This is the perfect time of year to sit down and look back over the previous 12 months and do an end of year review.
It is so important to regularly review your progress towards your goals, and your life and experience more broadly. A retrospective analysis in this way gives you valuable perspective and insights, and can help reframe the way you view success. It helps you develop greater awareness, and this in turn helps you become more self-directed.
Regular reviews should therefore be a necessary part of any personal or business development strategy. Even if you only spend a few minutes answering the question ‘what have I learned?’ you’ll be in a stronger position than if you don’t.
So create a quiet space where you will be uninterrupted for at least half an hour (half a day would be better), and have a think about the following. You don’t have to do all of it – spend time on the things you think will be most useful for you at the moment.
THE FIVE MOST USEFUL QUESTIONS
Ideally every 3 months, and definitely every 12:
- What has gone well? (the good stuff, progress, highlights)
- What has not gone that well? (difficulties, challenges, setbacks)
- What have you learned? (self, skills, other observations)
- What’s been missing? (more open reflection)
- What do you want to change? (going forward, what do you want to start / more / stop / less)
Every 12 months you might find it helpful to also consider the following:
- Are you still heading in the direction you want? (if not, what changes do you need to make?)
- What 20% of your activities generated 80% of your results? (applicable in any domain you wish to examine)
- What have you been grateful for?
- Which people have been most important, and why?
- What systems or processes need to be developed / improved / changed?
- What skills do you want to learn or develop?
- Who do you want to offer more help or support?
- How can you become a better person?
WHEEL OF LIFE
You may be familair with the wheel of life exercise? Another reflective tool:
- List the 10 most important aspects in your life. You may want to include your relationships, partner, family, social life, your career, learning, creativity, adventure, enjoyment, physical health, exercise, mental health, helping others, purpose, travel, home, your free time, financial security…
- For each of your 10 elements, write down what the ideal situation would be. What would need to be happening for you to score yourself 10/10?
- Then, give yourself a score out of 10 for each, based on your current or recent experience.
- Reflect on the scores you’ve given yourself.
- Make a plan to improve your most important score(s). Only choose one or two at first. Be specific – what will you now change or do differently to improve your experience?
REVIEWS VS GOALS
The questions above should help point you towards some priorities and some things you wish to change. This is if course a valuable exercise, but this is not the same as a goal setting. To explore your goals, it’s better to look forward, to think big and long-term, and then work backwards.
We’ll explore the best ways to do this in January, after a bit of perspective and a well earned break!