2021 Lookback: my Yearly Review Process

Sam Tackeff
5 min readDec 29, 2021

Leaping into 2022 like:

One of my favorite practices of the season is my absurdly aggressive end of year review. I’ve been doing some version of this for the past 15 or so years, but I’ve really felt like I’ve been fulfilled by it in the past few. Perhaps in conjunction with running this process with others. I love leading people through this just as much as doing it on my own.

It’s… intensive, self reflective, thorough. I typically take a few weeks to go through the process to savor the experience, leave room to re-live feelings and emotions, gather and take stock of the year.

One of the things that straight up shocks me each time I run this process is how much goodness that I’ve experienced that I’ve just COMPLETELY forgotten about. How much I’ve done, truly enjoyed, experienced. Even in particularly challenging years — hello, past two.

It’s the opposite of the Zeigarnik Effect — I finish things and I forget that they’ve happened, leaving me with a nagging feeling that I’ve gotten nothing done, and experienced nothing of note, so this process helps me truly reflect back and see the magnitude of what can be accomplished in a short year, but also boost my mood with gratitude.

My process is a bit different than most, and usually includes making a MASSIVE list as I go through the following:

• 📸 review my year in photos on my phone (I take many)
• 📆 review my calendar
• ✍️ re-read a handful of Morning pages (this year my re-run of the Artist’s Way, and my 30 days of Ship30 Essays in May)

While I do this, I add items to an outlined list (at least for things I don’t normally track in a spreadsheet or software program — books read (Goodreads), movies have a dedicated list (my yearly Movie spreadsheet).

I try to get a FULL PICTURE of my year across a range of categories.

Here’s the shortlist:

🏋️‍♂️ Fitness in the year (I outline the programs I’ve done, the races, and and any fun purchases.) I review my Strava year in review, and cross reference my Apple Fitness stats.

🎬 Review my movies, and bold my top 10. Same for books, and TV series (which I haphazardly…

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Sam Tackeff

Co-Founder, Ompractice. Wellness + Productivity. Culinary Adventurer. Previously: Runkeeper / Square / Omnivore Books. Exeter//Wellesley www.thesecondlunch.com