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Why Bother Doing a Year In Review After All Nothing Happened?!

Rebecca Doing the Year in Review Exercise with KC
Rebecca and her husband, KC, had to drive a car across country last week.  To pass the time on the long and tedious journey, Rebecca forced her husband to go through the “Year in Review” exercise that we suggest for our clients.  This involves listing things that we accomplished and that impacted us the year before.

We Quickly Forget
When Rebecca asked to think about what he’d done in 2021, he said “not much.”  After all, like many of us,  he’d been privileged to be working from home and was still adhering to many of the restrictions that COVID has placed us under.  In addition, like many of us, he really couldn’t remember anything beyond a couple of weeks and, like many of us, he tends to minimize his accomplishments.

If Our Lives Didn’t Change Much Last Year It Can Feel Like “Nothing Happened”
Rebecca was not to be dissuaded.  The ride was long so she had plenty of time to grill KC.  Many things hadn’t really change much for him, even with COVID.  He’d actually been working remotely well before the lockdowns and he’s more naturally introverted so he didn’t miss socializing that much. Nevertheless, after going through all of the areas of his life (see a list below for categories that we suggest reviewing), not only was he surprised by how much he’d accomplished, but also that he had forgotten quite a few significant milestones.

KC’s Ounce of Gold

Off with the Hair/Out with the Sodas/And In for the Gold 
For example, he cut his hair which he’d been growing for two years during COVID (about 10 inches came off).  And because he recognized that he was spending too much time behind the computer indoors, he took up gold prospecting—yes, that is still a thing in parts of the country—and he actually managed to find almost a full ounce of gold out in the desert.  In addition, because he has a love of learning, he taught himself all of the ins-and -outs of cryptocurrency.  And another unexpected “event” in 2021—because of COVID, he stopped going out to lunch all the time and as a result almost completely stopped drinking sodas (he does occasionally sneak in a Monster).

Categories to Consider:
Here is a list of some of the areas that we went through in making KC’s list:

Professional Development
Role Changes
Company Changes

Debt management
Household Improvements
Major Purchases

Spiritual Development
Hobbies/Creative Projects

Medical Follow Ups

What Should Your List Include?
You might list things like your kids, any kind of civic, volunteer, or political activity you engaged in, etc.  Note that your list doesn’t have to be “positive”.  It can include things that negatively affected you like illness, setbacks, and/or losses.  You can also list things that didn’t happen directly to you but impacted others around you or the world in general.  We certainly know that plenty happened in 2021—what do you remember and what made a difference for better or worse in your life?

Why Bother Doing This Exercise
There are many reasons to do this exercise, stilted as it may be if at first we draw a blank when we try to think about what impacted us in the previous year.  The life we have lived but forgotten comes back to us.  It’s so easy to forget all of the many small and sometimes relatively mundane things that make up our experience and yet these are the very things that shape our life.

If you want a more thorough explanation of this exercise go to this link for a useful handout that not only explains it but helps walk you through the next step of making a vision board.

Positively yours, Rebecca and Gioia