The Annual Review… in February, not January!
One of my favorite things to do around the first of the year is to do an evaluation and take a look back at last year. The first of the year was just too busy this year, so I did mine in February. It doesn’t matter when you review and plan, just do it. There are always a few things that pop up during the review that surprise me or that I have forgotten about. To prepare, I take a single sheet that has a box for all 12 months and start noting down the highlights in the corresponding box. Here’s my process:
1. Review my calendar & note special events:
My first step is to look through my calendar and make note of any trips that I have taken and other events. I reflect back on all the special things that may have happened during the year and make note of them. I put them down under the month in which they occurred on my worksheet. This gives me a feel for the year and helps me focus on the positive as well as reflect on things I want to do again or differently.
2. Review last year’s goals:
Then I go over my goals to see what I’ve accomplished and see if what I’m doing is in alignment with my vision for my life and my why. I’ll check to make sure my actions are moving me forward or if I want to pivot. My biggest question is does it make me feel like I want to feel? Also, are the results I’m getting worth the effort that I’m taking? Where can I tweak things to make them more effective and efficient? What can I let go of that no longer serves me? Of course, I always really focus on all progress that I have made throughout the year, rather than what I haven’t finished. Many times I am surprised by some of the numbers that’ll come up and some of the things that I’ve accomplished. When I see them all together on the page and I can’t help but do a little internal celebration dance!
3. Decide on this year’s goals:
What surprised me this year is I actually completed one of the goals that I’ve been working towards for years & years. It felt awesome but also strange. My mind was at a loss. What do I do now? I thought staring at the blank spot on my new goal sheet. I took some time to think about this and decide what was the natural next step. I reviewed things I had parked until later and also noted things that had been on there a long time. One good litmus test when reviewing your goals, or even your daily task list for that matter, is how long these things have been on your list. A week, a month, three months, or even years? Are you really going to do them and are they still important to you? In a year or two years or 5 years is it really going to matter if you complete it or not?
4. Delete, delegate, and simplify:
This is a good time to delete, delegate and simplify your goal and task list. We think we need to do all the things, but it feels so good to slow down and simplify. The stress we put on ourselves is unnecessary. Let some things go and you will make your life so much more fulfilling while making big progress on a few things instead of tiny progress on a lot of things.
5. Plan quarterly:
Planning one quarter at a time has proven effective for me. Especially because as I gain experience and learn, my direction can change. With regular quarterly planning, it’s easy to stop, review and pivot. This is great when things don’t go as expected (do they ever??).
6. Relax and enjoy the journey:
The expectations we have for ourselves and each other are the root of a lot of our self-induced suffering. Letting go of this and enjoying the journey can change your whole life. Rather than having such a high bar we’re always striving for, enjoy the journey. Not roaming around and skating through our lives, but rolling with the bumps in the road and keeping our balance.