How to Review Your Year + FREE Toolkit eBook!
Read: 9 min | Listen: 24 min | Watch: 15 min
Imagine if there were clues hiding in the past 12-months hinting at what you could achieve in the future. Discover them by doing a review, then go for goals.
Goal setting is a task we associate with the beginning of the year, on the first page of a 12-chapter book. But where do we find the information we need in order to set meaningful goals? Enter self-evaluation. When you review your past year, it unlocks all sorts of insights that might otherwise go unnoticed.
Order of importance
For me, the process of setting goals for the coming year is almost impossible to do without reviewing and reflecting on the year that has been. It provides me with the wisdom to make well-informed choices going forward.
Don’t get sucked into setting goals straight away. Do your review, and then set goals using the valuable insights that get unearthed during your evaluation - these give you the baseline for your new goals.
"Insights unearthed during a review, provide us with a baseline for new goals."
Look back, to look forward
If I had to hazard a guess, I’d say that perhaps 70% of people don’t take the time, or at very least don’t have a clear system to review the year once it comes to a close.
If you genuinely desire to live and perform better in the coming year, then I encourage you to pause, contemplate and be part of the thinking 30%; the 30% who analyse the year that’s passed.
First time for everything
Never done a self-evaluation? You’ve got nothing to lose, and everything to gain! Not sure what questions to ask yourself? Easy. I’ve created a FREE toolkit that contains a suite of questions that will get you started, and get you thinking.
If you’re not sure if you can tackle a review on your own, why not enlist the help of a close friend or family member who understands you; someone who wants the best for you and asks great questions.
The 3 Canvases
Rather than being overwhelmed with a complex self-evaluation system, and finding excuses to avoid doing a year in review, I decided to develop a simple system that’s very approachable. Excuses eliminated!
There’s a multitude of ways to approach a review, and finding the right one can be tricky. My 3-Canvas system, is a streamlined way of encouraging you to sort your ideas into 3 major categories of thinking.
CANVAS 1: Moments - Celebrate Accomplishments
If you’re anything like me, you may have a tendency to overlook accomplishments. Reminding ourselves to acknowledge achievements is a healthy way to boost our confidence to keep going.
You may not realise how significant some of your accomplishments really were, until you blow the dust off them.
Often I neglect to give myself space to celebrate achievements - whether they be partial or complete wins. There’s a range of reasons why we don’t celebrate.
Here’s 2 common ones:
- Being focused on the ‘new and next’. The pursuit of the future is a great thing, it keeps us fresh and excited. But sometimes it can overshadow, and even discount, the things you’ve accomplished in the recent past. Being future-focused shouldn’t come at the expense of not acknowledging previous wins.
- Falling into the guilt trap. Some of us see celebrating as self-indulgence, or even self-adulation. Our response should be the opposite. It’s a very natural desire to want to relish the rewards that come from the effort we invested during the year. If we’re balanced in how we celebrate, then it’s 100% healthy.
"Being future-focused shouldn’t come at the expense of not acknowledging previous wins."
CANVAS 2: Methods - Discover what Worked
Philosopher and novelist George Santayana (1863-1952) said it best when he said “Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it”. Yet some of us seem determined to do exactly that; aiming to forget a bad year.
Not everything in life works, and that’s ok (read that again if you need to). In my eyes, the process of planning is more important that the plan itself.
The methodology of planning forces us to do 3 things:
- Identify goals
- Acknowledge abilities (and skill-gaps)
- Craft a strategy that fuses them together
The next step is to then craft a plan to achieve those goals by leveraging our current abilities or by cultivating new skills.
Did something work really well? Congratulations! Analyse how you did it, then plan to do more of it (and aim a little higher next time). Consider how you could transfer the winning conditions/methods across to the plans that didn’t work.
CANVAS 3: Mindset - Balance Perspectives
Toward the end of the year, my mind has a habit of rehearsing the negative and difficult things that occurred during the year. No doubt there are others who do the same.
Left unchecked, distorted perspectives can allow negativity to gain a stronghold on how you felt about the entire year. Mass generalisations are not helpful.
"Clarify how the year ‘felt’, by articulating how it actually ‘went’"
How do I check that my overall attitude perspective is balanced? I attempt to cognitively separate how the year ‘felt’, by articulating how it actually ‘went’. Writing out real, tangible examples on paper, does wonders.
But how do we do it? Here’s my approach:
- Physical - Is your end of year exhaustion affecting your perspective?
- Feelings - Freely write out feelings, without self judgement
- Evidence - Search for evidence to backup or disprove your feelings
Together, let’s not short-change ourselves by righting-off an entire year as ‘bad’, because we didn’t check our thoughts.
6 steps to get started
- Download your FREE Toolkit (free until 28 Feb 2017)
- Change the scenery, find a different environment
- Use the questions to prompt thinking (focused on last 12 months only)
- Handwrite (better for your brain!) initial and extended responses
- Find common themes throughout your responses
- Decide how these responses will influence your new goals!
Share your experiences on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using #LivetoAccomplish.
I know you’ll uncover valuable insights, all the best, N.
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