It was Socrates that said “the unexamined life is not worth living“. Whilst that may be a little dramatic, there is truth in the statement. Taking the time to review and evaluate the past 12 months offers us the freedom to cry out the pain and leap for joy at the success. It also provides a launching pad into the following year.
Of course, you can check-point your life at any time, but the end of the year seems logical. With our crazy-busy schedules we often just move on without giving our year the focus it deserves. And if we just move on, we miss the lessons that hindsight provides.
I like to give myself space to think about the year in a way that brings closure. This reflection helps to shed light on the events of the year so I can celebrate the success and also ensure any mistakes aren’t repeated.
I’ve crafted for myself an annual review process that works. It’s simple, yet beneficial. The approach I’ve designed allows for the process to be a little more fun and engaging.
I’ve learnt over the years, that for a review to be of any value, there need to be some ground rules. For me they include:
- Be completely honest. Kind of goes without saying, but I feel better after saying it.
- Use only the facts. Don’t make up, exaggerate or misrepresent the reality of your year. If you do, you’re only cheating yourself. It’s better to own up to the year now and not carry the baggage into the future.
- Give yourself a time frame. Minimum of 1 hour, but generally 1.5-2hrs to do it thoroughly.
Also, keep in mind that this review is for ALL of your life. It is not just business or personal, but business AND personal. We are whole beings and separating the two is pointless. Our personal and work-life cross over, so our review should also.
Before I show you how I do it, I want to reiterate that my review process isn’t complicated or taxing. It’s simple, easy to use and short.
So if you’re an annual review pro or complete novice, welcome. You’re in great company and I know this process will be enlightening and informative. Furthermore, it’ll be a little fun.
Without further ado, let’s jump in!
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How to conduct an annual review like a pro!
Download the workbook I use which has everything in it you’ll need for this to be a success. Alternatively, you can just print this out so you have the questions handy and answer them as you go. Grab a pen, some textas, journal, butcher’s paper whatever and you’re on your way.
Now that you’ve got your gear, grab a drink, and find a comfy space. It might be your home office, the local cafe, your bean bag. Whatever you choose, make sure you’re comfortable and distraction free. Oh, and ensure your beverage makes you smile.
Answer the following questions with words, pictures, phrases, colours, however you best express yourself:
What happened this year that you can be thankful for? Showing gratitude creates the foundation for everything that follows. See if you can come up with at least 20 things. Go!
Write down all the things from 2016 that annoyed you, frustrated you, peed you off and slowed your success. List all those barriers that if they weren’t there, things may have turned out a little different.
What were your top 5 moments of the year? The moments that were complete bliss and left a deep impression on you. These will most likely be moments that you’ll be able to remember and retell for many years to come.
What were your most valued achievements? Consider those achievements that you will value for years to come. They may not be valued by others, but you hold them in high esteem.
How did you grow, develop, become a better person this year? Think of the personal growth you had and the characteristics of that growth. These are the inward characteristics that you will feel, more than you can see. They may be quite personal.
Here’s your chance to get it all out your system. Have a whinge, get the crap out and write down the stuff that happened that really gave you the heebie jeebies. Have fun.
The LET IT GO
What happened in 2016 that you need to let go off? This can be in any area of your life, and includes those things that did (or didn’t) happen how you’d have hoped or expected. Things like: missed goals, failed attempts at new endeavours, mistakes you made, ruined relationships etc.
What new connections/friends/colleagues did you make? And how are they significant to you? It could be new friends, business colleagues, or maybe being reacquainted with an old friend.
What were your aha moments that made things click for you and helped to connect the dots. You probably only had a few of these. Let’s shoot for 4 epiphany moments.
What surprised you this year that you didn’t expect? What came out of the blue and challenged or redirected the course of your year?
What did you learn in 2016 that can propel you into 2017? As you look back, which key moments moved your life into new spaces, both positive and negative. What can you learn from this?
How will you remember 2016? What’s the one word, phrase or image that comes to mind and would be a nice way to remember the year?
Share your annual review and what you’ve written with your spouse, friend, colleague etc. As you share you’ll also learn and understand more about your year.
Don’t forget to grab your very own annual review workbook. Enter your email address and it’s all yours.
There you have it, a simple yet comprehensive review of your year.
As I mentioned earlier, conducting an annual review won’t answer all your questions. But it will have given you the space to reflect and understand the year that was.
Now that your review is complete, you are set to launch into 2017 and take it with both hands!
Go forth explorer and make 2017 your best year yet!