year in the following areas: personal, family, business, ministry. Aim for a balance between realistic and ambitious. Your goals should be do-able, but they should stretch you.

3. Mark your calendar and/or pocket date book for the year with birthdays, holidays, and any other date-specific events you have already planned, such as vacations or conferences. Remember to schedule time between Christmas and New Year’s Day for your next annual review and planning.

4. Review your annual goals on the first Sunday of each month to help you stay on track throughout the year.

5. Reserve half an hour a week (Sunday afternoons work well for most people) to review the previous week and plan specific goals for the week ahead.

This note is an excerpt from my home study course, How Do You Do It All: Balancing Family and Home Business in the Real World, which includes customizable planning forms. Available at

Use this coupon code for a $20 discount: 7tools20


Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *