Close the year with a 20-minute annual review

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It may be mid-January already but it’s not too late to do your 20-minute annual review. A little self-reflection and celebration of your achievements is an essential part of closing the door on the last 12 months. It’s all too easy to open a new chapter without giving yourself the space to ask “how did last year really go for me?”. We rush into making new year’s resolutions and goals without a quick check in on how far we’ve come, and where we are now.

Why do a 20-minute annual review

Just because your Facebook feed tells you that 2016 was an annus horribilis, it doesn’t mean it was for you. Your 20-minute annual review is an opportunity to compare 2016 against your own values, rather than someone else’s. Charlie Brooker has had his say on 2016. Now it’s time to hear your story of the year. Write it with a generous dose of self-compassion.

It’s also chance to give yourself a pat on the back for what went well. And some honest feedback about what needs to change. I frequently meet people who feel undervalued by a lack of recognition and high quality feedback they receive from their family and colleagues. Yet they’ve never done an annual review exercise for them self.

How to do a 20-minute annual review

Start to visualise your key moments from 2016. Try to find different examples for some or all of the prompts below to help you uncover memories that have been overshadowed and forgotten about. You can pull together your story of 2016 in whatever way you prefer. For example you could:

  • scribble key words next to the prompts to build up a list
  • create a colourful mind map of your 2016 moments using words and drawings
  • drag photos of your 2016 story into a private album in your favourite app

Your annual review prompts

Annual review prompts

Use your annual review to shape 2017

Now ask yourself, “How did this moment contribute or detract from me living my values in 2016?”.

Let’s say you value your friendships and people being honest with you. In 2016 you remember how you spent a weekend supporting a friend in need, you sponsored a friend’s charity cycle ride, you organised a meal out with your old work friends, and you look back over all the calls and texts you sent (and received) to keep in touch with friends overseas. You conclude: “In these moments I was living my friendship value. I’m going to keep doing this next year because it felt good”.

You also remember feeling repeatedly let down by your friend, Anna last year. Anna regularly turned up late for coffee. And then at the end of the year, she simply didn’t turn up to your big birthday bash, despite saying she would be there. You talked to your other friends about how upset you were. However you didn’t raise it directly with Anna. You conclude: “In these moments I wasn’t living my honesty value. I need to change this next year because it doesn’t feel good”.

Use this insight to decide on a few specific things you’re going to do more of or less of, the same or differently, in 2017. Perhaps, in the example above, you commit to talk to Anna to understand her needs in the friendship and share your needs with her. It doesn’t matter that it’s not a big lofty new year’s resolution. If it’s a tweak that’ll make the next chapter smoother, then commit to it. And do it!

Considering getting a coach this year?

Book your free discovery call with me to find out more about Jailbreak Coaching.

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