Mark Slomka was my pastor for thirty years. He grew up as a Jew, became a Christian, and then a pastor. Like most fine preachers, his themes and insights grew out of his life. A recurring them was “remember and forget.”

Mark challenged us to remember our most important truths. He encouraged us to forget past errors that could not be corrected or repaired. The New Year and other temporal landmarks are good times to think about what to remember and what to forget, because they seem to nudge us toward reflection.

Warren Bennis, for decades the world’s expert on leadership, said reflection was a key distinguisher between the best leaders and the rest. Throughout history many of the most impactful people kept journals. Several deeply wise people review and reflect periodically on their journals. That’s one way to improve your performance and how you live.

Many organizations have adopted the military practice of “After Action Review.” The review uses honest feedback to learn to do things better. You can review your year the same way.

What did I do well?
What surprised me?
What will I do differently next time?

I have my own set of questions to review the past year. It’s my way to decide what to remember and what to forget. I reflect on my own year, and on the celebrations and memorials of people who matter to me.

What can we learn from successes and failures?
How was love expressed?
How was honor given?
How was nobility or courage lived out?
What is worth imitating?

The end of the year is an ideal time to reflect on the last twelve months. I hope you will do that and draw wisdom from your life. I hope you will find things to remember and things to forget.


Terry Moore, CCIM, is the author of Building Legacy Wealth: How to Build Wealth and Live a Life Worth Imitating. Read his “Welcome to My Blog.