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All great movies, novels, and speeches are built around great stories. As my friend Dale Karmie has said many times, “Life is a story.” Your life is an unfolding story and you have the tremendous opportunity to create it. You have the ability to create adventure, rouse laughter, overcome struggle, forge relationships, and do many other things that are involved in a great story. Each year is like a chapter in the story that is your life. Therefore, it is important to take time to reflect and evaluate your year. Who goes to a movie with someone and doesn’t ask, “What did you think?” or “Did you like it?” or a myriad of other questions?

Your life is an unfolding story and you have the tremendous opportunity to create it.

Unfortunately, most people go from year to year without taking time to evaluate their year and they trudge into the next without asking, “Did you like the previous year?” As a result, they never amend the errors in judgement, disassociate with negative influences, create more adventure, or overcome struggles. Additionally, because they don’t regularly evaluate their story, most people don’t value their story and don’t enjoy life.

Let’s not be like “most people.” Let’s take time to evaluate our year. Let’s create stories that novels, movies, and speeches are built around.


Take a few hours, go to a place where you can be alone, and go through the following:

Pretend you’re around a table of people who really care about you and someone says to you, “Tell us about your 2016.” (Write down your answers in a journal or notebook—don’t spare detail)

Am I making better decisions to keep myself from regretting in 2017?

Next, answer the following questions:

  • What is my best memory from 2016?
  • What was my most painful memory from 2016?
  • What was my best decision in 2016?
  • What was my worst decision in 2016?
  • What goals did I achieve in 2016?
  • Do I like the story I am living? (If so, why? If not, why not?)
  • What character trait did I develop in 2016? How did I develop it?
  • What is my biggest regret from 2016?
  • Am I making better decisions to keep myself from regretting in 2017?


Now, take some time to set some clear goals for 2017 by answering the following:

  • Pretend you’re at a table with people who care about you at this time next year and someone asks, “Tell us about your 2017.” What do you WANT to tell them?
  • What is a character trait you want to develop in 2017?
  • What is one relationship you want to cultivate in 2017?
  • What is one experience you want to have in 2017?
  • What are your financial goals for 2017?
  • What is one business skill you want to master in 2017?
  • Who is one person who can help you reach your goals?
  • What is one positive habit you are going to develop to ensure you reach your goals?

That’s it!

Don’t forget, your life is a story. Either you create it or the world will create it for you, and remember, the world doesn’t have a great story planned for you. The world wants you to sit up straight, keep your mouth shut, and go with the flow. Those with great stories go against the grain, they do things (like yearly evaluations) others won’t do, and have the kind of life others dream about.

I look forward to having a front row seat in your story and can’t wait to see how it ends. It’s going to be good!


Michael B. Ross

Get in touch with Michael B. Ross