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SCOTT DREYER: Conduct A “Year In Review”

Teachers like to “borrow liberally,” and I got this idea of an annual “Year in Review” from James Clear, author of Atomic Habits. Before we get too far into the new year, it’s helpful to pause, reflect, look back over the past 12 months, and ask ourselves some questions. Clear bases his review around three key queries: What went well? What went poorly? What are some key lessons/insights I learned? 

This exercise works best if you personalize it, so feel free to add or remove questions, add bullet sub-points, etc. You can write your findings on a computer document or in a notebook, and if you do it year by year, it can give you more longitudinal insights into your life. Plus, the discipline of remembering and writing down what did go well in the past year can help us “count our blessings” and develop the crucial virtue of gratitude. It seems to be a part of human nature for us to easily focus on failings, both ours and others, but dwelling on the positive takes a bit more digging…yet it’s worth it.

From personal experience, talking with people, and reading headlines, 2022 was a pretty hard year for a lot of us, in a lot of ways. Still, there had to be some good. The fact that I’m writing this and you’re reading it proves we’re both still here!

Here’s to 2023 being a year of deeper personal growth, insight, and development for you.

Sample “Year in Review” Framework

What went well?



Mental state/emotional:



Career/Professional Development:

Books read:

Articles written:





What went poorly?

What did I learn?


-Scott Dreyer

Scott Dreyer at Bryce Canyon
Scott Dreyer M.A. of Roanoke has been a licensed teacher since 1987 and now leads a team of educators teaching English and ESL to a global audience. Photo at Utah’s iconic Bryce Canyon. Learn more at

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