Tuesday 29 December 2020

End of Year Reflection and Goal Setting 2020-2021

I usually spend some time at the end of the year undertaking some kind of planning process. Some years this has been about setting a few clear goals, other years this has involved a detailed process of planning goals and actions for thee coming year. This year I decided to take it slowly and allocate one week to reflecting back on the year and one week to do some planning for the year ahead.


I have found that there is real power in taking time to think about worked and didn’t work and then articulating what it is you want going forward. I have often looked back at previous years plans and been surprised at the things that have been achieved even when they felt unrealistic or out of reach.


Over the years one of the things that as shifted in my planning process is that I have dropped many things that I think I should achieve and become more honest with myself about the things that I genuinely want - a more heart-centred approach that has me feeling more inspired and motivated.


This year, although I gave myself two weeks, in reality it was a few hours dotted here and there over the fortnight. For me the magic happens in the late hours at the end of the day. Once the kids are in bed and I have had a chance to rest and clear my head a little, I can start to think about things sensibly, or maybe daydream a little. For others the best time will be first thing in the morning before the day gets busy.


I break the process down into some key areas of my life to provide focus:


Family and relationships (including parenting and marriage)







Travel, Fun and Creative


These are the categories that make sense for me, but you may wish to include others or have a smaller number. For instance "home" may not be something included in the past, but with lockdowns and working from home, the way we feel about the spaces we live in and how they support us to function may be much more at the front of our minds in the coming year.


For each area I spent a little time thinking about what went well, what didn’t in the last year. I used my mini journal (about A6) and gave each theme a page each. This was enough to get some thoughts down and didn’t feel too daunting or like too much work, but in hindsight, it is worth spending more time and giving this process more space to really get to the heart of where you feel you are with each area. This gives you a really good understanding of the situation and creates a better foundation for deciding what you want to do next.


Once I had finished with looking back at 2020, I set aside a page for each theme going forward, using the following format:

The Big Goal - your priority for this area in the coming year, this should be what really matters and what you want the most.

Example: Faith - improve concentration and devotion in Sabah (prayer)

Habits - list the daily habits in this area, especially the ones that will help you achieve your goal.

Example: Faith - pray on time, make effort to pray your nawafil (non obligatory) prayers.

Goals - list your other goals for this area that you would like to work towards

Example: Faith - undertake Umrah (pilgrimage) this year, learn Quran in Arabic)

Long Term - Outline here briefly what the big picture is, where you want to be in 20 years, by the end of your life, or in the next life. This will help you make sure your goals are always aligned with your long term vision.

Example: Faith - Jannah, good death, closeness to Allah (SWT).


I’ve worked through this process and come to the end feeling inspired and motivated. I liked the simplicity of one main goal, giving you a sense of focus - the rest are a bonus. I like also that you can defer or let go of some things and clear your head of them. I have often felt down or aimless in the last year. Sometimes being busy doing stuff is not the same as being focussed and doing the right stuff. I intend to work less hours and less intensely this year

to bring some balance back into my life and hopefully having one goal or area for improvement for each area of my life will help me with this.


One of the things I have committed to is to write in my mini journal every day, whether a chance to create some mixed media art, reflect on my day and capture learning or record something I find inspiring. This means I will have to hand the goal pages and I can look back every day and ask myself if I am working towards the right things in the right balance insh’Allah.


Do you have a process to reflect on your year? Do you set goals, what do you find helps you to internalise and achieve your goals?


  1. Love this! JazakAllah will spend some time today doing this x

  2. JazakAllah for the tips! Will you be updating the journal for 2020? You usually post it on 27th December.

  3. Goal setting can be so much fun! Jazak Allah Khayr for sharing your post with us!