The last week of December always lends itself to introspection for me every year — I blame it on my birthday. It’s a double whammy of “New year, new you! Go do a 2016 review!”

But why review?

Why do people read book reviews or movie reviews? To find out whether that book or movie is worth their time, right? The same applies to your life — you want to find out what you’re doing that’s worthwhile and what isn’t.

That way, you can keep doing the good and cull the bad, and make your days worthwhile and productive!

Of course, it isn’t as simple as reading reviews off the Internet. Nope, you’ve to write the reviews yourself. In this post, I’ll be taking you through my year-end review process, so you can get a peek at what’s coming for Lyssy Creates, and also use the same steps to make your 2017 more fulfilling.

(Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click through and purchase something, I make a small commission — but you still pay the same amount! I only put affiliate links on items I use and love.)

There are plenty of guides that make for a good year-end review. Last year, I used the Miracle Morning Fast Start Kit based on Hal Elrod’s book, The Miracle Morning. It is great for reviewing your life as a whole!

For 2017 though, I wanted to be intentional about my financial goals, and take Lyssy Creates seriously, so I invested in Lisa Jacobs’ Your Best Year 2017 and it’s guided my review of 2016 and goal-setting for 2017. So… let’s get started!

The Soul-Searching Questions

Yeahhhh, that sounds pretty deep, right? Actually, it’s as deep as you want it to be. Most guides can and will go into greater detail depending on the area of life they focus on, but I’m going to keep mine simple so you can adapt them to work for you:

What do I not regret doing in 2016?

For me, the big ones are starting this blog, and going on vacations. I love traveling and I adore lettering and writing about it. I also love teaching and exploring different interests.

You can specify this to your work, relationships, or even your faith. All these things are things you should keep doing, which brings us to question 2:

How can I do more of that in 2017? What do I need to do to achieve that?

Of course, I’m going to keep lettering and blogging! I’ve discovered that I really love teaching, so I want to combine that with lettering. I also have plans to do art markets in 2017 and just to generally keep nurturing my love for lettering.

I also want to explore new interests — a la Jessica’s Heart List — so I’m looking into courses at the community centres and SkillShare. Travel requires a whole lot of advance planning to fit it around my teaching schedule and careful budgeting, but I plan to hit Melbourne and Japan in 2017.

What did I mess up in 2016? What could I have done better?

Believe it or not, the answer is very similar to question 1. I messed up starting Lyssy Creates and running it. Don’t get me wrong, I do not regret starting this blog. But it doesn’t mean that I didn’t mess up colossally.

The #1 Thing I’d Have Done Differently

If I could rewind back to January 2016, I’d have been more intentional about starting a blog. I’d have made a plan.

You may not know this, but I actually started blogging on back in January. By the end of February, I realised what a hot mess I was in — my site design was rubbish, my photos were subpar, and I had no direction whatsoever.

So I shut it down. I did the math and invested — in hosting, a theme, and various other little things, but most importantly, time. I read too many blog posts on branding and blogging until I found my branding holy grail. Then I finally launched this site on April 18, 2016.

You’d think that was the end of the it, but no.

There is no perfect recipe for “how to start and maintain a lettering blog.” No cut-and-dried plan I could have followed like a math formula. I wish!

A plan makes all the difference. Sure, it may not survive ‘first contact’, but it does give a starting point from which to modify from. It also helps you work ahead — if I had an editorial plan, I could write ahead and have posts scheduled to go even if I was on holiday or in the case of sudden emergencies.

Confession: I was leery of a proper plan for Lyssy Creates.

It felt too business-like. Too commercial. I shied away from it. All I wanted to do was to share my love for lettering and maybe, if it took of, cover the costs of hosting and whatnot, and pay for my lettering supplies.

Looking back at 2016, if I had a plan in place for covering costs, I may have actually been able to reach that goal. I may not be trying to turn my blog into a full-fledged business, but the simple concepts of cash flow, income streams, and product launches and sales would have helped with goal setting — I work best with a goal.

Starting 2017 right

That is where Your Best Year 2017 comes in!

One of the most important things I picked up from it was the emphasis to live YOUR best life. Not your business’ but yours. So yes, I did plan for those trips to Melbourne and Japan… But to be honest, lettering is part of my best life. Lyssy Creates is my passion project.

So once I plugged in the (personal) big plans and my teaching schedule, I started planning for this blog, and here’s what’s coming your way in 2017:

  • A lot more teaching on the blog! And possibly online and in-person classes 😉
  • Art markets for physical prints and workbooks
  • More prints, lettering worksheets and cards in store
  • More YouTube and video tutorials

Planning out 2017 is a messy, messy task but having done a 2016 review, it’s much easier to set my intentions for the coming year.

Have you done a 2016 review?

What would you like to tackle in the coming year? Let me know in the comments below!