Your Year in Review: How to make 2021 outstanding (before you forget!)

Dec 21, 2020

And — it’s a wrap!

We’re counting down the final days to Christmas and close of this unforgettable year. I want to say congratulations. You did it!

I’m sure the last 12 months have had a lasting impact on your professional life and personal priorities.

Looking back on 2020, you’re fulfilled and grateful for the many lessons and successes. Or it may have been a challenging year filled with plenty of learning and growth.

For me, 2020 had moments of appreciation, frustration, satisfaction and disappointment. At times I felt isolated — and others, more connected than ever. As we end the year, I’m exhausted yet hopeful for what lies ahead.

Wherever you find yourself, I hope you take the time to celebrate, rest and enjoy a well-earned break.

I also encourage you to spend some time over the holidays reflecting on your year. Especially if it’s been a tough one.

In this week’s bonus article, I share a simple exercise to help you review your year. Discover four questions to reflect on your successes, learnings and prepare for 2021.


Every January, we set our big goals and intentions for the coming year. Then, we work hard to achieve them and focus on ticking them off our list as fast as possible. But so often, we rush from one goal to the next, without taking the time to honour the milestones along the way.

The key to creating greater fulfillment in your personal and professional life? Acknowledging and celebrating your success.

Start by asking yourself —

  • What am I celebrating this year?
  • What were the highlights — goals or results reached in your business, career and life?
  • Were there any big challenges you overcame?

Make a list of everything you’re celebrating. Then, highlight the top 2-3 achievements or successes you’re most proud of in 2020 and why they’re important to you.


What did you learn in 2020? Think about the mistakes you made or (many) things that didn’t go to plan.

Remember, even if something you attempted this year wasn’t successful, you can never be a failure. To fail means you had the courage to try something out, push yourself out of your comfort zone, learn and grow. We learn from our mistakes so we can make better choices and more aligned decisions in future.

  • Start by listing out your key learnings for 2020
  • Then, make a note of the most significant lessons and ask yourself — What did I learn from this experience? And why is this lesson important?
  • Finally, consider — What will I do different next time? How can I course correct or avoid making a similar mistake in future?


What do you want to let go of in 2020? Consider —

  • Fears, negative emotions or limiting beliefs holding you back. Fear of failure (or success), imposter syndrome or not being good enough
  • The things you feel you ‘have to’ or ‘should do’ based on other people’s agendas or opinions
  • Commitments or relationships that no longer serve you
  • Anything you’re no longer willing to say YES to as we enter a new year

Using the prompts above, make a list of everything you’d like to let go of in 2021.

Then, ask yourself —

  • What’s the impact on your health, important relationships, happiness or mental wellbeing?
  • What has it cost you?
  • Why do you need to let it go now?

Finally, prioritise the key things you’ll no longer saying yes to. And make a commitment to yourself to honour those promises.


You’ve now reflected on your successes and learnings and know what you want to leave behind in 2021. Next, it’s important to set your intentions for the year ahead.

  • What goals do you want to reach in 2021?
  • What results do you want in all areas of your life. Your work, relationships, money, health, personal or professional development?
  • How do you want to spend your time?
  • What is the vision for the life that you want to create?

Let your mind wander and write down everything that you’d like to do or achieve in 2021.

Then, set your intentions for the year ahead.

Highlight your top 5-10 goals and why they’re important to you. Understanding the purpose behind your goals will keep you on track when you want to quit. So you’re more likely to accomplish them!

Finally, list out your primary goals as if you’ve already reached them. Finish this sentence:

On 31 December 2021, I will have (list the goal or intention as if it’s happened). This is important to me because (insert why).

Not only does making a note of our goals help us remember them. But studies show writing them down (as if they’ve already happened) makes it more likely we’ll achieve them. This is because our brain seeks out the information we need to reach our goals — and discards the rest!

The Christmas break is the perfect time to reflect on 2020 and what you want next year. This simple year-end reflection will help you review your year. So you can make 2021 an outstanding year!

Merry Christmas! I’ll be taking a break over the Christmas period and will be back on board on the 11 January. Wishing you and your family a safe and happy holiday season! ♥

Want my help to clarify and reach your professional goals in 2021?

Click HERE to book a free initial 30 minute consult to get started!  

Stacey Back is a Career Strategist, Leadership Coach + Founder of Profile Careers. She helps high-achievers at a career crossroads find the work that lights them up, increase their income, impact and create a career + life on their terms. Stacey works virtually with individuals and organisations based across the globe.