Have you heard of a Year in Review? I am looking at a Decade in Review. With the new decade less than two weeks away, I have been spending a lot of time reflecting on the past 10 years. I am looking at the areas in my life where I did well and the places I can improve. I am looking at what I made happen in my life and where I can grow in the next decade. 

What is this practice of a year in review? A decade in review? -click here for your FREE worksheet

It’s a way to reflect on where you have been and what you’ve done and the lessons that you can learn. It is a way to understand where you are, where you have been, and it gives you the opportunity to reflect on what’s hanging you up so you do not repeating the same mistakes again.

This kind of reflection is so important because it helps you to learn about who you are and what you are capable of. It can give you the tools to analyze things that happened, how you reacted, and what you can learn from and change for the future. If you do not spend time reflecting on where you have been and what has and has not worked in the past you will not be able to change and grow into the future self you desire.

I came up with this 7 part plan from doing some research on year in reviews and from my own ruminations. Incidentally, there is not a lot out there on Decade in Review. I started the exercise by listing what I remember as the major events each year. This was very interesting because I found that the ‘major’ events tended to be the ones I regretted or held on to some negative feeling about.

One thing I really struggled with after this exercise was questioning whether I made the right choices: Did I make the right choice to go on that big trip? Did I waste my time in that relationship? Why did I go to grad school? Why was it so hard? Was it a waste of time? Now that I’m changing careers should I have even gone to grad school at all?

I started this work after reading a blog post by Gabby Bernstein and it really made me look at my year in review and my decade in review in a different way:

“We spend a lot of time focusing on what we’re experiencing rather than how we’re experiencing it. We forget that we can change our experience of anything simply by shifting our point of focus. Any situation can be experienced with more love when we choose to see it through a lens of appreciation. Even the tough times can be seen through this lens.”


It’s so easy to look back at these 10 years and beat myself up but who does that serve? Beating myself up will not help me to learn. It will not allow me to grow or change the person that I was so why do it?

Following this quote by Gabby what can I look back on in these 10 years and appreciate instead of beat myself up? Can I appreciate all the lost time and money on a trip that eventually led to a breakup and wasn’t what I needed or wanted at the time? Can I appreciate that relationship even though it left me doubting myself and my choices? Can I find appreciation in all the time and energy that went into grad school even though I’ve ultimately chosen to go on a different path? Can I appreciate myself and the fact that I needed to go to grad school to fully decide to leave the field?

I decide I needed to have a more constructive Decade in Review. One daily practice I have in my life is to pick three things from the day that were good and that I can be grateful for to help retrain my brain to focus on the positive. I decided I should do this for the decade. I decide rather than beat myself up I needed to rejoice and then learn so:

I picked one thing to rejoice over and one lesson or event to learn from for each year.

This practice felt much more constructive. Rather than beat myself up and dwell on negatives I saw that there was a lot each year that was good and constructive. In doing this I started to develop or notice themes for each year. I have decided that my word for the next year and decade is GUTSY. I want to step out of my comfort zone I want to try new things that pushed me to grow.

So, I decide each year of the last decade needed a word. Here they are:

I loved picking the word for each year. It really helped me to put things into perspective. It is so easy to dwell on a few things or events and think it was all a waste but when I look back I realize how much I have to be proud of. I realized in picking a word for each year that each year was its own season in my life that brought me to a new place, even if some events in that year were bad or regrettable. Each one lead to a part of me that I am now.

After this, I decide I wanted to reflect on the 8 key areas in life over the last decade as a barometer for where I have been, where I am, and where I want to go.

This step is always so important because it is a way to look at your life holistically, not just in individual experiences or lessons. Each part is so interconnected and reflecting on the last 10 years in this way can help you to see the ways each can contribute to your overall well-being or areas that you are holding yourself back.

After completing these three exercises I reflected on what I learned from each experience. What jumped out at me was a common theme:

Not trusting myself and holding back. Or the opposite: the things I am most proud of over the last decade all required me to step out of my comfort zone and to trust myself and just do it.

I need to remember that moving forward. This helped me to see the area I wanted to focus on and improve most the next decade is trusting that I can do hard things-

I have and I will. I am Gutsy and I will be Gutsy.

Here are the seven steps I found to produce a productive and enlightening Decade in Review:

  1. Pick one thing from each year to rejoice about and one thing to learn from
  2. Pick one event for each year and then name the year
  3. Look at the 8 key areas of life and pick one thing to rejoice over and one thing to learn from in each area over the last 10 years
    1. Career
    2. Finances
    3. Personal space
    4. Family
    5. Friends
    6. Health/exercise
    7. Fun
    8. Personal growth
  4. Now Reflect and evaluate-what did you learn from each experience?
  5. What jumps out at you?
  6. If you were to choose just one area to improve in the next year and in the next decade what would it be and what action would be required?

Now, go plan next year!

I created a worksheet for myself during this process and I want you to have it! it really helped me to put my last 10 years into perspective and gave me a great outlook and place to work from for the next year…and decade!

I also created a One year and Five Year Plan Worksheet that I will include as an ultimate New Year-New Decade Workbook for you! and it is free! Just click HERE and I’ll send it to your inbox!

And if you need help with your New Year Resolution check out this post: How to actually achieve your NY Resolution

Or help with Goal Setting check out my Post: Goal Setting 101

Happy New Year!

Be Gutsy! Share the Love!

Amanda Richey