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  • Ken Ilgunas

The Year-in-Review Outline

I’ve been doing a “year in review” for the past five years or so. I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed writing them and how much I’ve benefited from them. They help me focus on the future, make plans, think about long-term goals, and reflect on the arc of my life. Plus, they’re just a great way to chronicle and document your life, which will make for fascinating and pleasurable future reading. I wrote a longer entry about writing year-in-reviews a few years back. In that entry, I go more into detail about why I do them. For this entry, I just wanted to share my outline, in case you’d like to start your own. So feel free to copy and paste this outline (and modify it to your liking). I find the New Year to be a pretty good time for an annual reflection.

2017 Year in Review

Career Accomplishments

(What were your main career accomplishments?)


[How did you spend your time on entertainment? Make estimates in hours of how much time you spent playing games, watching movies and TV (write down the series you watched), listening to podcasts, etc. How many books did you read?]

Travels and Living Situation

(Where did you live? Write down all the places you traveled to.)


Major Purchases

(What were your major material purchases over $100? You don’t need to include basics like rent and food.)


(How much did you earn? List previous years’ numbers for this and all categories.)

Total Savings

(What are your total savings (or debts)?)

Financial reflections

(Make some overall financial reflections about 2017.)

Friends and family

(Write down how your friend and family relationships have evolved. Any new notable friends?)


(What was your health like for 2017?)


(What were your adventures/notable outdoor excursions?)


(How’s your romantic relationship doing? If you’re single, how many dates did you go on?)

Exterior Forces

[What major exterior forces (things that are happening at global/national level) played a role in your well being? i.e., the Trump victory got me down and occupied many of my thoughts…]


(How have your vices/addictions played a role in 2017? Did you control them better than in previous years, or have they gotten worse?)


(Musical progress? I just started playing the bagpipes, so this is a new category for me.)

Golden Ages

(Here’s a new category. I consider a “golden age” a period of my life when I’m generally content or fulfilled or stimulated or any such combination that makes me feel like my life is being well-lived. What were your golden ages in 2017? What made it feel like a golden age?)

Victories and Losses


(Write about the successes you’ve had this year, whether they have to do with career, relationships, health, sports, etc.)


(List your failures/disappointments/and mess-ups from 2017.)

2017 Goals Review

(If you had goals and resolutions from the beginning of 2017, assess how you did with each.)

Existential themes and life narratives

(Think about your year and pick out a few main story lines. Maybe you dealt with a serious health problem, or a relationship problem, or thought a lot about what you wanted to do with your life. Spend a paragraph or so writing about each theme. Another way to ask this is to think about what things affected you emotionally the most.)

2018 Goals

(Come up with a list of 2018 goals. I usually have 5-10. Pick a few that are easily achievable! Pick a few that will be tough.)

Rough Future Timeline

(List the next 10 years. Next to each one, write down what you’d like to accomplish.)

Life goals

(List a few long-range goals. Goals for 20, 30, 40 years. i.e., having kids, surrounding life with animals, etc.)


(Read over this year in review and summarize your year. How was it?)

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Fall 2018 Speaking Schedule

(This will be updated with links and new events as they come.) Thur. Oct. 4, 7 p.m. – New England College (Henniker, NH) in the Great Room Fri. Oct. 5, 4:15 p.m. – Bates College (Lewiston, ME) Tue.


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