Running Your Own Annual Review - 2 Lessons
Yesterday I ran a life audit for the past year. With it being January, I knew I wanted to set goals for the New Year, but didn’t just want to make a big Resolution. I read this article by Jason Shen, which guided me through the entire process of running my own annual review.
After about an hour, I had three pages of notes that summed up 2018 and how I would like 2019 to pan out. Here are two lessons I learned that may help you run yours (if you’re behind like me and haven't done it yet).
Lesson One - Your first thought is probably right.
As I was going through the exercises, I would usually have a first thought, followed by an array of second thoughts. I found myself trying to make my first answer perfect in my mind before writing it down. Of course, as I quickly realized, that’s not the point. The point is, to be honest with yourself. How can growth happen if you’re not honest about the lows of the past year? How can you accurately make a new goal if you’re not willing to write down the work needed to get there?
As hard as it was, I forced myself to write down my first thought for every exercise. It left me feeling challenged, but I had written out (with honesty) the steps to meet the challenges. After reading through everything, I sure was happy I stuck with my first thoughts.
Lesson Two - Don’t skip a step.
In this article, Shen leads us through four phases, each with multiple steps. It is important to actually do each step, otherwise, you’re letting yourself off the hook. What’s the point of an annual review if all you give yourself is a “job well done” or “could’ve done better”? Even if this has been the worst year in the history of your life, don’t try to avoid writing down every single low you can think of. Sure, that list may outnumber your ‘highs’ by twenty items. So what? This ties back to the first lesson - be honest with yourself. Nobody is watching; just you.
In a time crunch? Plan this for another day. Although I finished my review in an hour, I can see how this could easily take up to three. Give yourself permission to take the necessary time to accurately review yourself, and don’t sidestep the hard parts.
If you haven’t made your list of resolutions, or even if you have, I challenge you to read Shen’s article. It is sure to inspire and challenge, and best of all, lead to growth.