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Find your North Star | Our end-of-year check-in

Image credit: Sven Lachmann

Find your North Star | Our end-of-year check-in

Taking some time to do an end-of-year check-in with yourself is so important. We’re forever told, and always know deep down, that our control over what happens to us is an illusion. Still, we book flights to faraway destinations, order whatever cuisine we want to our front doors, decorate our homes as we please, create – to all intents and purposes – our own little worlds. And sometimes it feels like we really do pull the strings. But the truth is that we’re never in control. Not of the big and most important things. The things that really matter and make our lives what they are. The only thing that we can actually control is ourselves and how we respond to the challenges life will inevitably throw our way. For this is what being alive means: responding to challenges.

All the best stories have ups and downs – good chapters and bad ones. The hard times are what create social bonds and heroes we want to tell tales of. You don’t want to have a challenge-free life. You want better challenges. To not get dragged down in the small stuff. To do some good for the wider world beyond your own small patch. To be able to check in with yourself and know when you’ve lost sight of your north star and drifted too far from the path you want to walk. We are all travellers in the world, spinning through space on this astonishing blue planet in the star-studded universe. Navigating our ways through the wild spectacular wonder of being alive. Getting lost from time to time, hitting storms, climbing mountains that seem impossibly high. Losing beloved travelling companions and gaining new ones. Helen Keller said it best: ‘Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.’

As long as you keep sight of your north star and use it to guide your internal compass, you’ll find your way home. We love the YearCompass, a booklet that helps you close the year and plan the next. Inspired by them, we’ve created a shorter list of our own questions to ask yourself as the year closes and the new one begins. Make yourself a big mug of your favourite tea, find yourself a quiet room, a comfy chair and your favourite notebook and pen. Take time answering these questions. An hour to reflect on where you’ve been and how you’ve lived out the last 365 days is really no time at all. Once you have reflected on the year gone by, consider where you want to go next. Let this practice act as your rough travel itinerary for what’s ahead, with the awareness that, like any adventurer, you’ll meet surprises along your way and all you can ever really control is how you act and react. However, doing this exercise will hopefully help you make better choices that support the future you’d like to create.


Mapping out the past year


  1. What have you done this past year that you’re most proud of?

  2. What was your favourite moment of this past year and why?

  3. In what ways have you improved the lives of people around you?

  4. What have you learned this year?

  5. What was the most important book you read?

  6. What have you loved about your home this year and is there anything you’d like to improve?

  7. Who or what would you like to make more time for next year?

  8. What was your biggest challenge this past year? How did you face it?

  9. Where did you fail and what did you learn from this?

  10. If you had to describe the last year in one word, what would it be and why?


Once you’ve finished these questions, take a moment to reflect on your answers. You might need to take a little time before starting the next batch of questions, so give yourself that. Stretch, walk around, but don’t lose focus. Come back with the same level of intention and let’s look to the year ahead. 


Mapping out the year ahead 


  1. What important events are ahead of you this year? How would you like to make really these special for you and the people you love?

  2. Who would you like to spend more time with this year?

  3. What would you like to spend more time doing?

  4. What new skills would you like to learn? How will you make time for these?

  5. How will you look after yourself better so that you can better serve others?

  6. What will your north star be this year? Which of your priorities will you allow to guide you and influence your decisions the most: e.g. career, family, health etc. You can choose two or three areas of equal importance.

  7. What does success look like for you this year?

  8. Does the person you’d like to be by the end of 2021 look, feel and act differently from who you are now?

  9. Look back at your answers to the questions about last year. How would you like to be able to answer these questions by the end of next year?

  10. What is your word for 2021?


 We hope you have a wonderful year and that it brings you all the challenges that you need to grow and all the triumphs too. Most of all, however, we hope that you always feel like you are able to find your north star to guide your next step, no matter how dark or challenging the way ahead seems. 




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