Optometrists and eyeglass retailers are going to have a lot of fun marketing in 2020, as are life coaches and anybody involved in helping people achieve their goals and visions.

Hindsight, as they say, is 20/20, so as you’re gluing positive words and images to your literal or metaphorical vision board for the new year, it’s really valuable to look back on the old one and think about what helped and what hindered you in your productivity, health, happiness, relationships and other areas of life.

Some topics I’ve found entertaining and useful to journal about are:

What person or people impacted you in 2019 and why?

What place did you discover and love? For me, this year it was my own back deck this summer because I dragged my bed out there and slept under the stars for three months.

What was your most meaningful achievement?

In what ways did you change? Things you did, habits you shifted?

What was something unexpected that happened?

What will you remember about your health? For me it was beginning to work with a personal trainer once a week and lifting weights — something I’ve resisted for decades because I was afraid of bulking up. Not only did I lose a significant amount body fat and can now see muscles I haven’t seen since I was 17, I’m also much stronger and more resilient in my day-to-day life. If your goal is to get organized this year, always put fitness first. Having strength and energy is crucial to achieving all your other resolutions.

What brought you the most joy? What made you sad? What did you purchase that you regretted? What did you purchase that you loved?

If you had one word to describe 2019, what would it be? There were several for me in 2019, for example, gratitude, connection, leadership, and strength, but I think the penultimate word for me in 2019 was shelter.

Wrapping up the year with a thoughtful review can remind you of things to begin considering so that you don’t make the same mistakes and can begin transforming behaviors that no longer serve you. It also allows you to put the year into perspective and remember the highlights and accomplishments. Writing it down somewhere easily searchable, like the Notes app in your phone, makes it easy to find and reread when you need some encouragement or perspective.

Sometimes it’s hard to remember exactly what the heck happened in the last year, especially if you are not a journal keeper. In that case, looking back at your calendar is a helpful way to jog your memory.

Scrolling through the photos on your phone is another good way to trigger memories and ideas to write about. Instagram and Facebook can also help, but there tends to be more distracting eye candy there than high-quality information and can bog down the process.

Talking about the questions with your partner, discussing them as a family or with a close friend or two is not only a great bonding activity, the other person or people will certainly remind you of things you’ve forgotten and help you put your year into a more objective perspective.

Reviewing the year is common, even mandatory, in business situations, but for our personal lives we often rush on to the new year and new resolutions without taking the time to first look back, and it can be a richly rewarding experience that will put you in a much better position to articulate and manifest your vision for 2020.