10 questions – Annual Reflection 2020

The 10 question annual reflection is a longstanding ALearningaDay tradition. I recommend doing it in 3 steps:
i) Carve out an hour in the coming days to “look back and look forward.” It helps to do this in a quiet place with no distractions or interruptions.

ii) Work with a list of 10 questions that make you think. For a starter list, I’ve shared the 10 questions I asked myself below (also available to print as a doc or PDF on this folder).

iii) Archive your questions and notes for next year. Check in with them over the course of the year and read them before you start next year’s reflection. Looking at what was top-of-mind a few years later is also guaranteed to make you grin. :-)

“Sometimes, we need to just take a step back and look back at how the pieces fell. When we do that, we see what was important and what never was.”

(1) What are the top 2 themes/memories/moments I will remember 2020 for?

(2) What were the 2 biggest lessons I learnt in 2020?

(3) We learn from a mix of 3 sources – i) taking action and reflecting on our experiences, ii) people, and iii) books/synthesized information. What did my mix look like in 2020? How do I plan to keep this going in 2021?

i) Action + reflection:

ii) People:

iii) Books/synthesized info:

“Show me your schedule and I’ll show you your priorities.”

(4) Looking back at how I spent my time in 2020, what were the top 2-3 areas/buckets + processes/outcomes I prioritized (Examples: Career – prioritized ABC project or getting a raise, Health – prioritized more outdoor exercise or losing 10 pounds)? Did what I prioritize align with what I intended to prioritize/were there any surprises?

(5) What are the top 2 areas/buckets + processes/outcomes I intend to prioritize in 2021?

(6) What do I most need to learn in 2021 and how do I plan to do this?

“How we hope it works: Commit → Take action
How it actually works: Commit → Fail → Recommit x 20 → Fail x 20 → Recommit → Take action”

(7) What are habits/checkpoints I have in place to recommit to my priorities? (E.g. weekly/monthly check in)

(8) What have I got planned in 2020 to prioritize rest and renewal (e.g. holiday plans, weekend activities, hobbies)?

“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.”

(9) Health, money, and relationships are foundational to the quality of our lives on this planet. What are my guiding principles or habits as I think of these dimensions in 2021?




(10) Do I have a personal philosophy, a set of principles or virtues that I want to live my life by? If not, would I consider putting together a first version?
And, if I do have them, what have I learnt about them in my attempts to live them? Do I plan to evolve them in 2021?

– “What I value” can be a way of stating our personal philosophy/principle.
– Virtues are values we actually embody. Inspired by the code of the Samurais, the difference is what we believe (values) vs. what we do (virtues).
– Our values become virtues when living them costs us money or something valuable that we need to trade-off)

I’ve been sharing my list of 10 questions since 2010. Changes in past editions have been minor/evolutionary. That wasn’t the case this year – perhaps it is fitting given the year we’ve all had. I hope you find the exercise/questions valuable.