Jim Rohn, is to reflect at the end of a period of time and think about:
What went well?
What could have been better?
What can we build on?
What can we be thankful for?
What have we learned?
Mr. Rohn talked about the impact this would have over years and even a lifetime. I am convinced this is a big part of gaining true wisdom.
Prolific leadership author and coach, John Maxwell, says he does this on a weekly basis sitting in his hot tub. For me, I tend to reflect more on an annual basis (not in a hot tub).
In my "Becoming an Influential Test Team Leader" tutorial, we discuss this as one of the 15 ways you can add value to your team without spending a lot of money. This really is "low hanging fruit," but we tend to miss it. Even individually, as a leader, this is a good time to think back over the year and roll the lessons into major themes to remember and value.
I would caution you about being too hard on yourself. Sometimes, hard introspection is needed, but we have enough negativity coming our way from the external. Imagine what a coach might be telling you. Not the coach that was always berating you, but the one that you may have found encouraging, yet holding a hard line of accountability.
I don't know how many things you will have on your list. By the way, this is a good time to journal them. (You don't keep a journal? Fix that in 2013!) I typically have about ten to twelve things that stick out over the year. It is interesting to go back several years to see if I really am learning from my personal retrospectives.
In many ways, life and work is a test. So think of this as your annual "test summary report." I hope things went well for you this year. I hope in the areas they didn't go so well, that you find 2013 to be a better year. Inasmuch as things depend on you, I hope you gain the skills and knowledge to excel. In the areas that are circumstance-driven, I hope you will find peace and endurance. I'm pulling for you!