You’ve probably done some sort of annual review as part of an appraisal, but even if you haven’t, it’s just as it says on the tin – a review of the past year.
When we are looking back on 2020, the majority of us automatically default to thinking of it as being the worse year ever, for so many reasons. Some of us may have lost jobs, relationships and loved ones and there is no getting away from the heartache of that.
The purpose of the annual review, therefore, isn’t to put a positive spin on it, but to take a look at it as a whole and learn what our experiences have taught us. We can then take that into the following year and use it to support our goal setting process.
Performing an Annual Review
Start with the good stuff first. What good things have happened in the last year?
Look for photos on your phone or on social media sites. Take a look through your messages, or events on your calendar. If you are already conducting weekly reviews, take a look at what you had as your “snakes and ladders”.
Summarise your highlights – was there are theme? What conclusions can you draw from your highlights that you can take into next year?
The down points of the year are going to be easily brought to mind and you may have picked up on others whilst searching your weekly reviews or photos.
What can you take away from these experiences? What did you learn about yourself that you can use to make next year better?
Life Categories Review
Whilst setting your goals, you will already have looked things you wanted to change so you should add a summary of how you feel about each part of your life into your annual review based on that earlier exercise.
For each area of your life, state your biggest accomplishment, be it maintaining a new habit, creating or repairing a relationship, or managing to finally get the garage tidy. Perhaps you have some strong thoughts on something that has inspired you, or that you feel grateful for, or you are pleased with a new skill you learned.
Where you had set goals in a particular category, be sure to make a note on your progress, particularly if there will be some impact on the coming year.
Summary of the Year
After completing the above exercises, summarise your year in a few short sentences or a few key words. Perhaps you have a quote that lends itself to the feeling of the year.
Finally, take a moment to think about the coming year. What are you looking forward to? Who or where will you be in twelve months time? What would you like to be able to say next year when you complete your annual review?
Making It Easier
If you have never done a weekly or annual review before, then this may take a lot of time to complete as the distractions of looking through photos and social media send you down different rabbit holes.
For next year though, you can use your weekly reviews to feed into monthly reviews that replicate the annual review process, giving you an easily referenced guide to your year. It’s so easy to forget the things that have taken place even when at the time you took pleasure in them.
What are the highlights of your annual review? What have you learned that you can share with us in the comments?
Until next time, remember, if the excess baggage is weighing you down, you can always leave it in lost luggage.