The New Year Evaluation

January 5, 2019

Categories: Self-Help

Happy New Year! One of the things I love about the New Year is that it is a natural time to press pause and check in with how my life is going. In this post, I’m going to teach an exercise that you can use to “check in” with yourself. I try to do this exercise at least once per year. The exercise is to think and journal for a few minutes about each area of your life. For each area, what things are going well? What things are not going so well? What is one thing you would like to improve on in each area next year?


To help you remember the various parts of the New Year Evaluation, use the acronym “SPIES“:

  1. Social: This area of your life is about your relationships. How are they going? How is your relationship with your spouse or partner? What about your relationships with your kids? How are the relationships with your friends and work colleagues going? Is there anyone you are holding a grudge toward that you might want to forgive?
  2. Physical: This area of your life is about your body. How is your health? Are there any major health problems you need to address this year? How are your exercise habits? What about your eating? Are you getting enough sleep? Are you drinking too much alcohol or using drugs? Have you had a checkup recently with your primary care physician? How long has it been since you saw the dentist?
  3. Intellectual: This area of your life is about your mind. For many people, this involves evaluating their career. How is your work life going? Are you feeling challenged intellectually? Are you learning anything new? Maybe there is something you would like to learn in the coming year. Are you reading any good books?
  4. Emotional: This area of your life is about your emotional health. How have you been feeling lately? Are you in touch with your emotions? Do you have people in your life with whom you can share how you are doing on a deep level? Do you have people who support you when you are struggling? Have you been feeling depressed or anxious? Maybe this year would be a good time to see a counselor.
  5. Spiritual: This area of your life is about your relationship with God. If you consider yourself a religious or spiritual person, how is your spiritual life going? Are you spending time in reading, meditation, or prayer? Are you involved in a church or other type of religious/spiritual community? Are you serving in a church with your gifts and talents?

Sharpen the Saw

Evaluating how you are doing is a chance to check in with yourself. Sometimes we rush through life so quickly, we don’t take the opportunity to stop, take a breath, and make sure we are going in the direction we want. One author put it this way: Our life is like cutting down a tree. Sometimes we need to stop what we are doing and sharpen our saw. “SPIES” is a way to make sure our saw is sharp.

Action Step

Set aside 30 minutes this week and check in with yourself. Use “SPIES” to take stock of each area of your life. What things are going well? What things aren’t going so well? What are some areas you would like to improve upon this year?


Related Thoughts

No Comments

  1. […] is to evaluate how you are doing on a regular basis. One exercise I love to do is to do a quick self-evaluation using the acronym SPIES. I try to identify one thing to work on in each area of my life, and put together a plan for […]

  2. […] Meet regularly. I meet with each of my graduate students each week for one hour. This keeps them going and on track. In the same way, meet with the people you are working with regularly. Spend quality time with the people you care about (e.g., family and friends) on a regular basis. Check in with yourself regularly. […]

  3. […] similar thing happens with New Year’s Resolutions. People often do a lot of thinking and reflection about what they want to change—this is the inside work. But this reflection doesn’t always transfer into one’s behaviors and […]

  4. Franty Ozora January 2, 2018 at 11:31 pm - Reply

    THank you so much. Specially for the “SPIES” thingy.. Happy new year! Cheers from Jakarta, Indonesia.

  5. Joshua Hook January 3, 2018 at 9:22 am - Reply

    You’re welcome! Happy new year to you as well!

  6. […] New Year is a great time for making new goals that you want to focus on in 2018. But change is difficult. […]

  7. […] normal schedule around Christmas. When I have unstructured time like this, my mind often wanders. I start to think about how I’m doing. I come up with several goals for each area of my life. How do I want to improve at my job in 2019? […]

  8. Vanessa Malinowski January 6, 2019 at 11:16 am - Reply

    Thanks! What a great way to start off the New Year!

Leave A Comment

Subscribe To My Newsletter

Join my mailing list to receive the latest blog posts.

Receive my e-book “The Mental Health Toolkit” for free when you subscribe.