Last year, on the first day of 2009, my wife and I made a “What Happened in 2008” list. We wrote down every significant event in our lives that we could think of from 2008 (birth of our second child, trips we took, major lessons God taught us, that hilarious night we’ll never forget, etc.). After making that list, we then began to talk, pray, and dream about 2009 and set some goals for 2009.
This year, we did the same thing. Today we wrote a 3 page “What Happened in 2009” list. We then asked ourselves some questions and did some praying and dreaming for 2010. We’re finding that this new tradition gives a great sense of cohesiveness, history, and focus to our life together. In the future I imagine it will be helpful to look back at these “what happened” lists and remind ourselves of how God was at work in our lives in the past.
I got this idea from productivity guru David Allen. If you’re wanting to do something like this, below is an excerpt from Allen’s latest newsletter that can help jump start your listing and thinking. We don’t use all of Allen’s prompts and questions, and we have added questions of our own, but we’ve found that many of Allen’s prompts and questions generate great discussion in bringing closure to the old year and focus to the new year.
…here are some questions that can guide you in your 2009 review and 2010 goal setting. When I go through these kinds of questions I like to consider my answers in several areas:
Fun / creativity / recreation
COMPLETING AND REMEMBERING 2009
Review the list of all completed projects
What was your biggest triumph in 2009?
What was the smartest decision you made in 2009?
What one word best sums up and describes your 2009 experience?
What was the greatest lesson you learned in 2009?
What was the most loving service you performed in 2009?
What is your biggest piece of unfinished business in 2009?
What are you most happy about completing in 2009?
Who were the three people that had the greatest impact on your life in 2009?
What was the biggest risk you took in 2009?
What was the biggest surprise in 2009?
What important relationship improved the most in 2009?
What compliment would you liked to have received in 2009?
What compliment would you liked to have given in 2009?
What else do you need to do or say to be complete with 2009?
CREATING THE NEW YEAR
What would you like to be your biggest triumph in 2010?
What advice would you like to give yourself in 2010?
What is the major effort you are planning to improve your financial results in 2010?
What would you be most happy about completing in 2010?
What major indulgence are you willing to experience in 2010?
What would you most like to change about yourself in 2010?
What are you looking forward to learning in 2010?
What do you think your biggest risk will be in 2010?
What about your work, are you most committed to changing and improving in 2010?
What is one as yet undeveloped talent you are willing to explore in 2010?
What brings you the most joy and how are you going to do or have more of that in 2010?
Who or what, other than yourself, are you most committed to loving and serving in 2010?
What one word would you like to have as your theme in 2010?