Do you annually review?

Can I tell you a secret? For many, many years I felt that I should be doing some kind of review of the year. I found journals and templates that would guide me through the process. I identified the week between Christmas and New Year, when there wasn’t much else happening, as the perfect time to do it… and it never happened.

Why? Well that’s the question, isn’t it. One reason it never happened is because I didn’t really know why I was doing it or how it could benefit me. Another is because when I sat down to look back on the year with no source material to help, other than a pretty sketchy memory and a partially filled out calendar, I found it a pretty daunting and slightly overwhelming task.

This past year my perspective and thinking on it all has shifted and what I want to do with this final piece of fresh thinking for 2021 is to update you on that.

There are two reasons why I think the shift has happened.

  1. As I’ve developed and become more consistent in my daily and weekly reflective routines, I have a greater understanding of how this practice helps me (both for my business and for my general wellbeing). I’ve also got a lot more written down that I can refer back to.
  2. For the first time since I was working towards leaving my job, I’ve got a mid-term (2-3 year) goal that I’m working towards. It acts like a beacon on the horizon. Something that I can use to evaluate my plans against to check they’re helping me make progress.

Now, don’t get excited, I’m still not sitting down to do an end of year review. I really don’t see that ever working for me. What I’m aiming for is to develop a system for myself that builds on my existing routines but zooms out a little. Instead of working to an annual cycle, the biggest chunk of time will be a quarter, or season.

I feel that taking this seasonal approach affords more opportunities to review whether I’m still on the right course, and greater flexibility to switch things up if needed (including in the refinement of the system).

There are a few key things I’m keeping in mind as I work on this system:

  • keeping it simple, building on the handful of questions I already use to reflect
  • making sure I pay attention to, and record, both the highs/lows and the plateaus
  • ways to keep my goals visible and link them to day-to-day activities
  • building in regular reviews of whether the goals are still relevant and if not recording when and why they have changed

I’m really curious to hear how you approach this type of annual review activity, if at all. What works well for you? And what’s the biggest challenge?

Get more ideas like this

This post originally appeared in my newsletter, Gathered Thoughts.

Every week I share an original article and a handful of links on themes of personal development, productivity and living well.

You'll get the newsletter and nothing more. You can unsubscribe at any time.

about emma

I am a coach and facilitator helping people to pause, reflect and make conscious choices about what comes next. In my writing I explore themes of personal development, reflective practice and what it means to live well.