2016 is coming to a close. Was it a good year for you? Let us break down an easy method for you to create your own evaluation and plan to make 2017 your best year ever.
Today I was lamenting to one of my coworkers that I can no longer be the night owl that I used to be when I was younger. Now, I get teased by my friends for being the first person to start dozing off at get-togethers. Yes, it's a Friday night. Tease me all you like, but now writing has become more fun and relaxing to me than going to the bar.
It's these kinds of honest reflections that I tend to see when I do my yearly review. I've started this back in 2010 and it has been a staple in my journal every year since. It's an honest performance review that sketches out "the big picture" of life.
This December, if you'd like to try it out, take about a few days to gather your thoughts and write about the following. This could be done in list form or long-form journaling as well.
1. What went well this year? Did you get pay raise? Is Junior out of diapers? Did Aunt Bessie leave you a large inheritance? Make sure to mention anything and everything of significance that was a positive. Look back through your journal entries, social media posts, calendar notes and anywhere else that may have a record of all the good stuff. It doesn't hurt to ask the significant other, either.
2. What did not go so well this year? Did your boss offset the raise with an increase in health insurance premiums? Is Junior now wetting the bed every night? Did Aunt Bessie meet an unfortunate end? Yes, it sucks to have to play the greatest hits of the worst things in 2016, but we need to be honest about this in order to prepare for what's to come.
Since our lives are multi-faceted, you may want to split up the positives (+) and negatives (-) into separate categories. My role as a Father and primary breadwinner has me focused more on the business & financial side of the family, so many of my goals, objectives and priorities exist in that category. So, I will have a separate list of events that occurred in that regard. Another is personal wellness, another is family, so on and so forth.
3. Looking forward to next year. List out your objectives for 2017. It may help to split them into the same categories that you have for the last year's review items. For example, under "Health / Wellness" I would list goals like losing 10 lbs or cooking a healthy dinner 5 days a week. The idea is to make it specific, measurable, attainable and time-based (SMART). Every productivity guru essentially tells you to do the same thing with different wording. Don't just put, "In 2017, I want to be financially stable." Instead, write, "In 2017, I'm going to make an extra $500 a month driving for Uber."
During the year, you may want to refer back to these objectives on a quarterly basis, just to make sure you are keeping your bearings on achieving your goals.
My goals? Of course, not all of them are achieved. Sometimes, life runs roughshod over my best intentions. Some years are more productive, more eventful than others. Over the span of 6 years that I've been doing the review, I can honestly say it's helped me accomplish some of the most important things that I've done with my life. The review keeps the goals in focus and priorities in check.
If you have a different yearly review, I'd love to hear about what you do and how it helps you plan for the future. Next week, we'll be talking about 2016 : a review of pens and ink!