Evaluate 2015 to be Happier in 2016
Aging Matters

At the end of each year, it's important to do a "look-back," to evaluate one's goals and where you stand to start the new year. It's like doing a walk through one's life by asking, did I accomplish what I hoped? And if I did, am I happier, healthier, and have more money (or more friendships)? But if I've failed somewhere along the last twelve months, what was it that threw me off? It could be that I ate too many sweets during the holidays and today, weighing in; I've gained back five of the twenty pounds I hoped to shed. That's just an example; it could be that I didn't save enough each month, or I spent too much on entertainment. Whatever the case, a look-back is significant if we want to make our lives better and more enjoyable.

What you learn when evaluating goals

By answering the following questions, it will help you set the new goals for 2016. Each one will help you be more intentional and strategic when planning the New Year. For example, you can get more focused on what works and spend less time on what does not.

When finalizing the end-of-the-year evaluation, don't be too hard on yourself if you feel disappointed with the results. In other words, don't see the entire year as a loss. That would be depressing, and it would negatively affect your motivation. Instead, see it as a lesson to help you plan better for 2016.

Family and Relationships

  • How would you rate the significant relations and friendships in your life?
  • Do you have enough of them?
  • What did you do to improve your relationships?
  • What are the regrets concerning 2015, the friendships and family relationships? Did you fail to develop stronger ones with your children, spouse or best friend?


  • Are you satisfied with your health and wellness?
  • Have you gained more weight these past twelve months?
  • Do you feel in better shape today than when you started the year?
  • Are you happy with the follow through of the fitness plan?
  • Did you have the physical check up that you promised to get?

Hobbies and activities

  • Do you enjoy the activities you participate in during the week and on weekends?
  • Do they add to a healthier lifestyle?
  • What activities would you like to do more of in 2016?

Lifelong learning

  • Did you learn a new skill in 2015?
  • Have you improved your knowledge?
  • Where did you fall short in learning something new? Did fear of failure stop you from trying?
  • What areas are important to you in 2016? Do you want to learn a new skill or read more books?

Evaluating one's life and your approach to it is necessary. Remember, if you don't like the life you live, 2016 offers you twelve months to make it better.

Carol Marak, Aging Advocate, and Editor at Seniorcare.com, has earned a B.S. in Social Services and a Certificate in Gerontology from the University of California Davis.

Part of the Aging Matters Weekly Syndicated Column

Aging Matters is a weekly column tackling everyday challenges that our growing elderly population and their loved ones face. It is also published in a variety of syndication partners including newspapers all over the country.

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