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The Year Ahead Exercise

🎉 Happy New Year friends! 🎉 Regardless of what this year has in store for us, we are so excited to kick it off! This year, I'd like to share with you a free downloadable workbook called "The Year Ahead" - I hope you find it as helpful as I have while navigating 2021. And to my dear would-be 2020 Battlefield travelers, next year we'll get back to our regular weekly programming. A reminder for everyone to subscribe to our weekly e-mail!


The beginning of the year gives us the best time to stop, reflect, and re-assess.

Especially this year, as we kick off and into 2021.

The Year Ahead Work Booklet is a 3-hour exercise that I wholeheartedly recommend. The practice was referred to me in 2015 by a researcher at the Toronto Archives who used the practice to aid his project teams through their research process.

I've never shared my personal work booklet before, but this year has brought collective worlds together - everyone around the world, friends, colleagues, family members...we all had to stop and take pause.

This year, I thought, hey! Many would benefit from using these tools to find peace and resiliencethrough theturmoil we've endured.

Take a look, here are some of my favorite exercises in the Year in Review Workbook:


  • Go through last year’s calendar week by week. If you see an important event, family gathering, friendly get-together or a significant project, write it down for next year.

  • What aspects were the most important to you in the following areas last year? [finances, health, belongings (home, objects), personal life and family]

  • Write down everything that concerns you right now. Once you’re ready, mark the items you can solve on your own by doing something, saying something, or reframing your emotions.

  • List three things you’ll do to keep your existing social circle close. List three things you’ll do to reconnect with people you miss from your circle.

  • What is the best thing you have discovered about yourself?

  • These three things I want to achieve the most next year.

  • These three things I will dare to discover next year.

  • These three things I will do every morning next year.

  • Unleash your mind. What is your secret wish for the next year?

  • ...and my absolute favorite: What you didn’t do this year. "2020 was a series of upheavals, large and small. Plans got cancelled, habits have been upended. Take a moment and list all the things you didn’t get to do this year. Write down the travels, social occasions, adventures, or habits the pandemic took away. It’s okay to mourn and to be somewhat pissed."

  • List the times when you made it work in 2020. "Write down all the habits you redesigned for quarantine, workarounds you came up with to meet people, new hobbies, or experiences you discovered along the way."

I encourage everyone to take a look at the workbook this year. Here's the full PDF available to download for free!

This workbook was made by the volunteers of YearCompass and Invisible University International. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International license. If you like YearCompass and would like to their volunteers, please visit:

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