The Most Important List You’ll Make All Year

Forget about the bucket list. Tune out your “To Do” list. Curl up with a legal pad. Maybe a cup of soothing tea. Reflect on the last twelve months. Take some time to write down a list of accomplishments.

For Prime Women, this is not a resume update exercise, although you will likely unearth some impressive morsels for LinkedIn or the C.V.

The list of accomplishments is for YOU.

For women who spent many years pursuing careers full-tilt, we are accustomed to measuring achievements in advancement-related terms.

Because I’ve spent most of my career in consulting, I always viewed my activities as billable and non-billable — a productivity junkie, if you will. This sometimes led to de-valuing accomplishments that I achieved on the personal side.

At the encouragement of a very wise person, I started doing my annual list of accomplishments. It’s the best gift you can give to yourself – any time of year.

This is the time to enjoy the bounty. Celebrate! Enjoy! Savor what has been special. You will find a theme of gratitude and appreciation in this process.

At this age and stage, you are also likely noticing how life imposes itself. Death, disease, injuries, surprises, setbacks are more frequent visitors. Mobility and change within our circles of friendship, as people move to be closer to children or spend more time in their vacation homes.

But here’s the thing: What feels like crisis and distraction for classic goal-setters becomes an accumulation of new skills. String them together over the course of a few years. Voila! You evolve with some serious new competencies that can even be applied to a new career direction, if you choose.

The annual list of accomplishments helps you keep track. A powerful proposition!

Some categories to consider:


What is happening with these most important relationships? Note and appreciate special times and occasions.

Spiritual. Where are you in your spiritual life?

Endurance/Perseverence/Coping. Did you get through a crisis? Or learn how to cope with something that will be chronic or long-term? Did you gain new expertise as a caregiver? Pursue grief counselling after a loss?

Travel. What were the most special memories of any trips — or even stay-cations?

Hobbies. What are you doing for fun? Something new? Or something you enjoyed growing up?

Entertainment. Recount the highlights of the year! In-home. About town. Out-of-town.

Home-related. Any design or construction improvements? Are you finally getting to enjoy more time in a second home? Or quiet time for yourself in a special cozy space?

Fiscal. How are your investment milestones advancing? Have you improved your spending habits?

Identity. Self-image is part of our well-being. Are you freshening your wardrobe? Dressing for a different stage of life? Learning to style a new hairdo?

Wellness. Did you add something new to your fitness routine? Evolve to a healthy eating regime? Stave off surgery through weight loss, exercise or medication? Shed a bad habit that affected health or self-esteem?

Celebration. Are you a new mother-in-law? Grandmother? Did you have a milestone birthday?

Community. What is happening in your neighborhood or hometown that is positive?

Learning. How about those classes, lectures, new vocational or avocational pursuits? What did you learn from interacting with others? What did you learn about yourself this year?

Philanthropy/Volunteer. Are you sampling a variety of efforts? Are you adding, increasing, diversifying in the mix? Consolidating to a theme or single focus?

Networks. Are you spending quality time with your existing circles? Expanding to new groups? Serving in any leadership roles?

Talents. How did you utilize your strengths this year?

Career triumphs. Are you newly on a board? Transitioning your business to the next generation of leadership? Setting new revenue/profit records? Starting something new?

Love and marriage. Celebrate the love in your life, whether memories of the past, present blessings or hopes for the future!

Life passage. It’s all about growing and evolving. Where are you this year that might be different than recent years? Are you enjoying the journey?

Personal satisfaction. What has made you happiest this year? The most proud? Note to self: Do more of that this year!