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Reviewing the Year: looking back, looking forward

Many of us have undertaken appraisals as part of our working life. No doubt some have found this more helpful than others. This may depend on the appraiser, the format and content of the appraisal as well as your own attitude. For many years I have found it’s a helpful practice to review all aspects of my life. I do this at the turn of the year. However, you could also do it:

  • As part of a thanksgiving evening or thanksgiving meal

  • Around the time of a birthday

  • At the start of new term or annual year at work


For some it may be helpful to do as a couple or with a spiritual friend. You may choose to use a journal or notebook, whilst others will find the rhythm of walking more helpful. Tailor it to your own preferences and situation and do it in the context of prayer. Try to keep it relatively simple.


Here are some questions you may choose to use or to adapt:


Looking back

  • What have been the joys and achievements of this past year or season?

  • What has been unexpected?

  • What have been the sadnesses and disappointments?

  • What am I particularly thankful for?

  • How have I grown in faith?

  • What lessons should I take with me into next year? Consider actions to repeat in the future and things to do differently next time…


Looking forward

What do I discern God may be calling me to in the coming year in the different areas of my life?

OR if you prefer: what are my priorities in the coming year?

  • Personal spiritual life and faith

  • Family and friends

  • Home and garden

  • Health

  • Finances including giving

  • Work

  • Church

  • Hobbies, interests and relaxation


What are the things I’m looking forward to? How can I make the best of them?


What are my anxieties about the coming year? How can I minimise the likelihood or impact of these?


What plans and actions do I need to start?


If you don’t already have one you might like to start considering a personal mission statement (see chapter 40 of Rick Warren’s “The Purpose Driven Life”.


Committing it to God

You may find it helpful to commit your thoughts and intended actions to God in a simple act. This might be a prayer, lighting a candle, summarising the way forward in a journal, painting or illustrating your thoughts. There will be many other creative possibilities.



       24-7 Prayer International | Lectio 365 (

  • The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren



 Author and copywrite Helen Calder 2020

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