As John Maxwell reflects, the end of the year is an excellent time to evaluate how well goals were accomplished during the past year. After reflecting on the good, bad, and ugly experiences of the year, leaders can apply a “lessons learned” approach to improvements for the year 2016 ahead.

Most people allow their lives to simply happen to them. They float along. They wait. They react. And by the time a large portion of their life is behind them, they realize they should have been more proactive and strategic. My yearly process is just one method that I use to be strategic and intentional.

I’ve found that this is a perfect time of year for reflecting and setting goals. And it’s not too late for you to do as I’m doing. Start by sitting down with your calendar for 2015, along with any to-do lists or journals from the past 12 months. On a legal pad (if you’re old-school like me) or your computer (if you’re like everybody else), make note of each event, appointment, and activity.

Then evaluate every item on your list. What did you enjoy? What were some of your proudest moments? What did you spend too much time on? What didn’t get enough of your time? In what areas were you especially effective? Where did you fail? What can you learn from your mistakes? The key to this exercise is to use what you discover about your past year to inform and guide you in the coming year.

This type of reflective thinking can help you discover what worked and what didn’t, and what needs to change for you to become more effective. I hope you’ll join me in this exercise – whether you do it this week or sometime soon. By spending time evaluating your 2015, you’ll be better prepared to make 2016 your best year ever.