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The year is almost over. And I've seen lots of people say that this year (it doesn't matter what year we are talking about) wasn't the best year ever. It was hard. It was a year of learning a lot about ourselves. I don't disagree with any of this.
But over the year, you also learned a lot about your money (hopefully). And if you are anything like most of the people I work with, you aren't even quite sure what your biggest money lessons of the year were right now. Are you?
So let's spend some time reflecting on the year and our money. The more you reflect on what happened, the more you can make changes and make the coming year that much better of a year. Get out your journal (or just some paper) and pens or pencils, and answer the questions below. Just like with any reflection, the more you write, the more you'll be able to take from it and make changes going forward. But this is all up to you and if you want to write one sentence or one word answers, I'm not going to stop you. The deeper you dig, the more changes you'll be able to make. But this isn't school and you aren't going to be graded on your work, so at the end of the day, the decision is all yours.
I've personally made this process into a yearly ritual that I do on New Year's Day. I sit down and tune into my money, the past year and the questions below. Sometimes while I'm working, more questions will come up and that may also happen for you. This is only a guide to get you started on this journey of reflecting on your money and what has happened over the past year.
There may be tears. There may be frustrations. You may want to throw things. You may want to get up and stop this process altogether. Just remember, all of this is okay, but you are going to want to push yourself to continue with this process until you are done. It may take a few days to complete, as well. But the more you know about what has happened with your money over the past year, the more changes you can make going forward.
So if you are ready, let's just get started with the money reflections:
What do you think is the biggest money lesson that you have had during the past year? Why was this lesson so important for you?
What are at least 10 of your personal biggest money wins for the year?
When it comes to your money, what would you do differently if you could actually see what was going to happen this past year?
What are you really proud of that has happened in 2018 in relation to your money?
Have you paid down (or off) any major debts this year?
Have you built up your savings accounts like you want to?
Past Money Goals:
What were your money goals for this past year?
Did you actually achieve your money goals this past year?
What do you need to do differently when it comes to your money goals to be better with them?
Where did your money come from in the past year?
Were you able to meet your financial goals based on your income from the past year? Or do you need to find more supplemental income for the new year?
What do you feel was your worst money move this past year?
What did you learn from your worst money move?
How much did you spend from your savings accounts this past year?
What is the balance on your outstanding debt?
How do you feel about your money right now?
How do you want to feel about your money at this time next year?
What do you feel are your money weaknesses?
Are you open to making changes in your money situation? If so, what changes are you open to making? If not, why not?
What about your money do you really want to change in the new year?
Have you been contributing money to savings? What is your actual savings goal for how much money you want to have saved?
Are you okay with where you spent your money this past year?
The New Year:
What insights about money do you plan to carry forward into the new year with you?
What are your money goals for the new year? How do you plan to achieve these money goals?
How can you make more money this year?
How can you save more money this year?
What do you really need to do differently this year?
What other questions do you think need to be added to this list?
I've personally made this a ritual that I do at the beginning of each new year by sitting with my journal for a few hours and answering the questions above, plus anything else that comes up while I'm writing. And honestly, I think it's something that we all should do. We all want to have a better relationship with our money. We want to be able to have more money in our lives. But we can't do any of this if we don't know what we are changing, because we are humans and we naturally revert back to habits and subconscious activities that we used to do when we don't know what we are changing.
I'd love to know if this process has helped you. Leave your comments below about your favorite part of doing this ritual for yourself.