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As we near the end of the year, you’ll want to evaluate the progress of the last year. Whether you’re where you wanted to be at the end of 2018 or you feel like you need to get back on track, taking a solid look at the past year can help you set yourself up for success in the year to come. Follow these tips to effectively reflect on your last year and find ways to make the next year even better.

Set aside time

The first step you’ll want to take is finding time to set aside to actually reflect on the last year. Find a fairly large chunk of time you can set aside when you won’t be interrupted. If you want to actually think through the last year, you’ll need to take a fair amount of time to evaluate it and then make a plan for the coming year.

List pros and cons

As you go over the last year, you need to be careful to not get caught up focusing too much on the negatives. While you list areas you’d like to improve or goals you still need to work toward, also list the positive experiences you’ve had. Making a physical list helps each item feel tangible and really brings it to mind. Put plenty of thought into this step to make sure you don’t miss anything.

Be constructive

While you focus on areas you could improve or not so great things that happened, remember to be constructed. The opposite goal of this exercise is to ruminate over negative experiences, so take anything negative and instead be constructive with it. Acknowledge and accept the not great experiences, but then evaluate them in a way that gives you a plan and motivates you to work toward better experiences in the upcoming year. If you find yourself focusing on the bad, you might want to take a short break or even simply move onto focusing on the good.

Focus on the good

Highlight all the great milestones you hit this year and any positive experiences you’ve had. As you think through the less than great experiences, also try to find something good in those, such as what you learned or how those times opened up opportunities for better things. Listing everything great from the last year helps you feel positive and puts you in a great mindset to plan for the coming year.

Make a plan
After you’ve thought about everything that’s happened in the last year, it’s time to plan ahead for the new year. Think about goals you still need to reach and plan out steps for doing so. Find areas that you can improve for every area of your life and make a plan to reach those goals. Even if it’s a small change, such as creating a new habit by the end of the year or learning a new hobby, a variety of goals can keep you motivated.