Dec 17

1 thing you should do to end the year well and make next year even better

Do you want to make next year your best year yet? The end of the year provides an excellent opportunity to look back over the past twelve months as well as to look forward with hope for the new year. However, too many of us tend to try not to look back too much, and just hope forward. If we fail to look backwards, we are likely to miss out on some vital life lessons and miss making next year the best year yet.

review the year

It is so easy to miss what God has been doing in our lives and our ministry. To just hope, almost naively, that next year will just be better or will automatically build on what has gone on this year. Actually, we need to plan for growth and for new opportunities.

Planning needs to always start with reflecting on what has gone on previously and the end of the year is a great, natural opportunity to do this. If we look back on the last twelve months and prayerfully consider the highs and lows of the year, the times where we felt God’s blessing and leading, the frustrations and missed opportunities, we can start to see where we must focus our time and energy as we go into the new year.

Here are 5 useful questions to ask yourself as you review the last year.

 1. What things are you most proud of from the last year?

This may be a particular session that went well or implementing a new youth service or significant times walking alongside a teenager or a leader. What are the things where you look back and think that was worth doing?

 2. What things have brought disappointment to you over the last year?

This may be things you tried which didn’t work, failed outreach events, struggles with leaders, things you hoped to have developed but didn’t manage to achieve.

 3. What were missed opportunities?

These are the things that at the start of the year you hoped you might have achieved but just didn’t get round to doing. Maybe this is a particular short course you wanted to run, signing up for a leadership development course, not reading more youth leadership books, not investing more in your team.

 4. Where did God surprise you this year?

Where did God surpass himself over the last year? When did you feel his blessing the most? What times did you feel closest to him and working truly in partnership with him? How did you feel when you were in these times?

 5. What are the lessons you need to learn from the last year?

This may be that you’ve learnt that you can’t lead on your own, or that if you don’t take time to plan, so much doesn’t happen. It might be that you’ve seen significant improvement in your team because you’ve allowed them to be more involved in leading and planning.

At the end of the year it is so tempting to just stop, without giving any space to look back but I guarantee you will enjoy your time off more if you have found 30 minutes to an hour to look back and to write down your answers to these five questions.

 So here’s the challenge to you. Can you find 30-60 minutes to find a quiet place on your own to review the last year? Go on, perhaps take yourself to your favourite coffee shop, order a large latte and write down your thoughts and answers to these questions, and take time to thank and praise God for his continued faithfulness and direction in your life and your ministry. I guarantee it will be time well spent.

If you want to find more ideas for how to plan strategically for next year, take a look at our Strategy and Vision pages and links.