Quick Guide to Reflecting on 2010 (and Planning for 2011)

by Shana Montesol Johnson

You’ve survived the holidays and rung in the new year, and now you’re back to work and routine. Yet it feels somehow incomplete to jump in to a new year without pausing to reflect on 2010.  But who has the time?  The solution: a quick guide to reflecting on the past year and looking ahead to the new, before 2011 gets into full swing.

If you’re anything like me, you were flat-out busy in December: closing out the year of work tasks, preparing for the holidays, and maybe even getting ready for vacation travel.  It wasn’t exactly the most contemplative season.

Now that the holidays are over (despite those decorations you still need to take down), you may be feeling a bit unsettled about starting a new year without looking back on the one that has passed, or thinking about the future.  Yet you don’t have a ton of time for reflection – your To Do list is already getting ridiculous again.

So as my New Year’s gift to you, here’s a quick guide to reflecting on 2010 and looking ahead to 2011.  The emphasis tilts toward work and career, but you could tailor or expand the questions to personal life as well.

Jot down your answers to the following:

1.       What are 1 or 2 things that I accomplished at work in 2010 that I’m proud of?

2.       What are 1 or 2 things related to my work or career that I learned in 2010?

3.       What was the most fun work-related thing I did in 2010?

4.       What do I want to be sure that my professional life in 2011 includes?

5.       What is one small action I can take this week to move toward making that happen?

You can spend as much or as little time on this as you like. When I went through these, I completed the exercise in less than 15 minutes.

Bonus points

To make sure that 2011 really starts off on the right foot, ask someone to hold you accountable for that small action you identified in #5 above.  Knowing that a friend or colleague is going to follow up with you next week to make sure you’ve completed the task will make you much more likely to actually do it.

Care to share?

I’d love to hear any of your responses to the questions.  Please share in the comments box below.

Here’s to a 2011 full of all that you wish for – and more.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }


Thanks for the very useful – “quick guide to reflecting on 2010 and looking ahead to 2011”. Found most of my answers to those “work” questions did not revolve around improved bells and whistles on widgets or more efficient throughput times, but around positive experience/interactions with people/groups. Apparently helping and working with people much more memorable (and satisfying) than widgets. Thanks for creating this blog and sharing your wisdom!



Wes, thanks for your comment, and for trying out the “Quick Guide to Reflecting on 2010 and Looking Ahead to 2011.″ I’m so glad you found it useful. Interesting insight that your answers had more to do with positive experiences with people, as opposed to better bells and whistles. In a way, ensuring you have positive experiences with people may be trickier than finding and implementing a new widget — but ultimately, more rewarding. From what I know of your interpersonal style and leadership skills, though, you shouldn’t have much of a problem with that! Best of luck as you pursue your goals in 2011, and I look forward to interacting with you further on the blog!



Very helpful in making reflections and resolutions specific. Looking forward to more!



Thanks for the comment, Corina! I’m glad you found the Quick Guide helpful.


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