With 2019 nearing its end, it can be tempting to jump right in and start your 2020 goal setting. Exercise more, eat better, make more money, spend more time with friends, learn something new… If that sounds familiar, I want to share a simple exercise that’s helped me take a snapshot of the previous year and approach the new year’s goal setting with more focus, intention, and confidence.

Your 2020 goal setting should begin with investing some time to look back. Our past (the good AND the bad) sets the stage for our future. With that in mind, reflecting back on your 2019 is a great place to start when approaching the possibilities of 2020. To help myself do this, I developed a simple goal setting exercise with easy to answer questions to help kickstart my review of the past year. You can download it here: 



With anything, getting started is the first step. It can also be the most challenging. As you’re reflecting on the past year, what questions should you be asking yourself? What areas should you be paying attention to, and what really matters as you’re looking forward to setting your goals? Here are the six key areas I’ve focused on to help guide this annual check-in with myself…

  1. My snapshot begins with creating some essential awareness and the right mindset. To kickstart things, start by writing down 3-4 words that you would use to describe the past year. It’s a simple and effective way to prime your mind for some powerful reflection.
  2. Next, spend some time thinking through your accomplishments from the past year. Celebrate a little here. You don’t need to share this process with anyone, so feel free to brag a little bit. Where were your wins this year, and where did you experience the most depth in your life?
  3. Now, think about your strengths. Which ones were the most valuable to you over the past year as you’ve been chasing your goals and overcoming challenges?
  4. Over the past year, how and where did you grow personally? Was there a new skill that you learned or a struggle you experienced a breakthrough in? Did you make gains in a relationship or develop a new personal habit that changed your life? 
  5. Every year comes with valuable lessons. Before thinking ahead to your new goals, there is tremendous value in knowing which lessons you can carry with you from this year into the next. Which ones will you bring with you?
  6. The last place to address is the unfinished parts of your year. It’s very rare to end a year having accomplished everything you wanted. We get pushed off track, slowed down, and distracted by many things – the things that prevent us from creating depth in our lives. Taking an honest look back and naming the spots where you got stuck will help you keep from staying stuck next year.


The Takeaway

These are the six key areas I keep coming back to when creating a snapshot of my previous year before I start setting my annual goal setting. Once you’ve created your 2019 snapshot, you can begin to look ahead to the coming year and the new goals you want to work toward in 2020. Enjoy the process, celebrate your wins, and end this year well so you can start the next ready to go!